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Climate and environmental leadership principles

Leaders have told us they need a framework to help structure and direct their thinking on climate issues.

These leadership principles are formed by charity leaders, for charity leaders. We know it is hard to give the climate crisis the urgent attention it needs, so our member working group has created this shared commitment supporting leaders to:

  • Acknowledge the scale of the crisis, and that we can all do something to contribute to the solution.
  • Be ambitious in our pursuit of climate justice, both as leaders of individual organisations and as a collective voice for civil society.
  • Act wherever we can to create progress – however small our initial actions may be.

We know that this is a journey, and every organisation will need to set its own targets. We hope you will use this pledge provides a framework for progress and a community in which to share learning and mistakes.



Recognise and acknowledge that the climate, extinction and biodiversity crises are systemic and advancing threats to the sector’s ability to create the impact it seeks.


Acknowledge that the climate and nature crises have already and will continue to disproportionately affect certain groups, both in the UK and globally. They will have specific and significant impacts on people living in the global south and people from marginalised communities, including people of colour, people living in poverty, and disabled people.



Champion the need for ambitious leadership within the voluntary sector specifically, in light of our commitment across a range of causes to improving outcomes for people, animals, and the natural world.


Work towards a just transition to net-zero emissions, strategizing and acting now to support a transition that will help protect the communities and places we work with from further harm.


Speak publicly and confidently about the climate, using personal and organisational communications platforms to support campaigns asking policymakers for change. Wherever possible, I will contribute to these campaigns with expertise from the communities we serve, to build an intersectional picture of the impact of climate breakdown.


Commit to sharing and learning alongside peers in the sector, taking time to review our actions and the changing situation and adapt collectively.



Take practical steps within my organisation and networks to understand our emissions and how climate breakdown intersects with our mission and charitable objectives. This work includes but is not limited to:


Measuring the carbon footprint of our operations and service delivery and making public a plan to reduce this, and to regularly consider realistic targets for a just transition to net zero.


Exploring the explicit and implicit intersections between our mission and climate justice, and using this to inform the choices we make about our strategy, services, contracts, communications and campaigns.


Asking questions of suppliers and partners, including investment managers and pension providers where relevant, to make clear our organisational commitment to using the most sustainable providers possible and changing suppliers where we feel this is appropriate


Seeking board level support to embed climate justice whichever sector we work in, and update trustees on this work on an agreed timescale.

We have tried to keep the language in this pledge accessible, but we have provided a glossary of some key terms for anyone who is not familiar with everything you have read. Additionally, we have a page of external resources, which includes several information papers concerning how marginalised groups in the UK and globally will be disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis. ACEVO has also formed some tools and templates around the climate crisis for members.

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. We are committed to continuing to review our current practices as well as beginning work in new areas to seek climate justice and a just transition across the sector to net zero. We are fully committed to the sustainability leadership principles as an organisation and pleased to host them on behalf of our member working group to enable leaders to share their work on the climate whatever stage of this journey they are at.

We have taken the following actions since 2019:


  • Acknowledged a climate emergency, and taken steps internally to reduce our internal carbon emissions.
  • Joined the Climate Action for Associations network, holding ourselves to account to ‘get our own house in order’ and to drive stronger climate leadership across the charity sector via our inspiring member network.
  • Communicated more widely about this issue, using specific hashtags to track engagement and committing 10% of our communications space to climate-related content.


  • Formed a staff working group to harness staff passion on this issue and drive change, and a member working group to encourage peer learning and scope the issues so that we can design solutions.
  • Facilitated discussion of the issue via a minimum of three events per year focused on the climate crisis (including sessions at our 2019 conference and ACEVOFest 2020, member meetings, and webinars from corporate partners) and set up a climate crisis topic in our online community.
  • Created a variety of resources for members including light-touch tools and templates.
  • Hosted the sustainability leadership principles pledge to help members structure their thinking on this issue and encourage ambitious commitments.


We have taken a number of practical steps to reduce our carbon footprint, including:

  • Stop printing except for essential finance and legal needs.
  • Budgeted to offset some of our unavoidable emissions via Gold Standard Community Projects.
  • Provided quarterly reports to our board on our work and progress in this area to keep the focus on this issue at strategic level.
  • Given staff the opportunity to switch to an ethical pension fund.
  • Created a digital events offering which reduces member transport and carbon footprint.
  • Discussed ethical funding and how we manage suppliers, partners and funders at an ACEVO team away morning.

We know we still have much to do, and over 2021-22 we would like to begin the following work to continue demonstrating our commitment to these principles:

  • Recalculate our carbon footprint, using the tools offered by CAFA and independent expertise if necessary. This should take into account the impacts of staff working from home and member engagement digitally, which we know will have changed our impact on the environment.
  • Reframe our action plan to focus more clearly on climate justice and measuring our progress towards net zero specifically.
  • Include climate justice as a key issue in our equity, diversity and inclusion work, and more publicly recognise that the climate crisis will disproportionately impact people living in the global south, people from marginalised communities, including people of colour, people living in poverty, and disabled people.
  • Champion and centre the voice of our member working group to steer our events, speakers and content in this space.
  • Create an ethical funding policy which considers how our funders, suppliers and partners take climate action and their approach to climate justice, and support ACEVO staff to demonstrate our organisational commitment to this issue by asking questions of and seeking discussion with everyone we work with
  • Continue to seek high-quality corporate partnerships in this space, providing members with trusted suppliers and consultants to help them take their first steps towards net zero.

Groundwork is an organisation committed to supporting environmental action, but to be credible in that commitment we know we need to demonstrate leadership in terms of our own operations.  At Groundwork UK we have a plan to identify opportunities for carbon reduction across all areas of our business, from travel and energy to financial investments.  We’re also working with our network of Groundwork Trusts to drive a federation-wide approach and have pledged to generate an overall carbon footprint and action plan to achieve net zero. Our strategy contains a specific commitment to act as environmental exemplars and also identifies six of the UN Sustainable Development Goals which are most relevant for our work.

