Climate Resilience Statement
Community Energy Plus – Climate Resilience
(As an alternative to an Environmental/Sustainability statement)
The formal charitable purposes of Community Energy Plus are:
The promotion of sustainable development for the benefit of the public by:
- The advancement of education of the public in the conservation and efficient use of the world’s resources, so as to further the protection of the world’s climate systems and to address the consequences of a rapidly changing climate.
- The conservation of the environment through the promotion of resource and energy efficiency and the utilisation of renewable energy resources.
- The conduct of research relating to sustainable development, practices and technologies.
- The relief of poverty and the preservation and protection of health, particularly, but not exclusively, through the promotion of resource efficiency in the use of energy, water, food, waste, transport and income maximisation.
As Cornwall’s energy advice charity, we specialise in energy issues, but this is rooted in wider concerns. Promoting sustainability thinking is at the heart of who we are and what we do; we recognise the growing societal threats and challenges of:
- A rapidly changing environment caused by disrupted climate systems, leading to extreme weather events and disasters
- Ecological breakdown from the catastrophic loss of biodiversity and natural ecosystems shock
- Resource depletion as consumption patterns in our communities exceed planetary capacities to replenish those resources.
Our vision is to work towards climate resilience, to help communities and households across Cornwall adapt to the challenges they are facing. This is underpinned by a commitment to achieve climate justice and a just transition for all, with no one left behind.
Our focus is on people as the agents of change to act now and tomorrow to transform systems for an equitable, low-carbon, resilient and sustainable future.
The three key actions that put the ambitions described above into effect, are to focus on the three pillars of mitigation (reduce and limit our own negative impacts); adaptation (ensure our activities, our financial situation, our staff and our clients are best prepared for future climate and ecological impacts); and advocacy (speaking out on behalf of clients, staff, and the sector we work in to catalyse change). In short we will:
|· EDUCATE||· FACILITATE||· TAKE ACTION|
This means that the Community Energy Plus team will:
1: Treat this as an emergency – any responses we make, require urgent and consistent focus on the key issues.
2: Actively assist households to make the switch to low carbon systems through providing information and sharing knowledge, practical experience, and solutions.
3: Identify those who will be made more vulnerable and left behind in the transition to a low carbon future. We work to ensure that all we do is inclusive and integrates people from all backgrounds and protected characteristics.
4: Work to grow the knowledge and skills base both in communities and within the retrofit and renewables installer supply chain.
We will collaborate, collaborate, collaborate, to join up the energy conversation with other aspects of the climate & nature emergencies.
Responsibility to deliver against this approach is shared by all our staff, volunteers and partners, at every level across our organisation, and everyone will be encouraged to recognise their potential contribution to the achievement of the aspirations set out above.
As an organisation we will mitigate our own behaviours, including, for example:
- Green procurement and supply chain management. In purchasing goods and services, we will take account of carbon and ecological impact criteria alongside price, quality, and delivery:
- wherever possible we will use local supplies and local produce.
- we will prioritise working with Cornwall and southwest-based companies to carry out installation works.
- Transport: we will take due regard of the fact that a significant potential impact upon the environment is through the transport emissions generated directly by our activity and will take action to minimise that impact, by:
- Exploring alternatives to travel – defaulting to video conferencing, email/phone whenever possible
- Encouraging Cycle/Walk to Work schemes
- Encouraging the use of public transport, Park & Ride and/or car share
Fuel poverty & carbon emissions
The biggest issue we face as an organisation is the conflict between fuel poverty and decarbonisation. It is a dilemma we are constantly grappling with; most fuel poor households, by definition, are already limiting their energy use and so they have constrained their carbon footprint. The energy and health inequalities they face mean that as we help these households to access affordable warmth, it will likely increase their emissions in the short term. Typically, these households cannot afford to make the necessary investment in low carbon technologies and so are those at most risk of being left behind in the transition to a low carbon future. Heat pumps, major insulation upgrades and electric cars and bikes are out of their reach without third party interventions.
With almost half of Cornwall’s homes not connected to the mains gas grid, many households we work with are reliant on carbon-intensive fuels (coal, heating oil and LPG), and given the poor quality and low thermal efficiency of much of Cornwall’s housing stock, the move to electric-based heating is not straightforward. We will continue to
- be an advocate for inclusive approaches to the low carbon transition
- provide advice and resources for all, to inform and encourage lasting decarbonisation
- make the case for interventions and targeted subsidies to ensure no-one is left behind.