Groundwork London is an environmental regeneration charity dedicated to enabling people and organisations to make changes in order to create better neighbourhoods, build skills and job prospects, and live and work in a greener way.
We build playscapes – for kids and kids-at-heart with much less plastic, much more fun. We make productive plots from vacant lots – growing vegetables, flowers and communities. We train unemployed people in gardening, energy and retrofitting jobs; we advise small businesses on environmental management and our Green Doctors conduct free energy checks in fuel-poor homes.
We also benefit from Marks & Spencer’s carrier bag charging scheme, that has reduced bag use by 80% and raised over £2 million to fund nearly 100 Greener Living Spaces projects.
Our projects are all about climate change, but what about our own operations? We’ve always been conscious of managing our environmental impacts; joining 10:10 was a good chance to size up the challenges ahead.
One challenge is that we’ve exhausted most quick-win measures. We courier things between our offices by hand. We share seven office bicycles. We cater local, deliveries arrive on foot and we return trays for re-use. We’ve unscrewed half the lights. We only use recycled paper, even in the loo. And our office printers always print double-sided, even when we don’t want them to.
Another challenge is the breadth of what we do. Our staff work across seven offices around London. Add to that the many themes of our work and a fluid pool of volunteers and project sites – it takes constant learning on everybody’s part to control our carbon footprint.
A final challenge is working on a charity budget. Most of our funding is restricted and tied to projects. Our offices are too small for Carbon Trust funding. Our landlords kindly keep the rent down – by keeping the improvement works down.
In sum, we’ve nabbed the low-hanging fruit, we’ve already got more pies than fingers and nobody will donate to our office insulation fund. So why commit to 10:10? Because we believe in it, and we believe in the value of trying within limited resources – it’s what we do all the time.
Over the coming weeks we'll be writing more blogs to explain how we tackle some aspects of carbon management.
(3) Helping others
None of it is perfect, the wish-list is long, but just like 10:10 we’re aiming high because there’s always a chance we’ll get there.