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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Call for charities and social enterprises to do more to tackle climate change

 

A new survey has revealed the progress in organisations taking action to become carbon neutral

A new report is encouraging non-environmental charities and social enterprises to take action on climate change in the run up to COP26.

Social Enterprise Network Scotland (SenScot) and the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) have combined to create the Third Sector Net Zero report.  The study finds that while charities and social enterprises want to do more to tackle climate change, they are not yet taking action to do so. The majority are not measuring their carbon footprint, they don’t have environmental policies, and few are confident their energy is supplied by renewables.

The report also reveals that organisations need to get better at making the connection between social issues and environmental issues, with 66% of respondents putting social outcomes as their top priority and just under half saying the environment is either not important or only moderately important to their charitable purposes.

It’s clear that many organisations want to make changes but don’t know how to start and are worried it will be time consuming and difficult. The report highlights that 68% of organisations who do not measure their carbon footprint would like to, 54% believe the environment is very or extremely important and 65% are trying to reduce, reuse or recycle their waste.

Pauline Gordon, director of SENScot, said: “It’s clear from this report that Scotland’s third sector needs more support to start making changes to their operations to transition to net zero. Earlier this year, we launched the Social Enterprise Net Zero Strategy to provide a framework for SENScot and partners to support social enterprises to do more to tackle climate change and reduce their carbon footprint. Environment is a key motivator for many social enterprises, so we’re confident the sector will embrace the changes they need to make over the coming years.”

Anna Fowlie, Chief Executive of SCVO, said: “This timely report - just months before the big COP26 conference in Glasgow - shows how much work needs to be done across the voluntary sector to understand and address the climate emergency. I believe there is an opportunity for the voluntary sector to play an important role in enabling Scotland to achieve a just transition to net zero, ensuring that everyone benefits from a greener future and that the disproportionate impact on already disadvantaged groups are mitigated.  In the run up to COP26, SCVO will be running events and activities to share learning so we can all get to grips with this fundamental issue.”

SCVO has created a Top Tips for Starting Your Journey to Net Zero guide to coincide with the launch of this report.


Climate survey report key messages:

  1. Non-environment charities and social enterprises are struggling to find their way in their approach to climate change
    1. The majority of organisations are not measuring their carbon footprint – they consider it time consuming and difficult
    1. Only 28% have an environmental policy
    1. Only 18% were confident their energy was supplied by renewables
  2. Too few organisations are making the connection between social issues and environmental issues
  3. Just under 50% of organisations think the environment is not important to moderately important
  1. Organisations want to do more to tackle climate change but think it will be time consuming and difficult so it’s not an immediate priority, particularly in the face of existing pressures from Covid 
  2. The sector requires more support to make the transition to net zero. The Social Enterprise Net Zero Strategy group, SCVO and other are exploring next steps. If you would like to more information or to engage in that process contact susan.smith@scvo.scot or kim@senscot.net   
  3. Pressure from funders, trustees and the public would be the main driving forces for change in this area

You can read more in Pauline Hinchion's blog on the SCVO website.

 

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