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.

My Ambition is to lead the Stonegrove Community Trust to become an exemplar community organisation on environmental action, and whilst doing so embody the principles of generous leadership, reaching out to support others to achieve more impact collaboratively.

I believe in Actions over words, and I commit to:

  • Measure the environmental impact of the Stonegrove Community Trust annually, and share that data publicly.
  • Commit adequate resource and time to ensure that we move forwards with the practical elements of our environmental work, to meet our December 2022 net zero carbon commitment.
  • Share completely openly our ambitions, plans and progress, and to openly and humbly listen to others who want to collaborate, support or to challenge.
  • Increase my knowledge of environmental justice and the climate crisis, and work to develop our work in this area into something that is more sophisticated, fully strategically linked to our mission and vision, and which inspires locally based resident led action.
  • Work to the principles of generous leadership, sharing what I learn with others openly and honestly, collaborating and partnering for maximum impact.

Stonegrove Community Trust website page on our environmental work.


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.

We often don’t talk about the climate-friendly dimension of our work and that’s also something that we’re going to improve on in the coming year.

In terms of our operations, we’ve started a conversation about how to minimise our footprint:

  • We’ve contacted the landlord of our building to ask if they will move to a renewable energy provider for our electricity. (they are looking into it)
  • We’ll be doing a lightweight ‘sustainability audit’ to see if there are other areas where we can make changes e.g making sure that all of our printer paper is recycled; stopping the printing of Board papers and printed reports; looking into food waste collection in our area of London; buying plastic-free tea bags
  • We’ve also contacted our pensions provider to find out if our pensions are invested in fossil fuels. And if they are, whether there is an option to opt out of doing so

At a recent staff meeting we also talked about whether we should have a vegetarian-only/sustainably sourced catering policy for events and away days. We already take part in the ‘cycle to work’ scheme but there was interest in exploring if other discounts might be available to staff, such as for car club membership.

We’ve got a long way to go on this issue but the important thing is to take the first step.

The climate and biodiversity crises are the single biggest challenges we face. They will affect every part of life, including civil society, and yet few organisations and institutions are taking the actions needed. The biggest impact will fall on marginalised communities, which have contributed the least to the crisis, but who will carry the largest burden. Reach Volunteering’s purpose is to help build a flourishing and just civil society, so the climate crisis is of central importance to our long-term mission.

Reach is a small charity, without a specific environmental remit. We are at the very start of our journey in addressing climate change. We do not have any particular expertise in this area, and we do not have stakeholders who are pushing us to take action. However, 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. Our actions at this point are inevitably quite broad brush. By 2022 we will have specific and focused actions.

I commit to:

  • continue learning and speaking about climate justice
  • work with colleagues in ACEVO Climate Crisis working group to deepen my understanding, and to identify levers for change and practical actions. I will also undertake to work with other groups because the climate crisis requires us to work beyond our usual boundaries to find cross-sector solutions
  • bring climate justice to Reach’s board agenda, to discuss its importance for Reach’s long term mission including the impact of climate change on civil society, and to set Reach’s vision and priorities for climate justice
  • measure the carbon emissions from our digital service, and set reduction targets
  • research the sustainability of our current pension provider and compare with alternative providers
  • explore options for supporting other social purpose organisations to address climate justice through our service provision

The Church of England Pensions Board acknowledges the climate crisis as a strategic and systemic risk.  Our ambition is that members should be able to retire well, confident that their pension funds are invested sustainably and in ways which are helping make a better world.  The climate crisis is a regular area of focus in trustee meetings.  Actions we are taking as part of our commitment to Net Zero are described in our Stewardship Report (available at  These include understanding our carbon footprint and what different climate scenarios mean for our work and impact, and taking steps across our operations including our property care programme and acting as a responsible investor.

The Orchard Project’s strategic response to Climate Crisis

I. The Role of Community Orchards in Addressing the Crisis

We are living in an age of climate crisis, facing a real and unchartered threat to our food security, biodiversity and social cohesion. In this context, the role of community orchards has become more pertinent than ever. Community orchards, especially in urban areas, are a tangible way to help people find positive and practical solutions to the complex problems that lie ahead.

An increased number of better-maintained orchards translates into more accessible fresh fruit and greater local control over food sovereignty, as well as reduced food waste. In addition, orchards create new or restored habitats for biodiversity, increased tree coverage (beneficial for shade, carbon sequestering and floodwater uptake) and public spaces that local people take pride in, unite in and utilise to improve their wellbeing. Our work is proof that orchards bring people together in an age of increasing social isolation and community breakdown. They are enchanting, cherished natural areas that give sustenance to both people and wildlife.

Since our inception, 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.

II. Responding to Climate Crisis: Our Vision

  • A well looked after and climate-resilient community orchard within walking distance of every urban community in the UK.
  • Well-networked orchard communities that share their learning, support each other, and have an increased ability to respond cohesively to the challenges of climate emergency.
  • More orchards accessible to people from BAMER communities, who are disproportionately more impacted by climate crisis

III. Climate Action Work through our activities

Our climate action work addresses the following four key issues:

  • There has been a significant loss of orchards and associated wildlife over the last decades, with orchards having been cleared to make space for urban development.
  • With this, there has been a loss of orchard skills and knowledge, impacting communities’ resilience to grow their own local food organically and sustainably and a loss of biodiversity in these orchards.
  • The climate crisis is causing extreme weather which is putting orchards under significant pressure. Late frosts (impacting flowering and fruiting), more frequent, wetter and windier conditions, increased waterlogging and flooding, warmer winters causing early flowering, periods of extreme temperatures, droughts, storms (causing damage) and changes in the behaviour and distribution of pests and diseases – all threaten orchards.
  • People from BAMER communities and those from areas of deprivation are experiencing the most climate injustice and so we concentrate our work on areas that will benefit people most from these communities

