"I am absolutely committed to doing all I can to ensure the unique Australian landscape and biodiversity are preserved and the climate essential to all living things is stabilised."

Our Founder

I don’t remember a time when I didn’t feel connected to the bush. From walking in Ku-ring-gai Chase with my sister as a child to helping out on the family farm near Canberra, the Australian bush has always meant so much to me - it’s part of who I am. I am absolutely committed to doing all I can to ensure the unique Australian landscape and biodiversity are preserved and the climate essential to all living things is stabilised.

My engagement with WWF Australia in the early 2000’s as a fledgling organisation (including being President), gave me insights into how a viable funding model and a focus on building capacity is critical to achieving meaningful impact. In 2004 I established the Purves Environmental Fund (PEF) to broaden my ability to achieve this with other groups also capable of significant meaningful environmental impact. I take a lot of pride in the way we have helped organisations such as WWF Australia, Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, Climate Council and Environmental Defenders Office grow and become such effective organisations.

My particular focus has been to use my business experience in public and private companies to ensure the environmental organisations we fund have a corporate discipline and viable funding model. Our funding has been accompanied by an active involvement often at a board level and more recently has included co-funding with other environmental philanthropists.

One of the strengths of the PEF is its board. Richard Gelski, Ian Pollard AM, Geoff Brunsdon AM and, more recently, Rhett Purves all bring significant business experience and judgement. We have also had very effective and capable individuals running the Fund including our current Environmental Officer, Erika Hosoyama.

The next decade is the critical decade. I believe the world will finally move to a more sustainable basis and address climate change, biodiversity loss and establish a world that lives in harmony with nature. However, standing in the way of this transformation are vested interests, weak governments and a noisy minority who struggle with change. Environmental philanthropists have a growing role in both addressing the degradation that we as humans have caused and also taking up the opportunities this transformation presents.

Robert Purves AM

June 2021

"I am absolutely committed to doing all I can to ensure the unique Australian landscape and biodiversity are preserved and the climate essential to all living things is stabilised."

Our Founder

I don’t remember a time when I didn’t feel connected to the bush. From walking in Ku-ring-gai Chase with my sister as a child to helping out on the family farm near Canberra, the Australian bush has always meant so much to me - it’s part of who I am. I am absolutely committed to doing all I can to ensure the unique Australian landscape and biodiversity are preserved and the climate essential to all living things is stabilised.

My engagement with WWF Australia in the early 2000’s as a fledgling organisation (including being President), gave me insights into how a viable funding model and a focus on building capacity is critical to achieving meaningful impact. In 2004 I established the Purves Environmental Fund (PEF) to broaden my ability to achieve this with other groups also capable of significant meaningful environmental impact. I take a lot of pride in the way we have helped organisations such as WWF Australia, Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, Climate Council and Environmental Defenders Office grow and become such effective organisations.

My particular focus has been to use my business experience in public and private companies to ensure the environmental organisations we fund have a corporate discipline and viable funding model. Our funding has been accompanied by an active involvement often at a board level and more recently has included co-funding with other environmental philanthropists.

One of the strengths of the PEF is its board. Richard Gelski, Ian Pollard AM, Geoff Brunsdon AM and, more recently, Rhett Purves all bring significant business experience and judgement. We have also had very effective and capable individuals running the Fund including our current Environmental Officer, Erika Hosoyama.

The next decade is the critical decade. I believe the world will finally move to a more sustainable basis and address climate change, biodiversity loss and establish a world that lives in harmony with nature. However, standing in the way of this transformation are vested interests, weak governments and a noisy minority who struggle with change. Environmental philanthropists have a growing role in both addressing the degradation that we as humans have caused and also taking up the opportunities this transformation presents.

