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Our impact

Through our grants and projects, we’ve made a real difference tackling air pollution globally. Here are some of the highlights from our work on clean air so far.

The story so far

From grassroots to governments, we support partners to accelerate action on clean air.
funds raised
more leveraged
diverse core funders

We accelerated the introduction of clean air policies in cities

In the UK, we supported partners to drive the creation or expansion of eight Clean Air Zones (CAZ) in Bath, Brighton, Portsmouth and the London Ultra Low Emission Zone – with the potential to save millions of lives. In the EU, we pushed the Polish Government to adopt legislation to enable Low Emission Zones (LEZs), with 12 mayors pledging to implement LEZs and Krakow becoming the first LEZ in central and eastern Europe. In Sofia, Bulgaria, the city announced plans to introduce a LEZ for transport and heating, following civil society’s demands for stronger clean air measures and expert modelling spearheaded by our partners. Through our partner C40, we galvanised 48 city mayors to sign the global clean air cities declaration, in which they committed to working towards the WHO air quality guidelines — a signal that city leaders are taking air pollution seriously.

new clean air zones in the UK
reduction in roadside air pollution from the London ULEZ
Polish mayors committed to low emission zones
mayors signed the Global Clean Air Cities declaration

We made the case for clean air worldwide

We supported organisations like Campaign Collective and Our Kids Climate to enable advocates to make the case for clean air at international forums such as COP27 and UN Climate week. We supported youth and parent advocates to put the health impacts of air pollution on children in the spotlight at COP27. We also backed activists in Accra, Lagos and Cape Town to map air pollution through wearable sensors, to develop campaigns and bring these to COP27. At the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, we joined Our Children’s Air to support mothers fighting for their children’s future and demanded an end to government support for fossil fuels. We worked with Michael Pinsky to support his iconic Pollution Pods installation at COP27. Over the course of COP26, we reached over 1 million people with our calls for joined-up action on air pollution and climate change.

We placed the economic argument for clean air front and centre in the post-COVID recovery. Our work with Dalberg found that dirty air costs the Indian economy $95 billion per year. It’s a similar story in the UK: our work with CBI found that the UK would benefit from $1.6 billion every single year if it achieved clean air, and that excludes the savings to the NHS and social care. In the run up to COP27, our research on Africa’s fastest growing cities revealed that clean air could unlock $20billion for Lagos, Cairo, Johannesburg and Accra.

We exposed the stark gap in financing for the air pollution crisis. Our fourth The State of Air Quality Funding report revealed that just 0.5% of international development funding and less than 0.1% of philanthropic foundation funding went to clean air initiatives between 2015 and 2020.

parent groups calling for an end to fossil fuel investment
3, 400
video views of our flagship air quality funding report
more international development funding went to fossil fuel projects than air quality projects, our research reveals

We strengthened the movement for clean air

We are the largest global philanthropic donor dedicated to tackling air pollution, having raised $59m of direct funding to our pooled fund. On top of the funding we raised ourselves, we leveraged and influenced funding with partners to scale up pilot projects. Overall we’ve catalysed over $135 million to tackle air pollution across the globe. We’ve funded 234 different projects since our inception, from community-led organisations to big strategic partners.

We drove private sector action on clean air

We rallied 17 multinational businesses to take action on air pollution through the Alliance for Clean Air. Trailblazing businesses like Google, IKEA, Mahindra and Siemens are measuring, and starting to reduce, their air pollution emissions.

The alliance launched a ground-breaking guide on how to measure air pollution across businesses’ value chains. It also produced a business case toolkit to encourage other companies to follow suit. We also supported national level activities with businesses. Through a grant to the Lewiatan business coalition in Poland, we secured commitments from over 20 companies to collaborate on reducing air pollution in their operations. In India, our work with the Confederation of Indian Industry built support among 100 CEOs and developed an interactive website with case studies showcasing best practice. 

catalysed for clean air
projects funded
multi-national companies committed to reducing their air pollution

We enabled data monitoring and targeted clean air measures

We’ve invested in air quality sensor networks to help fill data gaps and support targeted action in some of the most pollution-affected communities. With our support, the OpenAQ platform has facilitated open access to air quality data from more than 43,000 reference, research and low-cost monitors. That’s double the number of countries with air quality data available to the public than before. 

We supported action on clean air in Ghana through a new data initiative in the capital, convening the 13 municipalities and developing relationships with the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation and Ghana’s Environmental Protection Agency. The project is deploying 65 low-cost sensors and 7 reference grade monitors across the city and providing training to support municipal staff to use and interpret the data. This will significantly bolster local understanding of air quality, helping to support the implementation of effective policy. 

We supported the World Health Organization to update its air quality database for the first time since 2018. Launched on World Health Day, this provided member-state ratified annual average data for 6,000 cities in 117 countries for PM10, PM2.5 and, for the first time, NO2. 

of countries publicly share air quality data
low-cost sensors and 7 reference grade monitors delivered to Accra