In response, we’ve planted new orchards, and improved the health of trees and their fruit-bearing capacity as a result of better care and management. Through our work, we’ve:

  • Helped stop the decline of orchard habitats and associated wildlife by planting and restoring urban orchards.
  • Given urban communities the skills, knowledge and confidence to care for their local orchards by providing outstanding training and support. This enables people to grow fruit locally, organically and sustainably, and helps build resilient food systems.
  • Continuing to research and share our findings on the best ways to harvest and retain water in orchard systems, for example
  • Made orchards resilient to adverse growing conditions due to climate change. We have been climate-proofing orchards through practical orchard design and site management measures, e.g. by having care regimes for unpredictable weather, building healthy soil, capturing rain water, targeted/restorative pruning, introducing shelter planting and hedging plus ground cover to reduce erosion.
  • Made orchards more wildlife-friendly (- they are particularly good habitats for bees, butterflies and beetles), e.g. by creating habitats, introducing small ponds, reptile hibernacula, insect hotels and planting nectar-rich flowers.
  • Help reduce food waste through our community-powered cider enterprise, making juice and cider from surplus, waste apples.
  • Raise people’s awareness of the impact of climate change through embedding it in our training workshops and consultancy.

IV. Climate action through orchards: Our approach

  • Supports community-led climate action; it offers people practical and tangible action to take in the face of climate change.
  • Addresses food sovereignty to improve community food security, diversify the means of sustainable food production, and reduce the carbon footprint of fruit production and distribution.
  • Increases the amount of ‘nature-friendly’ fruit (i.e. organic and free from chemical treatments) being eaten to help support a transition to climate-friendly diets that contain more plants and less meat and dairy.
  • Protects and increases wildlife and biodiversity. Orchards are unique and important habitats, providing shelter and food for a wide range of wildlife. They are often made up of a mosaic of elements, including fruit trees both young and old, long grass, scrub, hedgerows, ponds, and standing or fallen dead wood, all of which support diverse wildlife.
  • Offers city-wide networking to share ideas and learning, and peer support to strengthen communities as they face the feelings arising from the climate crisis (such as disempowerment, anxiety and helplessness).

V. Organisational action

  • We have an Ethical Sponsorship Policy to help ensure any funding we receive is ethical and meaningfully supportive of environmental issues.

We only work with for-profit companies, where they have a real and demonstrable commitment to environmental and social sustainability and our work together will help to bring them closer to their wider sustainability goals, rather than serving as a distraction from unsustainable practices elsewhere in the company. We will not work with any company whose core business is fundamentally damaging to society and/or the environment (e.g. arms, tobacco, fossil fuel extraction, car manufacturing, and those who actively finance them). We will also avoid sponsors who are seen to be working against the interests of the communities where we operate. This sometimes means turning away funding.

  • We use ethical, local and sustainable providers wherever possible. We promote the pooling and re-use of equipment. We have no vehicles, and staff rely on cycling, public transport and occasional van hire.
  • We use an ethical bank (Triodos) and all staff pensions are held in ethical funds.

As England’s largest new native broadleaf forest, the Heart of England Forest is an environmental charity committed to providing a significant national asset for public benefit to mitigate against climate change. We have an ambitious vision to create a 30,000 acre forest comprising more than 13 million trees, and a mosaic of habitats for the benefit of wildlife and people, all of which are important to lock up carbon. At 7,000 acres and growing all the time, we have already planted over 1.8 million trees in the centre of the country. Running up the Warwickshire / Worcestershire border from the north Cotswolds to south Birmingham, the Forest is providing a lung for the West Midlands and a breath of fresh air for the nation.


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. Although the current Covid-19 pandemic has affected us all, climate change still remains the biggest threat facing all of us in the sector and should be the highest on our risk registers, but without a concerted sea change it will continue to creep up on us, affecting the causes we champion and the beneficiaries we support. From social housing to mental health, and arts and culture to overseas aid, there is no area of civil society this does not touch … which means that the sector is in the best possible place to effect  positive and meaningful change and engage civil society to take the lead.


As a sector leader, I am committed to championing the need for ambitious leadership within the voluntary sector, which includes speaking publicly and confidently about the climate emergency to engender support and effect change. As a member of ACEVO’s climate change working group, I am committed to sharing and learning alongside peers in the sector in order to work towards a just transition to net-zero emissions, acting now to support a transition that will help to protect the communities and places we work with from further harm.


One of the largest planter of trees in the country, the Heart of England Forest encourages community involvement and volunteer engagement, and has an active learning and skills programme – from Early Years Foundation Stage through the National Curriculum to the 16-19 Skills Plan and beyond, the charity has a ground breaking programme of learning outside the classroom, working with schools and other settings, clubs and individuals to deliver all core curriculum subjects outside in the Forest, alongside supporting schools to deliver their School Improvement Plan targets. Coupled with Mini Foresters (our family club), Young Foresters (developing youth volunteering) and WildTribe (our holiday club), we are investing in growing the future Forest Guardians, who will be around to continue our climate change work and care for this significant environmental legacy long after we are gone.

Whilst we are experienced at taking practical action in the natural environment to mitigate against the effects of climate change, we now need to work hard to understand and reduce our own carbon footprint as an organisation, implementing an action plan and considering realistic targets for a transition to net zero. We have formed an Environmental Champions group, with cross-organisational membership, and have commenced a baseline study, analysing the basics (waste, water and energy) to give us a measure of progress. We are also committed to taking further action, asking questions of our suppliers and partners in order to make clear our organisational priorities.

