Climate Change and Carbon Reduction; a local approach to global issues
How to take local actions that are both affordable and effective at reducing carbon emissions and mitigating climate change has been a problem the Trust has grappled with for a while. More recently we seem to be making some headway towards clear goals and actions that make a difference.
We have made a Trust wide commitment that our organisation will be a net zero carbon emitter by 2030. The “Let's Go Zero” campaign has helped and all our schools are registered to the campaign. Our Board has agreed on and monitors a strategy.
We have appointed an enthusiastic and knowledgeable leader of our climate response, Paul Carvin. This video has helped Paul engage with staff, students, volunteers and parents across our Trust.
We have developed our communications by creating a climate site which is regularly updated with important content. Key messages are shared on the school websites and social media to encourage our communities to take their own actions and to support our schools’ actions. It is clear to us that we have a responsibility to engage with others and help them understand how they can take action to be part of the global change required to deliver a sustainable planet to the next generation.
We have released the enthusiasm of our young people via their student councils. Every school now has climate projects that are led by our young people. Their passion - to ensure their future is one that includes a sustainable planet - is a key strength of the Trust response to the climate crisis.
We have reviewed the curriculum in every school and ensured that climate change is covered in every year group and every subject; as with many things the more we understand a problem the better we can manage the problem and manage our anxieties linked to the problem.
We have reviewed our energy supplies and now have 100% renewable electricity. We are about to audit our estates and engage expert advice to recommend projects that will help us reduce carbon footprints such as solar panels, updated heating controls and LED lighting installations. All funded from the savings the projects generate and funding applications to various climate friendly organisations.
We have agreed a set of procurement standards which include a requirement that organisations that do business with us have a carbon reduction plan and that they provide proposals that reduce their carbon footprint. We also ask them to apply their social responsibility by supporting our student projects.
Specifications for our building projects must include carbon reduction criteria and we are very proud that our newest building received a zero carbon award. We have added electric vehicle charging points in most schools and will continue to do this. All of our schools are committed to planting more trees on their sites each year.
There is still so much more we aim to do, including:
Improving how much waste we produce and how we recycle
Improving the amount of packaging in our catering supplies
Ensuring school journeys by staff and students become more sustainable
Creating biodiverse environments in our school estates to protect local species from habitat erosion
Reducing our gas use and eventually replacing it with new technology solutions for heating
Creating more sustainable menu choices in our school dining halls
Reducing our water use and waste
However, we are now confident on what the starting point is, what actions we need to take, what is working and where there is further effort needed. Will we reach net zero by 2030? We think so! We’d like others to join in and make a difference. Integrity is a Trust value and we want to be able to tell the next generation that we did our best to fix the problems our generation created.