Climate change is a priority issue for Christian Aid. As one of the first major development charities to take a strong stand on the issue, we believe that if we are to speak with any credibility and encourage others to reduce their own carbon footprint, we must lead by example, and have therefore been reporting our own in-house operational greenhouse gas emissions since 2005/06.
In 2009/10 this review was suspended due to competing resource pressures, but in 2010/11 we undertook carbon footprint studies for both the 2009/10 and 2010/11 financial years.
Following the dramatic fall in Christian Aid’s carbon footprint in 2009/10 – the footprint has bounced back slightly, particularly with regard to flights booked from our country offices.
However, the recovery in flight distances and, to a lesser extent, overseas vehicle use, has been largely offset by a 14 per cent fall in paper use, resulting in only a three per cent overall footprint increase.
It should also be noted that Christian Aid purchases a large proportion of its electricity from renewable sources, but in compliance with DEFRA standards, this is not included in the figures above. If the use of renewable electricity is taken into account, the total carbon footprint is in fact around 10 per cent lower than stated in this report.
While the international nature of our work limits the extent to which we are able to reduce our carbon footprint, we are committed to making reductions, without compromising our essential work.
In 2005/06, Christian Aid set a target to reduce our carbon footprint by five per cent per annum, and to achieve an 80 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. While this target has not consistently been met, we have achieved an overall reduction of almost 25 per cent against our 2005/06 baseline.
Having set up the Poverty and Environment Action Team in Christian Aid we have realised the benefits to our carbon footprint in recent years: from a shift to renewable electricity, reduced travel and more virtual meetings and from a sizeable shift to recycled paper procurement and reductions in print volume as more work is presented digitally.
Our plan for carbon management into the future sets objectives over three time frames. The short term is related to annual budget planning. The aspects and activities that are controllable within this timeframe relate to staff behaviour in relation to paper use, energy use and travel.
The medium term focuses on Christian Aid’s corporate strategies and how we can achieve our corporate objectives in an environmentally sustainable way.
In other words how we fundraise and communicate externally, how we mobilise supporters and how we work with partners in more carbon-efficient ways. Our longer-term objectives aim to ensure full use of carbon-efficient technology as it develops in the future.
Our comparative carbon footprint
(C02 equivalent in tonnes)
Read the full report
Please refer to pages 43-44 of our Christian Aid annual report 2010/11 (4.7mb)