Successful initiative from Every Action Counts now goes wider

In June 2007, the Every Action Counts Consortium launched the Third Sector Declaration on Climate Change, an initiative led by Capacity Global. The Declaration identified Third Sector organisations as primary influencers in people’s lives, and called on them to rally round and to pledge themselves to implementing real, measurable change in their own environmental practice. The Educational Centres Association, a Consortium member, was present at this event and an early signatory to the Declaration.

On Monday June 15th at the Royal Society of the Arts in London, Every Action Counts and Capacity Global will re-launch the Declaration and release a review report on the Third Sector Declaration on Climate Change’s success so far.

The event coincides with the first meeting of a cross-departmental Ministerial Task Force which brings together ministers from the Department for Energy and Climate Change, the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs, the Office for the Third Sector and the Department for Communities and Local Government. Ministers will speak at the launch and then attend the Task Force meeting afterwards.

They’ll be joining with representatives from Third Sector organisations including the British Red Cross, Green Alliance, bassac, Capacity Global, ACRE, and the National Children’s Bureau. Together, they’ll be building on critical understandings emerging from early take up on the Declaration and on the work of Every Action Counts to expand and develop opportunities and practice in this crucial area.

The report into the success of the Third Sector Declaration on Climate Change (based on a survey of almost a quarter of the 200 organisations so far signed up) provides encouraging results.

Most were small to medium sized groups, the majority unfunded, and most did not identify themselves as environmental groups. The opportunity to take organisational action to protect the environment and to tackle climate change and social justice were the main reasons for their participation in the initiative. Over half those surveyed had already undertaken practical action and made that action public, and 42% had plans in place to generate annual reviews of their actions. 83% intended to carry through on all or some of their Declaration commitments, with funding and resourcing seen as primary barriers which needed to be addressed.

The report provides useful food for thought for the Ministerial Task Force. Early steps are being taken to act on the survey’s findings, with information, and practical advice on how to plan and implement change (developed by Every Action Counts) being gathered into a new web resource. As for longer term funding to support further progress – well, it’s a recurrent problem in the sector, but as the need for action on climate change grows ever more pressing, lobbying for proper funding will doubtless grow more intense, and will no doubt be a key issue for the Task Force to address.

Mark Walton of the Community Development Foundation says: “The Third Sector Declaration on Climate Change is a significant legacy from the Every Action Counts programme and I welcome the renewed commitment of Ministers to support its use a tool to raise awareness and support action by Third Sector organisations on this critical issue”.

Maria Adebowale, Director of Capacity Global and co author of the report says: Climate change is not only a ‘green issue’. It has massive social and economic impacts for the most vulnerable in society. The Declaration and report show that Third Sector organisations recognise they are crucial to creating a social movement to tackle climate change and ensure the poorest don’t pay the price. Most importantly there is an appetite, from unfunded community group to large funded charities to take action on climate change.

Ultimately, the lesson from this whole initiative is clear. Never underestimate the power and influence of the Third Sector, and never underestimate how small changes can make a big impact. It’s a does-what-it-says-on-the-tin thing: Every Action Counts.

Date Added: June 11th 2009