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Olin gGmbH is a funding organisation for environmental protection and conservation. It supports environmental and sociopolitical organisations.

Our Earth is in a fragile state. It is no longer possible to ignore the signs of an approaching climate catastrophe. The impact of extreme climate events, such as severe storms, melting glaciers and ice caps, sea level rise and prolonged droughts, is escalating around the world. Some of the effects of climate change are already irreversible, and we are locked into even worse impacts in the near term.

All of these developments are easily observable, universally acknowledged and supported by scientific evidence. Nevertheless, our political and business leaders are still shying away from the radical measures that are urgently needed to tackle climate change.

This is why civil society is playing an increasingly important role: it is largely thanks to the efforts and demands of active citizens that positive changes can be seen in at least a few areas. And it is this civil society and its organisations that Olin gGmbH strives to support.

The non-profit company Olin gemeinnützige GmbH is working to ensure that the corporations whose business models are responsible for climate change and environmental destruction pay for the damage.

This is why we support:

  • nature conservation organisations that protect, preserve and develop valuable habitats for humans and animals, and raise awareness of their importance.
  • environmental organisations that take political action against the causes of environmental destruction and climate change.
  • organisations that fight for sociopolitical change, advancing the causes of environmental and climate protection.

We also support the funded organisations in the planning and development of their activities.

Olin gGmbH was founded in 2012 by Alexander Szlovák. Its funds come from a foundation that he established specifically for this purpose.

These issues are important to us

The urgency of the climate change crisis has led Olin to focus on a narrow set of issues in its selection of funding partners: We concentrate on not only projects that combat the causes of climate change, but also measures aimed at preserving the natural environment and protecting it from further destruction. Accordingly, the priority areas of our funding programme are as follows:

The Paris climate targets can only be achieved through the rapid and drastic reduction of carbon emissions. Therefore, a complete phase out of the planet-warming fossil fuels coal, oil and gas is unavoidable. In order to prevent the Earth from warming by 4°C to 6°C with immensely serious consequences, the world has to leave all fossil fuels in the ground. This is why civil-society organisations are pursuing a strategy of divestment: i.e. withdrawing investments from coal, gas and oil companies.

Although the farming industry produces huge quantities of greenhouse gases, the reduction targets for agriculture in Germany and the EU are much lower than those of other sectors. Furthermore, there is no discernible evidence that this situation is likely to change significantly through the reform of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). In the future, the agricultural sector will have to make a much greater contribution to achieving the EU’s climate targets relative to its share of harmful emissions.

Environmental and climate lawsuits
Practically none of the countries that ratified the Paris Agreement in 2015 are on a path compatible with the agreed goals. In response to this situation, citizens and civil-society organisations have begun to file climate lawsuits against the governments and companies that are refusing to take action and violating climate protection targets. Courts and legislators are being called upon to act in accordance with the commitments laid down in the Paris Agreement. The lawsuits are aimed at the introduction of legally binding measures for achieving the 1.5C target. Companies that contribute to environmental degradation should be regulated and held accountable.

In its groundbreaking ruling in April 2021, Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court described climate change as an issue of intergenerational justice: current generations should not be allowed to consume large portions of the CO2budget while bearing a relatively minor share of the reduction effort if this would involve leaving subsequent generations with a drastic reduction burden; the legislator must take steps to mitigate climate change, and its provisions should not offload major emission reduction burdens onto periods after 2030. This decision paved the way for lawsuits seeking to force companies to take concrete action towards emission reductions.

Transport policies
The climate-damaging emissions in the transport sector as a whole – including aviation – have been rising for many years. An ambitious reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in this sector is essential. However, there are still no effective national or international mechanisms in place for reducing transport-related carbon emissions.

Road transport is the only sector where greenhouse gas emissions are still increasing.
The organisation Environmental Action Germany (Deutsche Umwelthilfe e.V. – DUH) has taken a number of German cities to court for breaching air pollution limits. After the DUH exposed the widespread fraud in diesel emissions, the organisation began conducting its own emissions tests. In this process it discovered that numerous car-makers had been illegally manipulating emissions data and forced these companies to make the necessary changes to their engines.

Despite the fact that flying is the most damaging means of transport for the climate, aviation remains a quickly growing sector: Worldwide, approx. 1,200 airport infrastructure projects are planned. And although more than 80 per cent of the world’s population has never flown, these non-flyers are typically the people who suffer most from the negative consequences of the climate crisis and infrastructure projects: e.g. land grabbing, noise pollution and health risks.

Social policy
The privileged access of corporate lobbyists to political decision makers very often has negative impacts on nature and the environment. Measures must be taken to limit this access to politics and legislative processes. Civil-society organisations have exposed to what extent such one-sided influence at national and EU level exacerbates environmental degradation worldwide and are demanding transparency and rules for limiting corporate lobbying.

Funding criteria

  • It is not easy for civil society to defend its interests against the financially powerful corporate interest groups in the political and public arena. Olin’s mission is to strengthen civil-society organisations so that they are better able to initiate societal debates, scrutinise political processes and draw attention to abuses.
  • We award grants primarily to organisations that make a direct contribution to the solution of a relevant environmental problem without the involvement of an additional intermediary organisation.
  • We consider to what extent the organisation takes a strategic approach towards maximising impact in the solution of an environmental problem.
  • We are looking for organisations that operate completely independently, i.e. accept no funding from governments or companies.
  • Applicants must be able to clearly demonstrate the added value that a grant would provide to the organisation.
  • This is why Olin generally makes its funding available for structural development and not for individual campaigns or projects.
  • Olin awards long-term grants that increase planning reliability for the grant recipient and enable them to make a greater impact.
  • We work with our funding partners to set measurable targets.
  • The proportions must be appropriate: if the funded organisation is significantly larger than Olin, then a relatively small grant would not make a noticeable difference.

Grant-making practices

  • Our grant-making procedures have been developed exclusively through practical experience.
  • For the selection of grant recipients, we carry out our own research and make decisions based on a set of pre-defined criteria.
  • Our funding strategy is aimed at supporting small and medium-sized organisations that not only operate flexibly and effectively, but also achieve their aims primarily through socio-political activities and the mobilisation of public opinion.
  • Personal contact plays a decisive role in shaping the funding partnership: although written reports are important, we place an even higher value on meetings with staff members from the organisation.
  • We strive to keep the funding process (application, grant agreement, reports) streamlined and unbureaucratic.

Olin gGmbH is a member of the following networks:

Transparency information of Olin gGmbH