This approach has the full support of trustees, who have committed to a climate crisis declaration, and agreed to climate change as a standard Board agenda item, expecting to see this as a key part of our decision making.


CPRE the countryside charity is committed to acknowledgement ambition and action in all aspects of this issue and has already done a great deal of work to move this agenda forward.  Our 2020-26 strategy has ‘tackling the climate crisis’ as its cross-cutting theme and one of the first things we did on launching the strategy last year was to launch a comprehensive report ‘Greener, Better, Faster’ on how the countryside is at risk from the climate crisis and, crucially, the significant role it and rural communities can play in tackling it. 

Our lobbying and campaigning activity at both national and local level has tackling the climate emergency at its heart:

and we are about to embark on a £250k corporate-funded hedgerow planting programme, in partnership with our local network, as a practical demonstration of our commitment to tackling the climate crisis.

Internally we introduced a rigorous new ethical donations policy last year and are increasingly addressing the sustainability practices of our own operations and those of our partners, including through the setting up a of a staff-led green group.

I, the trustees, senior leadership, staff and volunteers at CPRE the countryside charity are committed to acknowledge, highlight and act on the climate crisis through every aspect of our work.

Updated statement, November 2021

Birth Companions Environmental Policy


Birth Companions acknowledges the urgent threat the climate and biodiversity emergency presents to human life, and in particular to the generations of babies whose births we have supported, and will continue to support.

We acknowledge that the negative impacts of climate change and biodiversity decline are disproportionately borne by persons and communities already in disadvantageous situations owing to geography, poverty, gender, age, disability, cultural or ethnic background, amongst others; that have historically contributed the least to greenhouse gas emissions and the destruction of the natural world. 

We recognise we have a collective duty to act now to mitigate the impact of the climate and biodiversity emergency on future generations. This policy sets out Birth Companions’ practical response to the climate and biodiversity emergency, which will comprise the following actions:

  • Where possible Birth Companions will support its staff and volunteers to change their behaviours to make choices that are recognised to have less impact on the environment.
  • Birth Companions will observe environmental legislation as a minimum standard and seek to out-perform current legislative requirements where practical.
  • The Director and the Board of Trustees will review current practice and policy within the organisation annually, and make changes as appropriate. This will include a qualitative summary of policy and communications work relating to the climate and biodiversity emergency.
  • Birth Companions will seek to act as a leader in our field, sharing information, policy and best practice and encouraging other organisations to act with us.

Good Practice

Transport – Birth Companions transport policy

  • Where possible staff will be encouraged to take public transport options.
  • Where there is a cost implication for staff using public transport instead of their car, Birth Companions will consider offering financial support in order to facilitate the use of public transport – this will be reviewed on a case by case basis. We recognise that some staff may need to use their cars in order to carry out their role within Birth Companions.
  • Birth Companions will not fund any staff travel that involves the use of air travel.
  • We will participate in a two year Climate Perks pilot in which we offer staff up to two additional leave days a year to replace non-sustainable travel to and from holidays with sustainable modes of transport (see Climate Perks policy document).

Food – Birth Companions food policy

All staff and volunteer meetings where food is proved will be meat free and, where possible, vegan.

Consumption – Birth Companions purchasing policy

Birth Companions will follow a green purchasing policy that requires staff to judge any purchasing decisions on the basis of a green purchasing hierarchy:

  • Reduce: Birth Companions will firstly question whether a purchase is strictly necessary and if it is, whether the amounts required could be reduced.
  • Re-use: Secondly it will seek to buy re-used items in preference to new items where practical.
  • Recycle: If new items have to be purchased, will seek whether there is a feasible option of buying products made locally, from recycled materials or a more energy efficient (see Appendix below)

Influencing others

Policy and Communications

When appropriate, Birth Companions will aim to provide leadership in the voluntary sector by sharing information, policy and best practice. This may include communicating the relationship between climate justice and social justice, including environment-related recommendations in policy documents and encouraging policy makers and commissioners to take action on environmental issues.

Appendix 1

Good practice purchasing guide


How can I plan ahead to increase sustainability?

  • Staff should include purchasing in their work and project planning, allowing plenty of time to source second-hand or more sustainable items and avoiding last minute purchases wherever possible.


Is the purchase necessary?

  • If the item is not for a service user, or not essential to their role (e.g. printer ink, pens, food for meetings etc.) then staff should consider whether they could achieve their aim without purchasing the item.

Could the amount being purchased be reduced?

  • If the item is necessary, staff should consider ways to reduce the number purchased, such as sharing items between staff or service users, or purchasing a reusable version of the item (e.g. refillable printer cartridges).


Can PramDepot or another source supply the item secondhand?

  • If the item(s) needed are baby items (e.g. buggy, clothes, toys, nappies etc.), staff must check if PramDepot or another supplier can supply the item(s) before deciding to purchase.

Can the item be purchased second hand?

  • If PramDepot or another supplier cannot supply the item, staff must see if the item can be purchased second-hand.

Can the item be purchased from a more sustainable supplier?

  • If the item(s) must be purchased new, then staff should check if the item(s) can be purchased from a local supplier (preferably producing the item locally), or made out of recycled materials.

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust was recently awarded the Planet Mark certification, which measured our carbon footprint and provided us with some tangible goals for the next 12 months. These next steps are:


  • Evidence pack: Collate all relevant invoices in an electronic evidence pack.
  • Utilities: Take readings of all meters on the last day of the month. Investigate the installation of smart meters.
  • Headcount: Ask HR for a table showing monthly full time equivalent headcount
  • Fuel: Introduce fuel cards.
  • Travel: Ask your travel suppliers to provide you with a report detailing mileage and mode of transport so you can accurately add data to your carbon footprint. For non centrally booked travel record mode of travel, destination/origin and distances travelled in expense claim forms.


