Stephen Cotterill: All charities need to do their part against climate change

10 Feb 2020 Voices

Green practices must be embedded in everything charities do, including fundraising.

The time of crisis is now. If Sir David Attenborough is saying it, then you know it must be true. In the face of overwhelming scientific evidence, youth activism and worsening ecological disasters, last year saw a marked swing in the public perception of what climate change is. Environmentally-focused charities may be leading the way in green practices, but all organisations must attempt to tackle the problem.

When commissioning the cover feature for this issue, my fear was that evidence of green practices in fundraising would be hard to come by outside of those organisations with remits related to the environment. Luckily, there are other examples and there is a shift in line with public opinion across the sector. This is essential not only because it reduces carbon emissions, but also for reputational risk. The charity sector needs to be seen to be leading on this to maintain support – especially from future generations.

For our part, this month we have introduced a compostable magazine wrap manufactured using biopolymers, which are a mix of starches, cellulose, vegetable oils and their combinations. It is fully compostable and does not contain any plastic. Please put it in your home composting waste bin if you have one. Furthermore, we only print on sustainably sourced paper, using alcohol-free printing processes and vegetable inks, and our printers are Chain of Custody certified.

We are also working towards reducing the carbon footprint of our events. To cut down on paper usage, we will not be providing delegate packs at our flagship Fundraising Live event this month. We will be serving a vegetarian lunch to reduce meat consumption and delegate badges will be made from recycled pulp which have living seeds added so they can be planted after use. These are small but significant efforts. They are also long overdue.

Hopefully by embedding green practices into everything we do, in a few years’ time the rampant consumption and frivolous waste of past decades will be looked on with fierce incredulity.


Civil Society Media’s next State of the Sector event takes place on 13 May 2020 and the focus is on the environment. Find out more here.


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