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Supporting Scotland's vibrant voluntary sector

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations is the membership organisation for Scotland's charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. Charity registered in Scotland SC003558. Registered office Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh EH3 6BB.

SCVO Environmental Policy

SCVO is committed to improving its contribution to Scotland achieving its climate change goals and delivering the Environment Strategy

As an infrastructure organisation, we don't have vehicles or manufacturing processes to address, but through our properties and our actions as an organisation and as individual members of staff, we will make our best efforts to minimise our carbon footprint and promote environmental responsibility.

Our starting point must be to establish what our current footprint looks like. Compliance with the latest environmental legislation will be our minimum.

Our strategic objectives are to support, promote and develop a confident, sustainable voluntary sector in Scotland. Our approach to environmental matters should underpin those objectives and enable us to fulfil them better for the sector. As a champion for the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, we will model good practice.

What will we do

When we have established our baseline position and set our targets, we will continuously improve until all targets are met, and review them to take account of changing national and international goals. Our most significant environmental impacts come from travel and from our buildings. How we manage those will reflect the lessons we have learned from remote working during COVID restrictions and our review of the working arrangements we want to adopt. Environmental activity will complement staff wellbeing and organisational efficiency.

In partnership with relevant voluntary organisations such as Keep Scotland Beautiful and Zero Waste Scotland, we will deliver a learning programme to all staff and trustees so that we are all clear about our priorities, what change is required and the impact each of us has on the environment.

We will share our commitments and learning with our members, and the wider sector, and we will set high expectations of our suppliers, contractors and partner organisations.

We will set annual targets for key areas, and review progress every six months, reporting to the Strategic Resources Committee. The policy will be reviewed annually in line with our business plan.

We will communicate clearly and regularly with staff, funders and members, stating our objectives, the rationale and how we will achieve them.

Specific areas for action:

  • Travel
  • Recycling
  • Minimising waste
  • Efficient use of water and energy
  • Minimising use of solvents and any other material that is not biodegradable
  • Using materials from sustainable sources
  • Sustainable and environmentally responsible supply chain.

Our Commitments

We will:

  • Comply with environmental legislation and approved codes of practice.
  • Assess the environmental impact of all current and future activities.
  • Continually monitor and improve our environmental performance.
  • Reduce emissions, pollution and waste.
  • Reduce our use of raw materials, energy and supplies.
  • Raise awareness of environmental matters and encourage staff to play an active part in addressing them.
  • Support our members and customers to use products and services in an environmentally sensitive way.
  • Work with other organisations local to our buildings to maximise our collective efforts.
  • Promote discussions and action on environmental issues across the voluntary sector and provide tools, resources or other support to enable voluntary organisations to take action.
  • Communicate our environmental aims and objectives to staff, members and other stakeholders.

This policy should be read in conjunction with our Travel and Subsistence Policy, all staff wellbeing policies, procurement guidance and corporate partnerships policy.

Next Steps

To deliver this policy we will produce an implementation plan. The first elements will be:

  1. Establish baseline information on our current carbon footprint, use of energy and water.
  2. Identify specific areas for improvement, e.g., recycling or reducing waste.
  3. Review policies and approaches on business travel.
  4. Establish a staff working group spanning every department.