  • Energy efficiency: Regular ‘energy audits’ will help identify where most energy is being used and potential wastage from equipment, lights and heat loss. Investigate the installation of LED, T5 and sensor lighting and the upgrade of heating controls.
  • Switch to 100% renewable energy suppliers
  • Investigate measuring the carbon associated with digital activities


  • Carry out a waste management audit to understand what waste you are producing, where it is coming from and what the best route for it would be. Provide plenty of bins for segregating waste correctly and encouraging recycling. Engage your waste management supplier to help you reduce landfill waste and instead increase the proportion that goes to recycling and to energy from waste.


  • Check your meters at night, or when water is not in use, to monitor leakage.
  • Introduce a water use awareness campaign in communal kitchen areas.


  • Record all business travel and promote public transport options for business meetings.
  • Arrange safe and fuel efficient driving training for all drivers. Plan driver routes to finish at their homes.
  • When replacing fleet, choose fuel efficient vehicles. Electric or hybrid cars are exempt from various taxes, and subsidies are available for purchase costs and electric charge points.

Choosing the smallest vehicles for their purpose will reduce fuel consumption, and save money on road tax. Provide incentives for employees to opt for low carbon cars, and limit choices to those which meet sustainability criteria.

  • Choose travel management companies, airlines, taxi companies, couriers and other providers with active sustainability programmes and look for clear progress on improving fuel efficiency and pursuing credible, sustainable solutions for travel.


  • Buy paper from sustainable forests or recycled content. Ask for FSC or PEFC branded paper as a minimum ideally with the EU Eco label . Choosing recycled content paper, your carbon emissions from paper use are reduced by 30% but choosing sustainably sourced paper the benefits are more holistic as you support the demand for sustainably managed forests which may otherwise be cut down for a different land use such as agriculture.


  • Organise annual sustainability workshops. Carry out a energy awareness and ‘switch off’ campaign.


  • Explore your possibilities and choose consciously. Check the Planet Mark website for companies currently engaged on reducing their carbon footprint


  • Our offsetting partner Offset My Life can help you purchase VCS or Gold Standard carbon offsets and also plants 1 tree for every 1 tCO 2 e offset,

The Children’s Trust

Commitment to ACEVO’s sustainability leadership principles (July 2021)

The Children’s Trust is the UK’s leading charity for children with brain injury. Our mission is to give children and young people with brain injury and neurodisability the best future possible. We have a responsibility to the young people we support to provide services and support, and to look after the world that they will grow up in.

In the words of a young person we have supported: ‘The Children’s Trust is about children, and our future. It’s important that The Children’s Trust focuses on the problems that will impact the future for children, including protecting the world they will live in.’

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.

Our Responsible Organisation Strategy is here.

In this strategy, we set out the actions we are going to take to improve our impact. These include:

  • Creating a long-term plan to achieve net carbon zero
  • Reducing waste by focusing on resource efficiency and circularity
  • Base investment decisions on long-term economic, social and environmental sustainability
  • Protect and nurture the biodiversity of our 25-acre site
  • Sharing our learning and supporting others on this journey

Theatres Trust recognises that we are in the midst of a climate emergency and as the national public advisory body for theatres is taking a leadership role in the theatre sector’s response.

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.

Theatres Trust has signed up to the Culture Declares Emergency campaign and in March 2020 we made the following commitments to reshape our work and help to influence and improve the sector’s sustainability:

1.Considering the environmental impact in all our planning responses and advice provided

  1. Supporting projects that are low impact and regenerative through our grants programmes
  2. Working with partners to include environmental best practice in industry regulations
  3. Disseminating case studies and knowledge to the industry from exemplar projects
  4. Minimising the impact of Theatres Trust’s own operations

Further information about these principles can be found on our website

A key part of Theatres Trust’s leadership role on sustainability has been spearheading the Theatre Green Book project, along with colleagues at the Association of British Theatre Technicians and Buro Happold. Theatre Green Book initiative pulls together existing guidance and creates a shared standard for environmentally responsible theatre across three volumes:

Sustainability is the theme for our annual conference with Conference 21: Making Theatre Sustainable exploring how we can make every aspect of the theatre sector more sustainable, from our productions to our buildings and how we run them. The event will provide a unique opportunity to hear from the team of sustainability and theatre specialists behind the Theatre Green Book and from theatres who are already applying it in practice in their productions, buildings and operations, alongside thought-provoking debates.

Following discussions with our board and staff, we are in the process of agreeing our next three-year business plan for 2022-2025 and sustainability will be a key priority within this, building upon our environmental principles.

ACEVO climate leadership principles

Statement from Jools Townsend, chief executive, Community Rail Network

I’m hugely supportive of ACEVO’s work supporting third sector leaders to take action on the climate emergency, and I think the sector has a crucial role to play in addressing this all-encompassing challenge. I’m very much behind the climate leadership principles and proud to say I’m continually challenging myself and my team to do as much as we can to put sustainability at the heart of what we do and show positive leadership.

I am acutely conscious of the growing urgency around the climate crisis, with just a few years left to turn the corner. But I also acknowledge how much we have to gain from forging a greener way forward, in terms of social justice, health and wellbeing, many of the issues the third sector is focused on. A few years ago I took a career break to undertake a Masters, in which I focused on how the third sector can contribute to sustainability. My research concluded that we face huge challenges in achieving social change, and local engagement and empowerment is vital to this: of course this is what our sector does best.

I’m bringing that to life in my role at Community Rail Network. 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. You can get a flavour of what community rail is doing here: We also put this into practice ourselves, with our staff asked to travel sustainably, and policies and practices to minimise waste and use eco and ethical suppliers.

We’re also happy to advise or signpost third sector colleagues on sustainable travel, so let us know if you want to connect.

