While many pension providers are giving more options for their customers to invest ethically with them, some still invest their pension funds with fossil fuel companies.
As an employee, you should be aware of where your pension fund is being invested, and what control you have over this. As an employer, you could consider the environmental standing of different pension providers, and share this information with your staff so they can make an informed decision about how they control their pension.
You can take this further and think about what banks you use, and what they invest in.
One way to encourage good environmental practise across the sector is to make sure you check the environmental sustainability policies of your partners, providers, and suppliers. This could range from using a venue for an event, to when you partner with another charity on a major project, to when you receive funding from an organisation. This will help you make sure you're working with organisations who you can trust to protect both the environment and your reputation, and should be treated as part of due diligence.
If a partner you work with doesn't have a sustainability policy yet, encourage them to write one. You can find a template on our resources page. Make sure you share your own policy with your partners as well!
If your organisation provides retail services, and if you're posting products to people, consider the environmental impact of your products and packaging. There are now lots of alternatives to carbon intensive and environmentally harmful goods. Customers also now see environmentally-beneficial products as a selling-point in their own right, and some may avoid buying products without a guarantee of their eco-credentials.
Lots of schemes now offer to offset your carbon emissions through funding sustainability projects or protecting nature. However, these schemes can be flawed. This might be because their claims are exaggerated, or because they're too short-term to make a real difference. Offsetting should always be secondary to actually reducing emissions, and you should always research the claims made by offsetting companies.
You could also consider funding environmental projects closer to home, so that you're benefitting your local community. Some businesses are now even turning to the local voluntary sector, in order to provide the funding needed for environmental charities to sustain their work.
Organisations who provide funding for the VCSE sector are well-placed to lead the way in climate action. Foundations can have an incredibly positive environmental impact through not only funding green projects, but encouraging applicants to think about the environmental impact of their other projects. Foundations should also consider their investments carefully, as they could inadvertently fund climate-damaging practices.
If you're a VCSE based in the North East or Cumbria and you've done something about the climate crisis, please share your action with us. We'd love to share it on this website, to inspire others.Share your action →