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Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

This website is adapted from Going Greener Together, used under creative commons licence CC-BY-NC and is run by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations. Find out more


Getting everyone aware, involved and accountable for taking better actions for our planet is one of the most important things we can do to drive change

It is important to think beyond only reducing your carbon emissions. You have a contribution to play where climate change intersects with your mission. For example if you are mental health organisation you might be providing support with eco-anxiety, or a food poverty organisation could focus on local sustainable produce.

Think about how you can engage your board, staff and the people who use your services in wider conversations about how they would like to see your projects and services develop to take climate and nature into account.

Useful links

If you’ve not already started a conversation at senior level, then the first step is to put climate change and the transition to net zero on the agenda for your next board meeting.  

Senior staff and trustees need to understand why this is an issue worth investing time and money in. Key questions to consider include: 

  • Should climate change and the transition to net zero be on your risk register. 
  • How it will impact your service users.  
  • How it will impact on the way you deliver your activities.  

If you are lucky enough to have significant savings and investments, you may also want to consider whether they are making a positive or negative contribution to climate change. 

Useful links 

We can find it hard to talk about climate change. It impacts people and communities in different ways, and we can be motivated to action for different reasons. 

A green team is a group of people from across the organisation that can help to collectively discuss and agree the changes you want to make in your organisation. They can make a huge difference to sustaining the momentum and enthusiasm for action. 

As well as helping to oversee actions carried out as part of the responsibilities of specific teams, a green team can organise fun and engaging peer learning opportunities. Some ideas to get you started:

  • share tips on energy saving measures people are taking at home 
  • organise an office book/ clothes/unwanted gifts swap shop
  • create monthly green challenges for employees and volunteers e.g. wear the same clothes week/ veggie or vegan no waste lunch/ no car day/week.

Useful links

Third Sector organisations have a unique space in Scottish society. We have deep links throughout our communities, and are able to respond flexibly and quickly.

The climate and nature emergencies need us all to take action to reduce our carbon emissions, but that is only a small part of the overall change required. Community led work is already helping people to re-imagine how they live, and to drive for a more sustainable future.

If your organisation is just starting to engage with your community on climate change, you might find it helpful to link up with networks and campaigning organisations with long experience in this area.

See our funding and support section for information on networks of place and practice that would love to hear from you and can share best practice.

Take steps to becoming more climate confident is likely to be important to your beneficiaries, donors and funders, so don’t be shy about telling people to help boost your reputation. Share what you’re doing on your website and social media channels. 

It’s good practice to make your environmental policy publicly available, and to talk about your progress in your annual reports. 

Share your actions with us to inspire others.

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