  • In April 2021, Trustees invited Professor Sanjay Sisodiya, Professor of Neurology at UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology to hold a session at the virtual Board Away Day; The impact of climate change on patients with neurological conditions: epilepsy as an example. This enabled us to see the impact that climate change will have on our community, to consider our impact and how we can reduce it. Trustees are kept updated on actions taken thereafter by the team.
  • During 2021, an internal Climate Change working group formed. The group meets regularly to discuss climate change policy within MDUK and present to all staff in meetings or by email. Three climate change sub-groups were created: travel, printing of publications and office culture. 
  • The working group and wider team has implemented numerous measures and will continue to seek ways to improve our carbon impact, our actions belong to everyone.
  • In 2021, MDUK signed up to the ACEVO Climate and environmental leadership principles.
  • December 2021, MDUK outlined its Climate Change principles on the website.
  • February 2022, MDUK CEO ACEVO case study/ interview to encourage other charity leaders to act, distributed.
  • May 2022, Andrea McCormick, Head of Sustainability at Ovo Energy gave an all-staff presentation with Q&A to help us consider our impact and how we can move from not only changing our actions but influencing those of our community and supporters.  

As an organisation that operates in aviation, our commitment towards climate action might initially seem incongruous. However we are pleased to commit to ACEVO’s leadership principles and continue developing our work in this space. We have taken a number of early steps along our journey towards meeting our Environmental Sustainability & Stewardship goals. We continue to scrutinise every aspect of our organisation to identify creative approaches towards climate mitigation and adaptation. This has included:

  • Adding climate change to our corporate risk register, which led to us identifying Environmental Sustainability & Stewardship as one of our strategic focus areas.
  • Setting up a cross-departmental ‘Green Team’ to take a collaborative approach and meet regularly, as well as produce a seasonable ‘Green Horizons’ newsletter which reports against our strategic goals
  • Setting up a board committee for environmental sustainability and stewardship, to ensure our operations are supported at a strategic level
  • Endorsing the Devon Climate Emergency Declaration and agreed our own commitment, which recognised the extent of the challenge and the near-term and future risk of climate change for Devon and the communities we serve.
  • Working with a specialist independent consultancy, Eunomia, to audit our emissions
  • Conducting a review of the portfolio with the Investment Manager for the charity, it has been agreed that the carbon outputs of the holdings will be monitored as a key measure of the portfolio’s climate impact and reported quarterly to the Board. This analysis will be completed for all investments which are held within the portfolio with a plan in place to extend this analysis over time.

We have more work to do but have seen that the initial reservations of the relevance of climate to our mission have been reduced through regular communication and identifying a green ethos which is relevant to everyone’s role. Helping all colleagues and volunteers to feel as though they have a chance to get involved in developments, and to ask questions and to challenge assumptions is important, irrespective of position in the organisation. Engaging colleagues on our environmental sustainability and stewardship journey and implementing changes is an iterative process that we plan to measure as we progress along our journey. Taking small steps is better than taking none.

 6 January 2022


The Conservation Volunteers’ (TCV) vision is healthier, happier communities for everyone.  We believe that green spaces are an essential part of healthy, happy communities.  TCV’s Strategy 2021-25 ‘For people and green spaces: a thriving network for everyone’, acknowledges that the climate and ecological emergency grows ever more pressing and that green spaces have an important role to play in tackling this and other challenges facing society.


We believe that the climate and ecological emergency must inspire action at all levels of society.  For more than 60 years, we have connected people and green spaces to deliver significant, positive environmental impact.  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. 

At the same time, we recognise that the infrastructure and resources required to enable these activities can sometimes have a negative environmental impact.  In light of the worsening climate and ecological emergency, we believe it is more important now, than at any other time in TCV’s history, to regularly review environmental performance and, through a process of continuous improvement, strive to increase the positive impact, and decrease the negative impact, that our actions have upon the environment. 


The Conservation Volunteers has:

  • appointed a member of staff to lead on Environmental Sustainability in the organisation, and ensure environmental sustainability performance remains on all management agendas
  • put in place an Environmental Sustainability Group, with representation from across the organisation, to action plan, share ideas, and promote best practice
  • provided employees with clear guidance and training to increase their awareness of our environmental impact
  • provided employees with the tools to review their pension plans and choose more sustainable options
  • committed to planting five million trees, with people and communities, between 2018-2025
  • committed to ensuring that waste from our business is handled in a way that both complies with relevant legislation and results in minimal amounts of material being sent to landfill
  • enlisted the support of carbon reduction specialists to put plans in place to achieve net zero carbon emissions at the earliest practicable opportunity.

Darren York, Chief Executive, The Conservation Volunteers.

As the national youth council of the UK, the British Youth Council has a responsibility to work with and on behalf of young people on the issues that matter to young people the most. Environmental, climate and sustainability issues are key areas of concern for young people. 74,500 young people from across the UK told us the Environment is their most important issue in our Make Your Mark consultation in 2022. Furthermore, as the generation whose lives will most closely overlap with current policy- and decision-making outcomes, today’s young people will experience the impacts of environmental degradation and climate breakdown more than any generation alive at present. 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.

Following an extensive period of consultation with staff, trustees and young people, the Board of the British Youth Council have approved a new environmental policy that indicates our organisational commitment to addressing and mitigating against environmental harm and climate change within our operations, including through the services we deliver and the partnerships we engage with. We have some big, bold ambitions which will require a culture change in how we think about and deliver our work.  We are now in the action planning phase and hope to be able to deliver on our commitment within the coming months.

SIA’s vision is for people affected by a spinal cord injury to live fulfilled lives. SIA is committed to playing their role in acknowledging the climate crisis, changing their own practises and encouraging changes in its People’s behaviour.

