Last year, as we completed our 2021-2026 Business Plan, we wanted to review every aspect of the charity’s activity in the context of the climate emergency. But the more research we did, the more complicated it became. Every toolkit seemed to be pages and pages long and the multitude of regional, national and international networks impossible to keep up with.
Some of the team had attended an event called the Business Case for Sustainability run by Tevi back in December 2019. They heard from Mark Roberts at Conscious Creatives and his approach had struck a chord. Working for a values-led charity, they liked his focus on organisational values and how to align these interactions with global sustainability best practice. We decided to get in touch. We took advice from Mark at key points in the process of reviewing our business plan.
1. We started with our values and purpose. We looked at our strengths and our assets. We reflected on the needs of our stakeholders and considered sustainability in the context of all of these things, so that our commitment to positive outcomes for people and planet would feel totally aligned with our core work.
2. We looked for a framework that would help us to be part of a broader movement, we used the UN Global Goals to provide the structure for our new business plan. We identified which of the goals most closely aligned with our values, purpose and strengths and identified 10 of the 17 which we would focus on (possibly too many – we’ll review this over the next 12 months to see if a tighter focus on fewer goals would be more impactful).
3. We completed an audit using the B Impact Assessment tool. We used this tool because we wanted to look at more than just our carbon footprint – we wanted to understand our impact on our employees, community, environment and network. Although it’s designed for the private sector, as a charity we were still able to draw some useful conclusions from it.
4. With help from Conscious Creatives we captured baseline data on our existing carbon footprint.
5. Using the results of the B Impact Assessment and the carbon footprint baseline we were able to establish annual sustainability targets, now part of our business plan and tracked by our board at every board meeting.
6.We connected with the Carbon Neutral team at Cornwall Council, who presented their action plan to the whole team and have continued to advise and support us.
7. We consulted with our stakeholders to understand their needs and what they already valued about us. This helped us to develop a plan with their needs in mind. Aligning with our stakeholders needs will help us maximise our impact.
8. We looked at our theory of change and what makes us special. This led us to focus on the opportunities to make positive change within the core activities we already offer.
9. We are reviewing our Procurement Policy to ensure the products and services we buy are sourced and managed with sustainability principles in mind. We’re excited about the growing B Local community in Cornwall and what this means for our ability to work with liked minded companies.
10. And all team members are in the process of completing their individual objectives to ensure that sustainability is part of every role.
We’re not doing everything all at once. We are on path to be carbon zero by 2030 and we still have plenty to learn. But it feels good to have developed an approach that fits.
If you work for a charity or cultural organization, we’d love to learn about your approach too.
– Emmie Kell, CMP CEO
Emmie works Monday to Friday and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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