Dorothy House’s purpose is to fulfil its charitable objectives and there is a growing understanding that making environmental and sustainability changes to the way we work will help us to achieve these.
The moral imperative for universal action on the climate and ecological crises is unequivocal. Antonio Gueterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, describes it as “code red” for humanity and has said “It’s now clear we are coming to a point of no return.”
The Chartered Institute of Fundraising is also very clear about the need for charities to act: “The climate emergency poses a risk to the communities that charities serve, which means that as a sector we all have a role to play in lessening its effects and minimising our environmental impact. The public have an expectation of charities to fulfil social good, so we need to think about how our choices can help us meet those expectations and, in many cases, further our charitable missions.”
So, there is growing pressure on charities to demonstrate that they are making a positive impact on society more generally. Sustainability and environmental considerations are increasingly important to all our stakeholders; NHS commissioners and funders, staff and volunteers, supporters and patients, and ultimately could create a barrier to our care if not addressed: People who live sustainably will want to die sustainably.
Last autumn, a group of staff members took up this call to action and created the Green Team – a Dorothy House working group established to develop policy and best practice, and who also champion / communicate environmental change internally. Driven to think innovatively, the group meets monthly, considers and proposes how we can work in a more sustainable way across 8 key areas of the organisation: Energy, Waste, Transport, Water, Estate, Procurement, Investments and Information Management.
A coalition of the willing, our aim is to have a representative from each Dorothy House department who brings passion and energy, and acts as an influencer for change within the Hospice.
An increasing priority on our senior leaders’ agenda, Green Team proposals are submitted to the Executive Team and Board of Trustees for review and approval. We are making tangible progress, as “greener” practice has already been achieved in several significant areas including pensions and investments. Future plans include: exploring greener travel options, wider recycling opportunities for the whole organisation and embedding a culture of green-thinking!
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