How do we operate?

We are an environmental charity with a unique approach. We use the law to bring about end-to-end systemic change: informing, implementing and enforcing the law, drafting and advising decision-makers on policy, building legal expertise, and ensuring citizens’ access to the laws that protect them. We are a not-for-profit charity, funded by donations. We have nine offices around the world, and we work with local partners in a further 60 countries, to protect people and the planet.

Conflict of Interest Policy

View our Conflict of Interest Policy

*Note* This policy is currently being updated and will be published soon

Data Protection Policy

View our Data Protection Policy

*Note* This policy is currently being updated and will be published soon

Delegated Authorities Policy

*Note* This policy is currently being updated and will be published soon

Environmental Policy

Health and Safety Policy

Partner Due Diligence Policy

Procurement Policy

Safeguarding Policy

How are we funded? How do we spend our funding?

ClientEarth is funded by large charitable foundations, government programmes and individual donors. The majority of our income is from foundations, with a growing proportion coming from individual donors. ClientEarth does not employ any third-party professional fundraisers, and has no commercial partners contributing to fundraising efforts. Most of our funders are based in the UK, Europe and the USA.

Our top funders in 2022 were as follows:

  • Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF)
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Postcode Earth Trust
  • Sequoia Climate Foundation
  • The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) - Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI)
  • AKO Foundation
  • The Tilia Fund
  • European Climate Foundation (ECF)
  • Arcadia
  • Grantham Foundation & Trust
  • UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) - Forest Governance, Markets and Climate Programme (FGMC)
How our spending is allocated
Staff costs

Attracting, retaining and motivating staff is critical to delivering on ClientEarth's mission. To do this, we benchmark our salaries against environmental charities, boutique lawfirms and government posts in the countries where we work. ClientEarth has an annual review process where performance against objectives is evaluated and staff may be awarded an increase in pay if appropriate. Annual reviews are conducted and pay increases awarded in accordance with the guidelines agreed by the Remuneration Committee and within the salary budget agreed annually by the Board. Salaries for the CEO, the Deputy CEO and the CFO are set by the Remuneration Committee, a sub-committee of our Board of Trustees, and are approved by the whole Board. The Committee includes specialists with significant organisational management expertise and knowledge, including in the charity sector.

How our staffing costs are split

Value for Money Policy

View our Value for Money Policy

*Note* This policy is currently being updated and will be published soon

How are we held accountable?

ClientEarth is committed to meeting the highest standards of transparency and integrity when delivering its mission. We are also guided by our commitment to uphold ClientEarth's values. Our Governance and Legal Services department supports ClientEarth by ensuring that we abide by our legal and regulatory obligations, and that we act in accordance with high ethical standards.

ClientEarth's policies outline our approach to compliance and our expectation of how our staff and partners should act when working at or with ClientEarth. These policies include, to name a few, safeguarding, anti-bribery and corruption, anti-fraud, anti-money laundering and counter terrorist-financing, data protection and whistleblowing. These policies and their implementation are periodically reviewed and updated to ensure that ClientEarth stays aligned with best practices.

ClientEarth has a zero tolerance policy towards non-compliance, and we ask you to notify us of any (suspected) integrity violations, breaches of the law or conduct that goes against our policies or our ethos. We encourage a culture where everyone funding, or working at or with ClientEarth should feel comfortable to speak up and raise any questions or concerns, without fear of retaliation.

You can refer to the Whistleblowing Policy for more detail on how whistleblowing complaints are addressed at ClientEarth, or Tell Us to make a report now.

Anti-Bribery, -Corruption and -Fraud Policy

View our Anti-Bribery, -Corruption and -Fraud Policy Policy

*Note* This policy is currently being updated and will be published soon

Anti-Money Laundering Policy

*Note* This policy is currently being updated and will be published soon

Counter-Terrorist Financing Policy

*Note* This policy is currently being updated and will be published soon

Whistleblowing and Reporting Policy

Tell us

At ClientEarth, we are committed to the highest standards of transparency, integrity, and accountability. We look to ensure the best value for our work and maximize impact. In the event that we fall short of these standards however, we want to hear about it. This is why we have TellUs, ClientEarth's reporting channel. Visit this link for more information, and for access to the reporting channel.


How is ClientEarth funded?

ClientEarth is funded by charitable foundations, government giving programmes and individual donors. The majority of our income (~80%) is restricted income from foundations and governments, with a growing proportion coming from individual donors.

How does ClientEarth spend its money?

This pie chart shows how we spend our money. ClientEarth is audited every year, and are overseen by national governing bodies in the countries where we work (e.g. The Charity Commission in the UK).

How do I get help on a local issue?

When people contact us about a local issue, it helps us to identify patterns of environmental risk and make sure we bring the right legal challenges.

Unfortunately, though, we cannot normally help with local issues, because ClientEarth is a charity, and our funding is earmarked for specific issues. Our finite resources, limits set by charity law, laws on access to the courts and laws on what kind of advice we are allowed to give mean it is not normally possible for us to engage on local campaigns. Where possible, we will try to refer such issues to an appropriate local NGO or environmental lawyer who may be able to assist.

How can law create change?

We believe the law is the most effective lever for change to address the climate and biodiversity crises. To deliver change at the rate needed, industries must transform and governments must be held accountable to support, enable and require that transformation. To achieve this, you need good laws. Good laws are enforceable by the people they are meant to serve. Eventually, enforced laws become common sense. ClientEarth uses the law to face humanity's greatest test, protecting people and the planet we all depend on.

How does ClientEarth use the law?

ClientEarth uses law at every stage of its life cycle. We provide evidence and expert opinion to lawmakers, to ensure new laws contain strong environmental protections. We help enforce existing laws and if laws are broken, we go to court to uphold them.

What is an environmental law charity?

We are a not-for-profit organisation, funded by grants and donations. We protect people and the planet, and we use law to do it. We make sure strong environmental laws are created, monitored and enforced.

What kind of cases do you bring?

Around 80% of our work takes place outside the courtroom. We use evidence and expert opinion to make sure strong laws are written. We provide oversight for governments and industry, to make sure they are following the law. Some of our cases include taking the UK to court for breaking air quality laws; confronting Australia for breaching the human rights of islanders whose homes are being washed away by rising seas; and suing Danone for failing to tackle plastic waste.

Does ClientEarth win cases?

We only bring cases when we strongly believe we have a reasonable chance of winning, and the outcome will have positive environmental impacts on a large scale. We have been highly successful.

What is ClientEarth's most recent win?

Please see our latest news page to find out more about the cases we've won, and those that are ongoing.

When you win a case, are you awarded money?

If we win a case, the judge will sometimes order the other side to pay our legal costs. We generally do not seek and are not awarded compensation or "damages" in the cases we bring.

Where do you get the evidence that informs your work?

We collect evidence and information from a variety of reliable sources, including government reports, university research, peer-reviewed studies, company reports and partner organisations.