Management & leadership

Practical steps charities can take to being more sustainable

Amy Moore from Marie Curie lays down some practical steps for being more sustainable.

At Marie Curie, we want to protect the people we care for, our staff and volunteers from the effects of climate change. We want to enable our patients to enjoy nature in their last weeks and months of life and let them know we will do all within our role to help protect the planet for their loved ones after they are gone. 

Marie Curie has committed to be ‘net-zero’ across all operations by 2050, in line with the Governments UK targets. This means we will reduce our emissions as close to zero as possible by swapping to low-carbon solutions and capture the remaining emissions through accredited offsetting projects.  

The fundraising teams have made several sustainable swaps including FSC certified paper, moving to a carbon-balanced printer with processes offset by World Land Trust, reducing mailouts, reducing plastic items and packaging and removing the dates on literature and merchandise where possible so they stay current. 

The team improved how they forecast volumes for literature packs by analysing data from previous mailouts in a more targeted approach, sharing information to participants online rather than printed packs. It’s these small changes that can have a big impact on how Marie Curie operates in our world and hopefully inspires others to do the same. 

Our ambition has evolved from ensuring we meet regulation to embedding sustainability across all our operations. This is an ongoing process led by Marie Curie’s Sustainability Manager Amy Moore and the organisation’s Environment & Sustainability Steering Group. The group progress our Carbon Management Plan which contains an evolving list of actions to decarbonise all areas of the organisation.  

Some of the steps we’ve included in our Carbon Management Plan and recommend are: 

  • Streamline your energy, water and travel data into a central location – an IT dashboard if you can or an Excel file. You’ll need the data to report your emissions, but also it will help you to identify priorities.  
  • If you have an internal comms platform or Microsoft Teams, set up a green group so staff can start the conversation, be it tips for at home or things they would like to see in the workplace.  
  • Provide posters/screensaver graphics to remind staff on how to save energy, things like unplugging your devices once charged, only using two screens if you really need to, putting less water in the kettle, turning the lights off when you leave, and printing less.  
  • Ensure your pension provider offers an Ethical/ESG pot that your staff can choose to opt for.  
  • Ask your suppliers what adaptations they can do to make your products or packaging more environmentally friendly. Working with your suppliers lets them know there is demand for low carbon alternatives and means they’ll focus on it.   

To find out more about Marie Curie’s plans to decarbonise, visit their website or email Amy here.

Want to learn how your charity can be more sustainable? Join us at our new Going Green conference on Wednesday 8 March.

Learn more and register here.