How many non-profit organizations are there in the world working in sustainability?

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How many non-profit organizations are there in the world working in sustainability?

Hi there, and thank you for your request on the number of non-profit worldwide that are working in sustainability. Below you will find information from sources like the OECD and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The short answer is that an estimated 170,000 non-profits around the world work in sustainability.

Please see below for a more detailed explanation of my findings and calculations.

METHODOLOGY & CALCULATIONS
In order to answer your query, I first looked for the number of non-profits around the world, as well as a percentage breakdown of sectors they worked in.

I was successful in locating numbers for the US, as any working non-profit in the US needs to be registered at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and is accounted for at the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), but international numbers proved more elusive. I looked at international organizations such as the OECD, the World Bank, the United Nations, or the EU - but none had a specific number - mostly due to the lack of official numbers from countries and differences in regulation on what constitutes a non-profit or whether they need to be registered with the government.

I also looked at international organizations that work with the environment, such as UN Environmental Programme and the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with the same results

Therefore, I looked into a roundabout way to reach a rough estimation on the total number of non-profits worldwide, using the US number. I looked for information of what percentage of worldwide non-profits the US represents - which I could calculate using information from the OECD on its member-states and how much they contributed to foreign development. Please take into account that this number is a rough estimate, since the OECD only makes estimations with information from its member-states.

I then located a study on the percentage of total charity in the US dedicated to environmental causes - which I then applied to the total number of non-profits working around the world.

Please do take into account that this number is an estimation, and should be considered as such.

NUMBER OF SUSTAINABILITY NON-PROFITS
According to the OECD, its member-states donated around US$123.72 billion in Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) in 2015. Of this, the US brings in US$30.765 billion - which represents 24.86% of total.

As of 2013 (most recent data available), 1.41 million non-profits are registered within the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Assuming the US represents 24.86% of total NGOs in the world, this would mean that, globally, there are around 5.6 million non-profit organizations.

Steve MacLaughlin, vice-president of data at BBCon, points out that 3% of all charitable giving in the US goes to environmental associations. Taking this percentage as an approximation of the number of NGOs dedicated to the environment, we can assume that 169,950 non-profits are dedicated to sustainability around the world.


To wrap up, around 170,000 non-profit organizations around the world work in sustainability.

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