Green Heart Collective Declares a Climate Emergency
“Who are you, a little social enterprise in a warehouse in an obscure street in Gateshead to declare a climate emergency? You’re not the United Nations, you know!”
And that sort of how we feel too. It feels so dramatic.
Any yet today Green Heart Collective is declaring a climate emergency. Our statement is simple:
Climate change is real and the action needed to combat it must start today. As a social enterprise, we have many positive impacts through what we do, but we have a negative impact on CO2 emissions and the use of the earth’s finite resources just by undertaking our day to day activities. From today, it will be a central priority of the business to become carbon neutral by 2025.
Is there even really a climate emergency?
Yes, we wholeheartedly believe that there is. Don’t just take our word for it. Check out this speech made by Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency at the Association of British Insurers’ Annual Conference on 23 February 2021 entitled Watching the wolf: Why the climate emergency threatens us all
“The climate emergency is the unseen pandemic, because left unchecked it will kill more people, and do much more harm, than Covid 19.” Sir James Bevan
It is not all doom and gloom, however. There is something we can do. Scientific evidence shows that if we can limit the average temperature rise of human-induced climate change to 1.5°C, then we have a chance of avoiding the most catastrophic predictions of mass migrations, mass starvations and resource wars.
But surely a little business in Gateshead cannot make any difference, can it?
We are not alone. We are joining a movement that is already committed to change. The United Nations Race to Zero initiative is a coalition of leading net zero initiatives and represents 708 cities, 24 regions, 2,360 businesses, 163 of the biggest investors, and 624 Higher Education Institutions.
Our local council in Gateshead declared a climate emergency in 2019 and has recently produced a report on how it's doing - good in parts but so much to do.
The UK Parliament declared a climate emergency on 1 May 2019 - although two years progress is limited.
That is a movement we are proud to be part of. We are under no illusions that what we do will be a drop in the ocean. Yet by joining a global movement, we are creating an imperative for larger institutions to change too. By being clear and taking action, we earn the right to challenge others to join us.
So what does this mean in practice from today?
- We will audit our operations and our impacts so we can publish information on the impact we have today
- We will make changes to our activities to reduce their impact to net zero by 2025
- Where activities cannot be made net zero we will capture double the CO2 we generate in tree planting and other natural and sustainable carbon capture initiatives
- We will advocate among those we work with to join this global movement for change
Isn’t this just a load of empty promises and hollow words?
No. This is about taking the first step and committing to take the subsequent steps as we complete the previous action. We want to create a business environment where the first question we ask is “How is your Climate Emergency Plan doing?” rather than the vanity discussion on turnover. We want to be a critical friend to those who are travelling this journey with us – our local council has declared a climate emergency and we want to challenge and encourage them to take confident and decisive steps in this area.
If you are interested in learning more or would be interested in a local business coalition committed to supporting those who have declared a climate emergency, then we would love to hear from you.