Food & environment strategy

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation



The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation is one of the largest independent grant-makers in the UK. In 2018, they made grants of £40.5 million towards a wide range of work within the arts, children and young people, the environment and social change. They also have a £45 million allocation to social investments for organisations with the aim of creating social impact. With their 2015-2019 Funding strategy coming to an end Esmée wanted to develop their 5 year strategy in the areas of Food and Environment. The aim was to refine the focus of their strategy and prioritise attention towards areas where they could have the greatest impact.

Our approach

Our multi-staged methodology allowed us to map out the sector-wide issues and navigate through this complex space, focusing the strategy on the areas where Esmée had the greatest opportunity for impact. The challenges facing food and environment are layered and interconnected. In order to understand how best to target intervention, we first went through a process of ‘ecosystem mapping’ with Esmée, where we were able to investigate the actors, the issues and the potential solutions within this ecosystem. Key linkages and dependencies emerged, which were overlaid with both government and NGO agenda and action. Through a series of workshops and interviews, we worked with Esmée’s senior leadership team to identify organisational interests and expertise. This enabled a prioritisation of activities, including which of Esmée’s levers for change could be the most effective in each activity – from grant-funding to networking. The results were then examined with a set of external stakeholders from civil society, government and business, to refine the strategy further.

our Impact

The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation now has a clear and prioritised set of objectives in food and environment, and the defined activities and levers to enable them. The focused strategy targets key opportunities for Esmée to maximise their impact and realise positive change, utilising the full range of tools and levers at their disposal.

Learn More

Read from our team and clients

case studies

Read more of our recent case studies across different areas of work and capabilities

News And Insights

Read more of our recent insights across different areas of work and capabilities