Low Carbon Fund

The Trust recognises the importance of bringing about significant action on climate change, within the next five years, to prevent a rise in global temperatures above two degrees Celsius. Given this sense of urgency, we have made additional funding available from capital for projects and social business activities in the following areas:

Energy Efficiency

Investment in energy efficiency is one of the most effective and lowest cost ways to reduce carbon emissions in the UK. The technologies have been proven and are easy to install but there are still barriers which stop them from being taken up.

Green Finance

Our current financial system encourages short-term thinking and does not take account of the risks of environmental over-exploitation, including climate change. We recognise that it is critically important that we transition to a low-carbon economy in the forthcoming decades.

Cultural Shift

Work in this funding stream recognises the need for low carbon lifestyles to become the normal way of living and to catalyse this shift in behaviour using the media and arts.

The Ashden Trust works with three other Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts in the Climate Change Collaboration. The Trusts are the JJ Charitable Trust, Mark Leonard Trust and Tedworth Trust. This group came together in 2011 to support pilot and research projects to find ways of reducing CO2 emissions quickly. Most of the projects so far have examined how to deliver domestic energy efficiency programmes at scale, including how to encourage behaviour change to install and use energy efficiency measures.

What kind of projects have we funded?

University of Leeds

Research project to evaluate the social, economic and environmental benefits of the Kirklees Warm Zone project - a house-by-house/street-by-street programme providing free energy efficiency measures to all households. The research found the impacts on energy efficiency to be greater than predicted but even with free measures overall take-up of the offer was low.


This project evaluated the most cost-effective options for reducing the carbon-footprint of homes in the London Borough of Sutton taking account of the types of housing and real opportunities to introduce lower-carbon forms of energy supply such as district heating schemes. It produced a model that can be used by other local areas.

Local Energy Efficiency Partnership

A consortium of Climate Bonds Initiative, Ecofin Research Foundation, Marksman Consulting and Energy Savings Trust develop a model and financing mechanism to enable local authorities to offer large-scale domestic energy efficiency schemes to their communities.


Pilot project to set up local supply chains with local businesses to provide home energy efficiency services in Argyll and Lomond that will help people insulate ‘hard to treat’ homes and support local enterprise.

Severn Wye Energy Agency

An initiative to establish a Revolving Retrofit Guarantee Fund to enable local authorities to offer low cost loans to homeowners to pay for energy efficiency upgrades in their homes.

National Trust – Fit for the Future

Funding to support the National Trust disseminate its experience improving the energy efficiency of its historic estate in Wales to other managers of historic estates and buildings in the UK.

Client Earth

ClientEarth employs a lawyer to defend the UK Climate Change Act both preventing unlawful deviation from the Act and presenting a positive narrative about the beneficial environmental and economic impacts of compliance.

Green Alliance

The Green Roots programme works with Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parliamentarians to support them to develop environmental policies in accordance with their political ideologies.

Oxford University Smith School

Seed-funding for the Smith School’s new programme to explore the potential risks of financial assets in unsustainable sectors, such as fossil fuels, becoming stranded with a view to informing the risk management of the financial sector.


ShareAction’s Green Light project supports pension holders to engage with their pension funds to ensure that their investments take account of climate change risks.