Our journey so far includes:

  • We have made sustainability one of our key objectives in our plans
  • We have made a commitment to ourselves and to our trustees to play our part in living and working more sustainably
  • We have set up an Environmental Sustainability focus group including representatives from across the charity
  • We have developed a new Environmental Sustainability Policy
  • We have started to build an SIA’s Green Plan to Zero

Our journey has only just started.  There is plenty to do in all parts of our charity.  We have bold ambitions to adapt to reduce our impact and the responsibilities of team members in this space which are reflected in our Green plan to Zero.

We pledge to continue raising awareness amongst our People and members, to create the necessary space, time and resources to support our pledge and to enable and support our staff to embed sustainability into our planning and thinking.  This work will continue being driven by the Environmental Sustainability Focus Group.

Last updated 07/07/2022

SCSN Statement on ACEVO Climate and Leadership Principles

The Scottish Community Safety Network (SCSN) is the lead strategic organisation for community safety in Scotland, and contribute to building safer communities in Scotland by ‘Informing, Engaging, Championing and Influencing’ in the community safety sector.

SCSN is proud to state our commitment to the ACEVO Climate and Leadership Principles.


The SCSN recognises that the climate, extinction and biodiversity crises are systemic threats to our sectors ability to create the impact we seek – creating safe, secure, resilient and sustainable communities in Scotland.

We acknowledge that the climate crisis has already begun and will disproportionately affect certain groups in the UK and globally – especially in the global south.


We have already begun to champion ambitious leadership within the voluntary sector (and specifically the community safety sector) on climate crisis action.

We commit to working toward net zero emissions and embedding climate crisis action into our future organisational strategies and business plans.

We have already begun to speak confidently and publicly about the climate through our communications platforms. Examples include the publication of a blog post on Climate Anxiety and Community Safety and monthly ‘Climate Crisis Corner’ sections in our Safety NETworks newsletter and Community Safety Media Monitor.

We also regularly post or share social media content/posts on the climate crisis and work of our partners/stakeholders in this area.

We have already begun to sharing and learning alongside peers in the sector. In 2021 we staged an event titled ‘Thinking about the Climate Change and Community Safety’ (view the Learning Report here) and have followed this up with the publication of a Climate Change and Community Safety illustrated Zine. We
have also submitted a Climate Action case study to ACEVO, available on their website here.

We have also committed to staging a future sector wide event on the climate crisis and community safety, and will continue to review our actions, the changing situation and work to adapt collectively.


We are committed to taking practical steps within our organisation to understand our emissions and how climate breakdown intersects with our mission and charitable objectives.
Some of the actions we have already taken – and other actions we are exploring – in this area are listed in our Climate Action Case Study on the ACEVO website.

Lorraine Gillies, SCSN Chief Officer

Last updated 20/09/2022


Our acknowledgement and ambition

We and our fellow members of the ACEVO community represent a wide range of causes committed to improving outcomes for people and the natural world. The Dunhill Medical Trust acknowledges that the climate and biodiversity crises are systemic threats to our ability and to that of our award-holders to make progress in delivering our mission. These crises form part of the complex array of environmental factors contributing to long term health outcomes for people. Given that older people are one of the most vulnerable groups impacted by these issues, we must play our part in addressing them through the work that we fund and the way that we operate. This requires seeking out and using the best evidence available to us, sharing it, and encouraging others to join with us in acting upon it. We are therefore pleased to add our voice to those who are championing the need for ambitious leadership within our sector to respond and to find ways to play our part in mitigating the severe challenges we face.

Our initial action plan may be read here and the Board will receive reports at least annually on actions taken and progress made.

At NTSU we acknowledge the scale and significance of the climate crisis and the devastating impact that this is having on the natural world, animals, and people around the globe.  We know that the effects of climate change will damage our ability to deliver upon our mission for our membership, particularly affecting those from marginalised and underrepresented communities. 

That is why we committed to making a real and genuine change in our work on the climate emergency.  We aim to match and then exceed the ambitions of our key partners, stakeholders and most importantly our membership to become a leading organisation in this area.   

As CEO I acknowledge my role as an ambitious and visible leader for our organisation and working with others in civil society to improve our shared outcomes. 

In June 2022 when I was appointed as CEO one of my first actions was to discuss our priorities in this area with the Board of Trustees.  We approved resource and shortly after recruited our first full time post working in sustainability. 

In October 2022 we reported our progress back to the board where they endorsed our direction of travel and the creation of our first sustainability strategy.  They asked us to ensure engagement with our diverse membership and encouraged us to go further and faster where we can.  We agreed to add sustainability as a standing item to all Board meetings this financial year. 

Through deep and ongoing engagement with our members and beneficiaries we plan to learn about their own ambitions and priorities and use these to guide our services and wider influence with stakeholders and the community.  This insight will keep our strategy evolving and fit for purpose. 

We have signed up to a national Green Impact framework to guide and evidence our work and appointed senior and elected officer leads.  Green impact will allow us to develop our knowledge and understanding, leadership and strategy, partnership and policy, operations, campaigning and influence & outreach and collaboration.  We will submit our first assessment in May 2023. 

We are committed to implementing ISO14001 that will embed organisational wide commitment from all levels and functions to prevent and mitigate adverse environmental impacts and enhance beneficial environmental impacts.  This environmental management system will help us use a continual improvement model to systematically audit, set targets and monitor our progress in achieving our goal.  It is envisaged we will take 2 years to become accredited. 

We reaffirmed our commitment to partnership to achieve our shared objectives of fighting climate change and achieving climate justice.  We will continue to work with and influence our institution, other Students’ Unions, the wider charitable sector, and wider authorities.  

IPWSO serves as an umbrella body for national Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) organisations and supports people with PWS, their families, and the professionals who work with them around the world.

