“Climate change has not stopped for COVID19” – the damning statement made by the UN at the height of the pandemic in 2020. The pandemic forced the world into a new, remote only world full of Zoom meetings and virtual hang out’s but there is still more to be done. We reached out to our clients to see what they are doing to make the grant making world more environmentally friendly and here are 4 easy to implement initiatives that they have highlighted.
1. Minimise Travel (or pay it back!)
We know this isn’t always possible. Tracking impact and building relationships is crucial to some if not most grant giving organisations so our top tip if you can’t reduce travel? Pay it back. Tree planting organisations enable you to at least carbon off-set your fuel and travel expenses.
Organisations like the International Civil Aviation Organisation can calculate exactly how much carbon dioxide you use when you use air travel so that you know exactly how many tree’s you have to plant to offset this usage.
Planting trees won’t solve climate change on its own but due to a trees ability to absorb carbon as it grows, this action has the ability to go a long way to combatting global warming. Organisations like the Woodland Trust, Trees for Cities and Just One Tree provide individuals and organisations with the opportunity to plant tree’s together in the UK with the shared mission to care for tree’s and the planet’s future.
You can also encourage staff to cycle to work by supporting Bike Schemes and loans. Some workplaces even offer mileage reimbursements for cycling or to take public transport.
2. Sustainable Payments
The Gulf of Mexico oil spill in early 2010 was an environmental catastrophe of huge proportions. It raised a lot of questions around the planets use of fossil fuels and how we invest in energy in the future.
Organisations like Amazon Watch highlighted the need for research into where your bank invests it’s money and to avoid those that invest it in fossil fuels (Amazon Watch, 2021 Report).
The report was commissioned after an August 2020 investigation revealed that European banks financed the trade of 155 million barrels of Amazon oil from the headwaters region of Ecuador and Peru to refineries in the U.S. for a total of $10 billion. (Amazon Watch, 2021).
How does this effect grant-making? Payments are made to successful applicants once they are awarded a grant and those payments have to come from an organisations bank of choice. The action here is simple; conduct research into how the bank you choose invests its money and make your choice of bank based on values that align with your own organisation.
3. Virtual Meetings
An environmental win to come out of the pandemic was the shift to virtual meetings and remote working. The world was forced to adapt their modus operandi and conduct business virtually, which was considered unfathomable until our hand was forced. For example, it was almost unheard of for a committee to consider which grant applications to recommend for funding in a remote setting. Some of our clients transitioned from generating large, paper-based committee packs for their board/trustee’s to holding meetings virtually and reviewing applications and committee packs online almost overnight. It was a learning curve but before the pandemic it wouldn’t have happened – the world needed to change.
Flexi-Grant’s Committee and Board meeting portal enables grant givers to do everything online from generating review packs to scheduling and recording meeting results.
“Flexi-Grant’s portals helped us launch our new Westfield East Bank Creative Futures Fund grant scheme during the pandemic, ensuring we could use resources effectively to administer to a wide range of demographics of East London including those whose first language is not English.”
Ashton Mullins, Grants and Programmes Manager, Foundation for Future London
4. Review Your Digital Space
Did you know that you can also carbon off-set your website as well? Believe it or not, the data that travels from data centres across the world to your devices can be reduced. When this happens it has a knock-on effect; the reduction of travelling data means the reduction on the data centres that hold this data.
Images are one of the biggest sources of carbon emissions in the digital world. You would be surprised at how much tools like TinyPNG can minimise the bytes it takes to download your images and shrink your images whilst still maintaining their quality. Shrinking images to shave vital seconds on download times also means those vital few seconds it takes users to be impressed with your website is closer to work towards. Hubspot says it should take a website no longer than 5 seconds to load; minimising images therefore goes a long way to reducing your organisation’s digital carbon footprint.
Check out the Website Carbon tool which uses algorithms to measure your website’s carbon emissions.
The Foundation for Future London is looking at the energy and efficiency of its website through an energy appraisal from Groundlake. Some of their quick win recommendations included installing a carbon calculator to automatically track page usage to recommend carbon offsets and using WEBP format though a WordPress plugin for image conversions. The Foundation are also developing digital platforms for publishing reports such as its annual review, rather than print versions.
Pledges such as the Association of Charitable Funders’ Funder Commitment on Climate Change enables UK charitable foundations to come together in solidarity to share and report on good practice in the fight against climate change. There are also pledges that tackle more specific causes at a national level like the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s Zero Carbon London, which has set a target for London to be net zero carbon by 2030. At an International level, the United Nation’s 2030 agenda for sustainable development looks at the bigger picture around people, communities, environment, education, work, culture and how funders dedicate their resources to contributing to sustainable zero carbon goals through its funding.
While these might seem like minor changes, the accumulative effect these can have if everyone participates is high. There are 7.7 billion in the world all creating an enormous carbon footprint with their addictive use of the internet and digital platforms. Companies and groups must lead the way in creating more awareness on how we can reduce and stop climate change.
Flexi-Grant® is a leading cloud-based grant management platform designed for those funding life changing grants to both individuals and organisations. Its powerful features give grant givers the ability to build, score, review, report, and budget all in a secure and accessible platform.
Our team are a mix of grant managers, cybersecurity experts and hardcore engineers with a passion for sustainable software; get in touch now to find out more about Flexi-Grant’s truly cloud-based Grant Management platform.