Supporting the North East’s VCSE sector towards Net Zero


Charity Digital released a report in December which explained why charities aren’t committing to Net Zero. In this blog I’ll go through each of the challenge areas and explain how the Going Green Together Campaign is here to help!

Difficulty understanding the practical changes that can be made

It can be difficult to know where to begin when you’re taking climate action because there’s so much information out there. Take a look at the Going Green Together website to find some example actions you could take and actions that other organisations have taken. You could also come along to one of our peer support sessions and talk through ideas with other organisations.

The cost of changes

We might not be able to tell you the cost of any changes you plan to make but we’re building a support network which will be able to help. You could see if any organisations have shared relevant actions and get in touch with them to discuss the process they went through. You could also come to the peer support session and see if anyone there has any recommendations or information. If you have any queries we’ll try our best to help. Many changes can be made with low or no costs, just by encouraging behaviour change and other costs such as switching to LED lighting might have an initial cost, but are also an investment as they will save you money in the longer-term as well as reducing emissions.

Linking net zero to charitable objectives

One thing we’ve realised is that the environment links to everything. If your organisation supports beneficiaries who are some of the most vulnerable people in society, they will be the most disproportionately impacted by the effects of climate change. Whilst climate action may not be a key priority, there are ways that it will link into priorities and that’s a great place to get started and embed it into your practice.

Communicating need for net zero strategy to stakeholders

We’re in the process of developing toolkits to help you have conversations around climate action. The main way to communicate the need is to make links between the needs of your beneficiaries and make it relevant to climate action. They may have competing priorities so climate action isn’t at the forefront of their mind. If you can have a conversation about what it is important to them and then link it to climate action you can tackle them both. Your beneficiaries may be in fuel poverty, may have transport issues or interested in improving their local environment, reducing food waste or growing their own food — working with them on these (and other areas) areas will benefit them, our places and the planet!

In terms of funders, come along to our peer support sessions and have a conversation with us. VONNE runs the North East and Cumbria Funders Network so we can feed relevant information into those meetings. There is an increasing appetite from funders to support organisations wishing to take climate action and develop projects with their people and communities as part of their response to the climate emergency.

Lack of best practice examples and case studies

So far we’ve got actions that on the Going Green Together website that organisations have shared. Take a look and see if you think you could copy any of them. Anne Webster from MEA House has written a blog on what she’s managed to achieve through the eco-council. Going forward, we’re encouraging more organisations to share blogs to talk about what they’ve done.

Next steps

Head to the Going Green Together website to learn about the climate crisis and find examples of actions you could take. Whilst you’re there sign up to our mailing list and Meet Up group so that you will be kept informed of news, events and other opportunities from Going Green Together.

Read the Charity Digital blog, it has some great examples of ways you can take action.

Come along to our peer support sessions to give yourself an hour each month to collaborate with other organisations and focus on taking climate action.