IPWSO does not have a formal environmental remit but accepts that we all have a responsibility in relation to the environmental crisis.  We are happy to endorse the ACEVO principles and:

  • Acknowledge the scale of the crisis, and that we can all do something to contribute to the solution;
  • Be ambitious in our pursuit of climate justice, both as leaders of individual organisations and as a collective voice for civil society;
  • Act wherever we can to create progress – however small our initial actions may be.

In late 2022 IPWSO applied to the London School of Economics Community Engagement Programme for student volunteers who would be willing to research the environmental impact of IPWSO’s work.  As part of their work, a team of LSE students led a consultation in early 2023 with IPWSO stakeholders from around the world seeking their feedback on how IPWSO could reduce its environmental impact.

Following consideration of the LSE students’ recommendations, the IPWSO Board committed in May 2023 to:

  1. Take environmental impact into consideration when allocating grants;
  2. Take environmental impact into consideration when selecting the fora at which IPWSO raises awareness of PWS;
  3. Various actions aimed at reducing the environmental impact of IPWSO’s triennial conferences;
  4. Seek a free and simple means of calculating IPWSO’s overall carbon emissions so that we can monitor and aim to reduce emissions over time.
  5. As a priority, review our digital emissions and seek means of achieving reductions;
  6. Comment on IPWSO’s environmental impact and actions to reduce emissions in future annual reports and on our website;
  7. Ask suppliers and service providers about their environmental policies where we feel this is appropriate;  
  8. Sign up to ACEVO’s Climate and Environmental Leadership Principles and utilise them as a framework to support our progress. 

June 2023

Sport 4 Life UK acknowledges the connection between the climate and other environmental crises, and therefore recognises its responsibility to reduce its carbon and environmental footprints and formally commits itself to being an environmentally responsible charity, both within the organisation and through the services it delivers.

Through the organisation’s ‘Sustainable Development and Environmental Policy’, Sport 4 Life UK will promote responsibility for the environment within the organisation, and communicate and implement this policy at all levels of the team. Key members of staff have the time necessary to embed this work into our operations and provide further resources where necessary.

To support and measure this work and commitment, Sport 4 Life UK has an internal ‘Net Zero Action Plan’ with key metrics, as well as a number of objectives within its wider Action Plan under one of its five key strategic pillars: ‘To make key contributions to our society and community’.

June 2023

  • Pilotlight has signed up to the NCVO forthcoming climate campaign, calling on action for the voluntary sector and is a member of the climate working group of the civil society group.
  • We have been working over the last 18 months to explore how our capacity building support could be extended from a poverty focus to one including action around a just transition. This included pilot projects (such as and running a survey in May/June 2023 on the support needs of climate and environmental charities and social enterprise, with 298 organisations responding.
  • We have run a net zero training session, led by our pilotlighter Suzanne Wise in June 2023 and are forming a green champions working group, which will include applying the ecologi zero emissions calculator (integrating with our xero accounting software)
  • We will integrate signposting for the charities we support to relevant frameworks for climate action, selected as of relevance to them, around
    • training
    • bespoke support or peer learning
    • emissions calculators
    • action planning
  • We have a pensions provider, nest, that gives the option for ethical investment and we will flag this to all staff. We also have investments from reserves in positive social investment, primarily for social impact, through bridges, the social venture capital enterprise.


The Veolia Environmental Trust is an environmental grant-maker providing funding for community projects that address the climate and biodiversity crises. Our aim is to accelerate community-led solutions to climate change whilst also using our voice and influence to bring about systems-level change.


One of our key strategic goals is to remove the structural barriers that have historically prevented disadvantaged and minoritised communities from accessing funding.



Our entire ethos is about empowering communities to take action on climate change, ensuring that the voices and priorities of communities are heard. Our funding bridges the gap between ‘environment’ and ‘community’, helping to fund projects that both meet community needs but also improve the local natural environment.


In our organisational communications, and through my personal social media accounts, we open up conversations about climate change, biodiversity and social justice, and encourage others to take positive action.



Myself and all the team at the Veolia Environmental Trust have successfully undertaken Carbon Literacy training and we have a robust plan for improving our own internal environmental performance, including reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. This has included practical steps such as reducing the number of days we attend the office, thus reducing our need for car travel, and ensuring we make ethical choices in our procurement of goods and services.


Climate Action is one of our six key strategic goals, and we have a robust set of organisational KPIs that measure our performance both as a grant-maker and a organisation. We report our performance to the Board every quarter and we ensure that every project we fund has a clear environmental benefit.

Last updated 01/11/23

Magic Breakfast acknowledges our role in tackling the climate crisis and has spoken about our journey publicly since the start of our journey. As CEO I am fortunate to work alongside a committed and passionate group of staff who form our Green Squad and who have championed progress. Our board of trustees and Senior Leadership Team have reflected the strategic imperative of environmental action through our strategic objectives and business plan goals.

We gave further insight to our understanding of accountability, ambition and action on Earth Day 2023 (Breakfast Goes Green | Magic Breakfast) when we also published our  environmental mission statement.

As we set out in our mission statement, we are committed to sharing our journey, progress, and learning publicly to support accountability and to contribute to the charity sector’s collective efforts and impact.

How to sign up

We would like everyone who signs up to provide information outlining the practical actions their organisation will take, which will be a useful resource for leaders starting their journey in this space. CEOs, chairs of trustees or senior leaders can make this pledge as long as you are able to send us a written commitment or action statement about your plans, which will appear here. 

This could consist of a statement outlining your commitments in each area – acknowledgement, ambition and action. It could link to any material already published on your own websites such as blogs or strategies; files (for example your organisation’s sustainability policy or action plan) in a format which you are happy to make public; or any other information you are able to share.

We will not add your name to the list until you have sent information to support initial accountability against the pledge, and also ensure that the pledge webpage gathers learning and ideas from all signatories.

Not an ACEVO member?

If you have any queries please email
or call 020 7014 4600.

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