Robert Purves AM

June 2021

Our People

Geoff Brunsdon AM

Board of Director

Geoff is a professional company director and is currently Chairman of Sims Limited, Metlife Insurance Ltd and APN Funds Management Limited. In 2009, he retired as Managing Director and Head of Investment Banking of Merrill Lynch International (Australia) Limited. Geoff was a Member of the Takeovers Panel between 2007 and 2016, he is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, a Fellow of FINSIA and a Fellow of the Institute of Company Directors.

Richard Gelski

Board of Director

Richard is a consultant at corporate law firm Johnson Winter Slattery. He has over 40 years’ experience as a University academic, barrister & solicitor. He sits on a number of private & public company boards as well as a number of Private Foundations. For the past twenty years Richard has provided pro bono work to charitable funds and created a variety of private charitable foundations.

Dr Ian Pollard AM

Board of Director

Ian is a company director and actuary. He is currently Chairman of RGA Australia and the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists. Ian was previously the Chaiman of Billabong International, Corporate Express Australia, and Just Group. Ian is also an executive coach with Foresight’s Global Coaching. A Rhodes Scholar, Ian has written a number of books and papers, principally in the areas of corporate finance and human development. He has also been active in a number of not-for-profit organisations, principally involved with youth and with public policy.

Robert Purves AM

Board of Director

Robert is a businessman and an environmentalist. He is a founding member of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, a Director of Climate Council of Australia, a Patron of the Lizard Island Research Station, and a Governor of Australian Youth Climate Coalition. Robert is the immediate past President of WWF-Australia and a former board member of WWF-International. In 2008 Robert was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for service to conservation and the environment. Robert was also awarded the Australian Geographic Society’s Lifetime of Conservation Award in 2015.

Rhett Purves

Board of Director

Rhett Purves joined the PEF Board in October 2015. He is an investment professional and coprorate strategist. Rhett is currently an investment manager working in funds management where he manages a multi-asset portfolio. Prior to that he led large-scale business strategies and transformations across Woolworths Group, including at Woolworths Supermarkets, Supply Chain, and BIG W.  Rhett holds a Bachelor of Business (Hons), Finance.

Our Mission & Vision

The Purves Environmental Fund's vision is an environmentally sustainable world in which biodiversity is preserved.

Our mission is to advance, primarily through education of individuals and organisations, environmental sustainability and preservation of biodiversity.

Our charitable purposes are:
a) To protect and enhance the natural environment;

b) To enhance the protection of Australia's unique biodiversity for the benefit of future generations through the protection of native species and the ecological processes that support them, particularly in the primary production landscape;

c) To provide information and education about the natural environment and to improve the Australian community's understanding of the urgent need for greater sustainability; and,

d) To support scientific research and field projects that are aimed at supporting catalytic work to find solutions for important environmental issues not currently supported by environmental groups or government.

Our Core Objectives

We grant gifts (funds) to enable and empower others working towards environmental sustainability and preservation of biodiversity. We aim to:

Act as catalyst to change

Fill gaps in effecting change

Break down barriers to action

Support creation of new thinking and practice

Provide bold leadership

Encourage participation of stakeholders

Our History

Establishment of the Purves Environmental Fund

2004

Become a core funder of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists

2004

Funded the writing and promotion of Tim Flannery’s "The Weather Makers"

2005

Attended the inaugural Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network (AEGN) Conference

2006

Funded a campaign to raise awareness of the plight of Macquarie Island (Tasmania) and obtain government funding for eradiation of rodents from the island

2007

Primary supporter of Sydney Ice Bear event, which was aimed at raising climate change awareness

2011

Cornerstone funder of container deposit campaign by Boomerang Alliance

2013-2018

Launched Tree-clearing Challenge Grant to raise funds from members of AEGN and help establish the Deforestation-free Alliance

2017

Received Environmental Philanthropy Award from Philanthropy Australia and AEGN for the Tree-clearing Challenge

2018

Funded the merger of state-based Environmental Defenders Offices (EDO) and led the campaign to engage other AEGN co-funders to support "One EDO"

2019