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Community Foundation sign Funder Commitment on Climate Change

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.  

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
  • Page on website for climate commitments and actions
  • More webinars/stories to share ideas and inspiration
  • Convene seminar/webinar on our responsible investment project
2. Commit resources
  • Environmental grants including from Local Environmental Action Fund (LEAF)
  • £10k seed funding Nov 2019 for NE Climate Change Coalition and provided time pro bono
  • Membership of Charities Responsible Investment Network
  • Attending Going Green Together network
  • Consider requests to support environmental audits
  • Look at ways to further support and promote the Going Green Together initiative
3. Integrate within existing programmes, priorities and processes
  • Added climate change priority alongside poverty and inequality (March 22)
  • Included question in 2022 grant applicant survey about organisations’ approach to reducing carbon footprint
  • Vital Signs environment theme
  • Consider environment themed Good to Give Guide
  • Look at whether/how to include environment/carbon-reduction issues in grant application/assessment – priority being building-related grants and vehicles
  • Provide signposting for applicants to sources of help around environmental issues
  • Look at ways to link to Better Health at Work
4. Steward investments for a post-carbon future
  • Approved new investment policy with commitments around climate and moving towards a carbon-neutral portfolio
  • Look at how we monitor and report against ESG and carbon-neutral progress
5. Decarbonise operations
  • LED lighting, reduced paper consumption, majority vegetarian catering, bee-friendly planting in office grounds etc.
  • Completed retrofit review of Philanthropy House
  • Trialling hybrid working
  • Address recommendations of the retrofit review