Funding criteria

The Sustainable Future programme is not currently accepting applications. We are expecting to have an open grant round in Autumn 2024 but will update this information in the Summer. Please note that the Sustainable Future Programme can only accept applications in response to deadlines that are advertised.

We remain committed to supporting existing grantees, and grant staff will be in touch to discuss continuation funding.


Funding Priorities

The overall focus is on developing and promoting sustainable, low-carbon alternatives to the current consumerist and growth-based paradigm. We will support a range of actions to achieve these aims, recognising this might include defending current policies, frameworks, and regulations. 

  • 1. Better economics

    Current economic systems encourage unsustainable growth and do not adequately reflect the true costs and risks of resource depletion, climate change and other environmental problems. We will fund work that: 

    • explores and promotes ways that well-being and sustainability, rather than traditional forms of economic growth, could be placed at the heart of public policy
    • explores and promotes mechanisms that could better align business and investor behaviour with environmental sustainability and the long-term public interest
    • researches and develops innovations and new practical models of enterprise that can be embedded within community practice
    • challenges future investment in, or subsidies for, fossil fuels. 

    Recent projects funded under this strand:

    • Finance Innovation Lab work with individuals within retail and commercial banks to support new financial models and to change the world of finance so it does not contribute to climate harm.
    • Rethinking Economics work with universities to change the economics curriculum, making it more varied and fit for purpose following the financial crash of 2008. 
  • 2. Beyond consumerism

    There is evidence that the ever higher levels of consumption, once basic needs for security and comfort are met, do not result in greater happiness or well-being. At the same time, such ever-increasing consumption is not environmentally sustainable, and contributes towards social problems including overwork, anxiety and loss of community. We will fund:

    • campaigns, initiatives and mechanisms which encourage radical, large scale shifts in behaviour and culture away from consumerism towards more sustainable ways of living and using resources
    • exploration of initiatives and models which promote positive alternatives to materialism for a more fulfilled life
    • work which engages people individually and collectively in holistic and value-led approaches to transformed behaviour and lifestyle, as an alternative to consumerism. 

    Recent projects funded under this strand:

    • Upper Space CIC seeks to remove corporate outdoor advertising from public spaces and replace it with community-generated art and imagery.
    • Food Ethics Council work to change how we interact with food, shifting from consumer to citizen and recognising the agency of everyone involved in the food systems we rely on.
  • 3. New voices

    In order to create a broad-based, democratic and lasting transition to a low-carbon sustainable society, we need to involve everyone. JRCT is particularly concerned that marginalised groups and young activists have a voice in decisions which affect them.

    We will fund: 

    • campaigns and movements that give marginalised or under-represented groups a voice on issues of environmental and economic justice
    • initiatives that encourage organisations from outside the traditional environmental field to get involved in environmental justice
    • networks that link and support local environmental justice groups
    • the replication of innovative local projects to involve New Voices regionally or nationally.

    Recent projects funded under this strand:

    • Coal Action Network provide advocacy and support for campaigners living in areas of proposed or existing open-cast coal mining.
    • Interclimate Trust engages young people with the challenges of climate change and promotes their voices in imagining and developing their own sustainable future.

Additional guidance for 2023-24

We are focusing on work:

  • From groups and organisations who struggle to obtain funding elsewhere (for example, only one core funder, or no core funding)
  • From those who are actively building power amongst communities- From those with a solid understanding of the causes of the climate and/or economic crises
  • From those with a track record of community organising around climate, economics, or environment
  • From groups and organisations who effectively connect the intersecting harms of climate breakdown, racial injustice, economic inequality, and the legacies of colonialism
  • Which considers the needs and wellbeing of staff, volunteers, and other participants
  • For which there is has a demonstrable need
  • Where it is clearly explained why you are the right organisation or group to carry out this project.

Due to the limits of our available funding, we are not focusing on work:

  • Which already receives significant funding from a range of sources (for example more than one core funder, or over £1 million in annual income)
  • Which is primarily focused on convening
  • Which seeks to include the perspectives of marginalised groups without a careful understanding of power and a track record in delivering this
  • Which is about superficial changes to consumer behaviour.

Funding inclusive work

We are aware of the shift towards funding work which includes marginalised communities, or those with marginalised identities. We are also aware of the harm this can cause to those groups if it isn’t done well.

We want to support initiatives which are thoughtful about this, and which are committed to being reflexive and are about collective liberation and solidarity.

With that in mind, should your proposal include work with marginalised groups, we ask that you set out why you feel these groups are marginalised, and why you are the right organisation or collective to do this work. We are interested in how you think about this and see this as a learning opportunity for applicants and for our committee members.

Other factors

JRCT recognises that the issues are worldwide. However, this programme has a UK focus, to take advantage of the body of thought and expertise that already exists here, and in recognition of the UK’s influential global role in maintaining current financial and market systems.

Specific exclusions

Please read the Trust’s general exclusions.

In addition to the general exclusions, the following types of work will not be funded:

  • Conservation projects
  • Anti-consumerism campaigns which simply exhort people to be less consumerist, rather than encourage behaviour change resulting in sustainable living
  • Measures that are limited to adapting to the effects of climate change rather than leading to long-term change
  • Academic research and books, except as an integral part of policy, campaigning work or leading to practical change in enterprises or community action
  • Local or national work anywhere outside the UK except for the specific circumstances outlined in section three
  • Beyond Consumerism: we understand the problem of consumerism to relate to the links between extracting raw materials from the earth, producing goods using these materials and using advertising to compel or persuade people to consume these. We see the solution to this as a transformation in human behaviour and the structures which shape it. We do not believe that changing patterns of consumption or encouraging people to be ‘better’ consumers will produce the change we need
  • Local work: to ensure our grants have the greatest impact possible, we tend to avoid solely local work. By this we mean, work with a single council or in a single town. We do see merit in work which begins at a local level, covering multiple local areas, and which can produce lessons which can be applied regionally or nationally.

About the programme

“If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”
-Lilla Watson


Climate change caused by human activity is threatening the well-being of humanity. The wealthiest countries and individuals are responsible for a disproportionate share of emissions, whilst the poorest countries and sections of society are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Similarly, our use of natural resources is unsustainable and unjust. Technological change is essential but not sufficient; fundamental changes to economic models and social norms will also be required, but there is not yet sufficient public or political consensus to make these changes.

Programme updates

Our 2022 review of the Sustainable Future programme

A year-long review of our Sustainable Future programme has made a series of recommendations to ensure JRCT centres those who are most harmed by systemic injustice and who are the least likely to be involved in giving and receiving philanthropic funding.

You can read our Voices from the Ground review report and its recommendations here. 

Projects recently funded under the Sustainable Future programme

For a full list of funded projects see our database of grants awarded.