Frequently Asked Questions
How are you funded?
We are an independent, not-for-profit think tank.
Most of our funding comes from charitable foundation grants and small donations. We occasionally receive payment for consultancy, analysis or provision of data.
Charitable foundations which have supported our work include the European Climate Foundation, ClimateKIC, The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, WWF UK, Pool-fund on International Energy (PIE), The Crowd, ThirtyPercy Foundation and The Environmental Defense Fund Europe.
You can donate to our work through The Crowd.
What’s your legal status and how are you governed?
We are a not-for-profit company (a “Community Interest Company”). This means that any financial surplus we make would be ploughed back into the organisation. We have a Board of Directors, that meets regularly to oversee the management of the organisation. We submit our annual accounts to Companies House each year.
Why the name Ember?
We chose Ember because we think it evokes the dying age of coal, but also the start of something new, as we move into a future powered by clean electricity.
What happened to Sandbag?
We were founded in 2008 as Sandbag, to analyse and monitor the EU carbon market, achieving reform and helping to improve the EU Emissions Trading System.
In October 2019, we shifted our focus and re-branded as Ember, as we broadened our reach globally and narrowed our focus to the electricity transition from coal to clean.
Read more about our work as Sandbag.
Why the name Sandbag?
Sandbag was given its name by the organisation’s founder, Baroness Bryony Worthington. She felt that the name Sandbag symbolised the positive coordinated action people take to protect themselves from natural disasters. It is especially apt given that sea level rise due to climate change is increasing the risk of flooding.
Does your move to work on other policies mean you are giving up on the EU ETS?
However the EU ETS is never going to be the only answer to tackling climate change. Action is needed in the sectors not covered by the system, and additional support and funding is needed to drive technological change (like supporting the introduction of Carbon Capture and Storage).
Does the EU ETS let polluters off the hook and make traders rich?
Carbon trading does have its drawbacks and we are as frustrated as everyone else that the early cap setting has been so lacking in ambition and that the current carbon price is so low.
However, it is political will that is the problem not the policy choice.
Whatever the policy choice there would be the same hurdles and in fact because trading allows for flexibility in how organisations can comply, the political pressure on trading policy is often less than for apparently more straightforward options like taxation and regulation. Harmonised taxation across all Member States is also not legally possible in the EU.