This website uses cookies for anonymised analytics and for account authentication. See our privacy and cookies policies for more information.


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.

You might not see the link between climate change and your charity, but your funders do

The climate emergency probably doesn’t feel important to you as a charity if you were set up to support young disabled people or those struggling with mental health issues or any other non-environmental purpose. There are so many pressing needs right now, and your staff team may know have the knowledge or interest to think about the envrionmental impact of your organisation.

But, what about the impact of the climate crisis on your service users? Have you considered that? Whether we like it or not, your funders are increasingly looking for reassurance that you've considered both the impact of your organisations on the environment, and the impact it may have on your operation and your service users.

Because adverse weather conditions, food shortages, more pandemics and onging economic uncertainty are the likely impact of climate change within our lifetimes.

The Scottish Government has set a target to cut greenhouse gas emissions significantly by 2030 and it’s sharing that responsibility with everyone it engages with. By next year charities and social enterprises providing services to the government will have to demonstrate some environmental action, and it’s very likely that those receiving government grants will have to too.

The growing list of independent funders to sign the Funders Commitment on Climate Change shows trust and foundation income will also be affected. Foundation Scotland recently released new guidance on “designing projects for people and planet”, including a list of considerations for grantees.

So, if you’re a charity that hasn’t given the climate crisis any thought yet, you need to think again. Take a look at SCVO’s How to Start Your Journey to Net Zero. It has hints and tips on things you can do from putting it on the agenda at your board meeting to creating an environmental policy.

SCVO is also partnering with Keep Scotland Beautiful and Paths For All to deliver free climate emergency training throughout 2022/23. There’s a course starting every month until the end of March 2023. You will learn why the climate crisis is relevant to your charity and start creating an action plan to take back to your organisation.

You’ll also end up with a Carbon Literacy Certificate from the Carbon Literacy Project. Anyone who works or volunteers for Scottish charity or social enterprise can sign up, and organisations can send a selection of people in a bid to embed carbon literacy across all departments.

No Scottish charity is operating in a bubble where the climate crisis doesn’t matter. A recent TFN story covered the link between pollution and dementia. Most service users have a lower adaptive capacity (the ability and resources to adjust to changes in the climate and weather) than others, so they are going to need your charity's help.

Last modified on 15 August 2022