BOSTON, Massachusetts- In 1997, Jeremy Grantham, Chief Investment Strategist at GMO LLC and philanthropist, co-founded The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, which has invested millions of dollars in individuals and organizations seeking solutions for the major environmental issues of the day. Mr. Grantham–who is originally from Hertfordshire, England–made his name and fortune in the world of finance predicting the major stock market bubbles in the last decade. However, he has also become famous for saying, “What we are trying to do is buy time…for the world to wake up,” to describe the urgency of his Foundation’s mission.
Mr. Grantham maintains that most major natural disasters are only a couple of decades away. For this reason, he has poured much of his personal wealth into The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, located at GMO’s Boston headquarters. The mission of the Foundation has been to protect and improve the health of the global environment by raising awareness of environmental issues and investing in promising and dedicated projects that emphasize climate change.
Over the years, Mr. Grantham and the Foundation have invested in numerous environmental projects and research programs. In 2010, the Foundation gave $2.5 million in grant money to the Center for Public Integrity to spend over the next five years on hiring additional reporters to strengthen investigative environmental reporting.
In 2011, the Foundation gave $1 million to the Sierra Club and Nature Conservancy, the leading U.S. conservation charities, and $2 million to the Environmental Defense Fund.
In 2012, the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting received the Grantham Prize for Excellence in Reporting on the Environment. Afterward, the Foundation’s involvement shifted to investing in the Institute’s science training programs for reporters to achieve the ultimate goal of improving news coverage of environmental issues, specifically focusing on climate change.
The Grantham Foundation’s other investments include the London School of Economics’ Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, the Imperial College London’s Grantham Institute for Climate Change, as well as researchers in India.
That Mr. Grantham and his Foundation are so concerned with the current and looming effects of climate change is not an accident. The Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 7–Ensuring Environmental Sustainability–specifically addresses this issue. An article written for the Borgen Project’s blog, titled What are MDGs?, explains that severe changes in climate will drive policy-making in many affected areas. Another article from the Borgen Project’s blog, titled Climate Change Linked to Conflict, ties the negative consequences of climate change, like increases in temperature, to human conflict. Climate change’s effects on agriculture lead to scarcity of resources, which, in turn, lead to societal breakdowns.
Aside from his financial involvement, Mr. Grantham is an avid activist who participates in rallies in Washington, D.C. and is outspoken about new research initiatives into sustainable farming techniques and renewable energy sources. At the same time, he realizes that no one method may be effective on its own and also supports a combination of organic farming and commercial agriculture and does not rule out the utility of genetic modification.
– Yuliya Shokh
Sources: The Guardian, Philanthropy News Digest, Metcalf Institute Press Release