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Climate Change

Read about our response to the growing climate emergency.

Responding to the climate emergency

The Community Foundation recognises the growing climate emergency and our responsibility to support the global effort to transition to a low-carbon economy. Climate change affects us all. It’s not only an environmental issue; it’s about society and the economy, because it impacts most on poorer and vulnerable people. It’s also a local issue, because it’s in our own communities that we’ll experience climate change, but also where people and organisations can take action to address it.  


As an endowed foundation, one of the biggest impacts we have is through our investments. The Board has adopted a responsible investment policy through which we seek to align with the United Nations Paris Agreement and commit to our portfolio being net zero by 2050 at the latest. Ideally, we wish to see credible early progress by supporting at least a 45% emissions reduction by 2030.  

Reducing our carbon footprint

We also aim to address the carbon footprint of our operations, including transport and energy use, by ensuring our building is as ‘green’ as possible and reducing our waste production through reuse, recycling and disposal initiatives. We procure environmentally and socially responsible goods and services and use quality local suppliers and services where possible. And we support biodiversity through planting in the landscaped area outside our building.  We recognise we have a wider role to encourage others to take climate action, notably through the funding and support we provide to local charities and community organisations.  

In 2022, we became one of around 100 charitable trusts and foundations signing up to the UK’s Funder Commitment on Climate Change. Below we explain the commitments we’ve made, some of the actions we’ve taken, and those we’re planning.

Commitment Action taken Further action
1. Educate and learn
  • Staff training held on climate change Jan 22
  • Webinar for donors Jan 22
  • Webinar on green premises with Ethical Property Foundation
  • Promotion of environmental grant stories
  • Staff attendance at EFCI climate conference Sept 2023
  • Featured in ACF/Cazenove report on climate neutral investments
  • UKCF webinar on climate neutral investments
  • More webinars/stories to share ideas and inspiration
  • Community conversations in autumn 2024 to follow Vital Signs report on environment/climate and to inform our response
2. Commit resources
  • Consider requests to support environmental audits
  • Expansion of scale/reach of Local Environmental Action Fund
3. Integrate within existing programmes, priorities and processes
  • Added climate change priority alongside poverty and inequality (March 22)
  • Gathered data in 2022 grant applicant survey about organisations’ approach to reducing carbon footprint
  • Vital Signs environment theme
  • Research underway for Vital Signs 2024 on environment issues
  • Develop strategy and priorities to address issues from Vital Signs North East: Environment report in 2024
4. Steward investments for a post-carbon future
  • Approved new investment policy with commitments around climate and moving towards a carbon-neutral portfolio
  • Appointed new investment service providers and transitioned investments to them in line with policy – developed internal reporting
  • Reporting against ESG and carbon-neutral progress publicly in autumn 2024
5. Decarbonise operations
  • LED lighting, reduced paper consumption, majority vegetarian catering, bee-friendly planting in office grounds etc.
  • Completed retrofit review of Philanthropy House and further report from local authority consultant on energy efficiency measures
  • Hybrid working policy in place
  • Address recommendations of the premises reports including securing internal and external resources for energy measures