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Climate and environmental emergency: sign up to the principles and take action

A narrated version of this blog is available at the bottom of the page

At ACEVO we declared a climate crisis in 2019 and have since been working to make changes to our internal processes, events and communications to provide more information and drive stronger climate leadership across the charity sector. That’s why we published our climate and environmental leadership principles, a framework to help structure and direct civil society leaders’ thinking on these issues.

We know that it can be hard to take the first step. And that’s why we are sharing some highlights from the principles’ signatories – to encourage you to add your name to these principles and join other leaders and their organisations in acknowledging the scale of the crisis, being ambitious in the pursuit of climate justice and acting wherever you can to create progress.

I acknowledge that the climate crisis is the most serious threat to our ability as charities to create the future we want to see, and that the impact of this crisis disproportionately affects specific groups, including those from the global south, and from already marginalised groups such as people of colour, people living in poverty, and disabled people.

Gus Alston, CEO, Stonegrove Community Trust

As an organisation whose purpose is to improve the experience of people as they move around London, arguably, most of our work makes a contribution to decarbonising transport. Although we do represent the users of some of London’s roads, most of our work is about improving public transport and making it easier to get around on foot. But we’re going to start a conversation with our Board about whether we can add in a new criteria for how we choose our projects: that it makes a contribution to decarbonising transport in London.

Emma Gibson, director, London Travel Watch

I strongly believe that climate justice is everyone’s responsibility. I therefore commit to starting Reach on the road to becoming a positive force in addressing climate justice. 

Janet Thorne, CEO, Reach Volunteering

The Orchard Project has consistently viewed community orchards as contributing to climate solutions, particularly in urban areas. As the climate crisis worsens, we are striving to apply our expertise more than ever to this end. As the UK’s leading charity on community orchards, we see ourselves as guardians of these vital community assets; as climatic uncertainties deepen, we will support communities to best sustain and utilise them in the future.

Katherine Rosen, CEO, The Orchard Project

As an environmental campaigning organisation, with the vision that water is used wisely every day, everywhere, at Waterwise we already explicitly recognise and campaign on the intersections between our vision and values and climate justice, and use this to inform the choices we make about our strategy, services, contracts, communications, policy and regulatory influencing and campaigns.

Nicci Russell, CEO, Waterwise

At the Heart of England Forest we recognise and acknowledge that the climate, extinction and biodiversity crises are significant and advancing threats, affecting the sector’s ability to create the impact it seeks. Even with aspirations for largescale woodland creation, we are unable to effect enough change alone, and our efforts will be a drop in the ocean unless we can harness the support of every voluntary and community sector organisation to mobilise civil society. 

Beth Brook, CEO, Heart of England Forest

As part of our five-year organisational strategy ‘Hope and Ambition’, we have committed to being a responsible organisation. Responsible to the children and families we support, and to the wider world. This is about improving our impact on the environment, on the people who work for and with us, and the communities in which we operate. We have set ourselves ambitious targets and appointed a Sustainability Lead to co-ordinate this action across our organisation.

Dalton Leong, CEO, The Children’s Trust

As a socially engaged sector, the theatre industry has an obligation to do whatever it can to reduce the impact of its work on the environment. Theatres Trust has a vital role, ensuring that when we give guidance to any UK theatre or award grants, the environmental impact is a key consideration. We will challenge the need to develop where creative reuse or refurbishment are possible and encourage minimising of operational and embodied carbon.

Jon Morgan, director, Theatres Trust

Our members have long been championing and increasing access to rail, one of the greenest forms of transport. Increasingly, we’re helping them to put sustainability at the forefront, and address issues like walking, cycling and bus connections, and biodiversity at stations. 

Jools Townsend, CEO, Community Rail Network

Through nature-based climate change solutions, such as tree planting and habitat management, we will continue to inspire people and communities to connect with nature and adopt more pro-environmental behaviours, and we will continue to work with corporate partners to support them to achieve their sustainability aims.

Darren York, CEO, The Conservation Volunteers

Recognising the severity of the situation, and that it affects different groups of people and communities differently, we are committed to assessing and minimising our negative impact on the environment and climate change. We aim to do our bit to address environmental degradation, including biodiversity loss and climate breakdown, based on core principles of climate justice and a just transition to net-zero.

Jo Hobbs, CEO, The British Youth Council

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