Share

Environmental sustainability duty of all, says Commission

Environmental sustainability duty of all, says Commission
News

Environmental sustainability duty of all, says Commission

Finance | 30 Jan 2008

The Charity Commission will look kindly on charities striving to reduce their environmental impacts even if their objects are not environmental, a Commission legal adviser said last month.

Emma Knuckey told delegates at a Commission discussion event on charities’ environmental responsibility that while there were constraints on the degree to which charities could spend money pursuing environmental concerns within the current framework, there was more flexibility than many realised.

Q&A guidance 

The Charity Commission set up the event to explore how it could assist charities asking questions about how far they could tackle environmental responsibility issues at a time when donors, beneficiaries and staff were asking what organisations were doing. It hopes to issue question-and-answer guidance later this year.

Clare Thomas, chief grants officer at the City Bridge Trust, which has recently funded a programme of eco-audits by charities, called on the Charity Commission to update its Hallmarks of an Effective Charity publication to incorporate environmental issues, and suggested that the Sorp committee should consider the extent to which charities should report on it in their statutory accounts during its current review.

Sorp committee 'reluctant to impose burden' 

However, Nigel Davies, secretary to the Sorp committee, said the regulator’s current position was that it was reluctant to impose such a burden on a sector ill-prepared to carry it.

Mark Parker, head of development at Bassac, agreed that sustainable development was the responsibility of all charities, and said the challenge was getting trustee board to engage with the issues. “It needs to be integrated into what organisations do rather than separated off as an issue that becomes too big to deal with,” he said.

Mark Walton of Every Action Counts, a consortium of national voluntary organisations established to promote environmental responsibility, added that it was important to relate environmental actions back to a charity’s core mission. He said that while the financial incentive of short-term measures such as turning lights off at night were a good starting point, these were only quick wins and there would be a cost involved in charities taking things to the next stage.

Reputational risk 

Knuckey added: “There is increasing expectation for charities to look at this if they are to be seen as organisations upholding good values.”

She pointed out a new requirement on reputational risk under the Companies Act, which came into force earlier this month stating that directors of charitable companies must act in the way they “consider would be most likely to achieve the company’s purposes and in doing so must have regard to the impact of the company’s operations on the community and the environment”.

While this was not a statutory requirement for non-charitable companies, Knuckey said that “most charities in time will probably have to have some regard to this”.

Comments

[Cancel] | Reply to:

Close »

Community Standards

The civilsociety.co.uk community and comments board is intended as a platform for informed and civilised debate.

We hope to encourage a broad range of views, however, there are standards that we expect commentators to uphold. We reserve the right to delete or amend any comments that do not adhere to these standards.

We welcome:

  • Robust but respectful debate
  • Strongly held opinions
  • Intelligent relevant discussion
  • The sharing of relevant experiences
  • New participants

We will not publish:

  • Rude, threatening, offensive, obscene or abusive language, or links to such material
  • Links to commercial organisations or spam postings. The comments board is not an advertising platform
  • The posting of contact details for yourself or others
  • Comments intended for malicious purpose or mindless abuse
  • Comments purporting to be from another person or organisation under false pretences
  • Gratuitous criticism, commentary or self-promotion
  • Any material which breaches copyright or privacy laws, or could be considered libellous
  • The use of the comments board for the pursuit or extension of personal disputes

Be aware:

  • Views expressed on the comments board are left at users’ discretion and are in no way views held or supported by Civil Society Media
  • Comments left by others may not be accurate, do not rely on them as fact
  • You may be misunderstood - sarcasm and humour can easily be taken out of context, try to be clear

Please:

  • Enjoy the opportunity to express your opinion and respect the right of others to express theirs
  • Confine your remarks to issues rather than personalities

Together we can keep our community a polite, respectful and intelligent platform for discussion.

Free eNews

PTA-UK: Big Society Network chief was confident of funding

28 Jul 2014

PTA-UK has revealed that it turned down an invitation from Big Society Network to be a partner in its...

FRSB rejects complaint against the RSPB

25 Jul 2014

The Fundraising Standards Board has thrown out a complaint that the RSPB’s Abernethy Forest appeal made...

Culture, Media and Sport Committee launches inquiry into society lotteries

25 Jul 2014

The Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee has launched an inquiry into society lotteries that will...

Commission investigates charity over concerns it was used for private benefit

29 Jul 2014

The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into grant-giver the Catalyst Trust over concerns...

PTA-UK: Big Society Network chief was confident of funding

28 Jul 2014

PTA-UK has revealed that it turned down an invitation from Big Society Network to be a partner in its...

Big Society Network chair’s company gave £64k to Conservative Party

28 Jul 2014

A company owned by the chair of Big Society Network donated services totalling more than £54,000 to the...

Online donations forms are too long and cost charities donations, finds report

28 Jul 2014

One third of leading charity websites require potential donors to complete more than 20 actions before...

Greenpeace video removed from YouTube following copyright claim

14 Jul 2014

A campaign video by Greenpeace against Lego’s relationship with Shell has been subject to a copyright...

Oxfam advert removed after appearing before extremist videos

10 Jul 2014

Oxfam has removed one of its adverts from YouTube after it was shown on channels showing content from...

Join the discussion

 Twitter button

@CSFinance