About our strategy
Our mission is to safeguard the natural world and create a future where people and nature thrive. The work we do to achieve this mission also has an impact on the environment. So it's crucial to us that we work in the least impactful way possible.
Our responsibility does not end with influencing the key decisions of others to safeguard the natural world; we must also play our part, reducing our own impacts and inspiring others to do the same.
We'll always be working to improve our own environmental performance, but we've come a long way since our first environmental policy was launched in 1989.
Since 2002 we've published our performance in separate environmental reports. In 2008 we became certified to the standard for environmental management called ISO 14001. Most recently, we moved our head office to a bespoke designed building - The Living Planet Centre - which was awarded a top rating of 'Outstanding' by BREEAM; an internationally recognised environmental assessment for buildings.
Business travel produces our most significant environmental impact. Around 75% of our travel emissions are from air travel, making this a high priority for us to manage.
As an international organisation, reducing our flight emissions to zero is not a realistic option. Instead we’ve worked hard to monitor and manage them since 2000, so that we only take essential flights.
We have a sustainable travel policy to help us minimise our impact. The first priority is to challenge the need to travel; could a video or phone conference be used instead?
If not, we must travel using the most sustainable means practical. We must use public transport for travel in the UK wherever available and practical. We prohibit certain flights and expect staff to use alternative transport whenever possible. We travel in economy, unless a health and safety issue prevents this.
We allocate our teams a 'carbon budget' for air travel every year. This means we have to prioritise travel and only make the most important journeys. Flights are booked by 'travel specialists' who receive extra training on our travel policy and carbon budget process.
We promote sustainable commuting by providing cycling facilities, loans for rail and bus season tickets and a platform for finding people to car share with. Moving our HQ to the Living Planet Centre increased train commuting from 21% to 56%. There's no free car parking at any of our sites.
From 2010-2013, our average carbon emissions from business travel were just below 500 tonnes per year. Our 2013-2018 strategy focusses on providing more support to our programmes in the global South and East. Despite this, in 2013 we set our annual carbon budget at 465 tonnes - 365 for air travel and 100 for road and rail. We're aiming to keep our emissions within this limit up to 2018.
Powering our offices and electrical equipment uses uses energy. We’re committed to running our buildings as efficiently as possible; ensuring we minimise our energy use without negatively affecting our operations.
We monitor our energy consumption and assess factors like weather and staff occupancy to check our usage is normal. Our smaller offices in Scotland and Cardiff buy electricity from renewable energy suppliers. We participate in meetings with other tenants, to share knowledge and ideas about how to make our operations more environmentally friendly.
At the Living Planet Centre there are 410 solar panels which provide us with about 15% of our energy needs. The rest of our electricity comes from a local combined heat and power network; a more efficient and lower carbon source of electricity than the national grid. Any electricity our solar panels produce which we can't use is fed back into this network.
Instead of sourcing heat externally and using air conditioning, we have a more energy efficient ground source heat pump for heating and cooling. We also use some natural ventilation during warmer months by opening windows and doors. The Living Planet Centre produces nearly 25% less CO2 per square meter than our previous HQ.
We have features in our offices to help reduce energy use, such as on-demand hot water boilers, LED lighting and motion-sensitive lighting. Our environmental procurement guidelines include information on electrical equipment, so we can ensure we choose efficient devices.
Most of our electricity is used to heat and cool our head office. Our building uses both mechanical cooling and natural ventilation, so we're pleased that our energy use falls between the Better Building Partnership good practice benchmarks for naturally ventilated and air conditioned buildings.
Since moving in, we’ve been adjusting to the new technology and working to optimise the building temperature. We set a new baseline for total electricity consumption in 2016. Our target is to maintain or reduce this amount in our next reporting year, ending June 2018.
We dispose of waste from all of our offices. We have a responsibility to manage our waste in the most sustainable way possible, in line with our mission to reduce pollution and wasteful consumption.
We’re mindful of the 3 Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle. We encourage staff to reduce consumption of materials as a first priority, to avoid generating waste. Then we aim to reuse materials wherever possible. When things must be thrown away, we recycle as much as possible.
There are clearly labelled waste and recycling bins at all our offices. At the Living Planet Centre we can choose how our waste is disposed of. Our general waste is used to produce energy from incineration rather than going to landfill. Our food waste is used to produce fertiliser for crops and energy for homes and businesses.
Waste arrangements at our other offices are managed by the building management companies, and we try to positively influence the way waste is managed. For example, we advocated for separate food waste collections at our offices in Edinburgh and Cardiff, which is now a reality in both offices.
According to Wrap, offices with effective recycling for paper, card, cans, glass and printer cartridges can recycle 60-70% of their waste, and produce less than 200kg of waste per person per year. The Better Building Partnership good practice benchmark for recycling, re-use and composting in offices is 52%.
In the 12 months to June 2016, we produced less than 80kg of waste per staff member at the Living Planet Centre. Currently, about 80% of our waste is sent for recycling and composting. We’d like to maintain this level of recycling up to June 2018.
Print and procurement
Thinking carefully about what we buy and which suppliers we buy from is another way we can affect our environmental impact.
It’s part of our mission to stop unsustainable consumption of natural resources. Our most tangible consumable is paper. Most of the paper we print on is for fundraising purposes and despite using digital fundraising, print remains an important part of our fundraising activities.
Our environmental procurement guidelines help direct our people to buying the best environmental products. We want to be sure that everything we buy is produced in an environmentally and socially responsible way. They focus on maximising the use of natural, sustainable materials, and considering the whole life cycle of the product - how it's been made, how long it will be used, and whether it can be recycled.
We’re committed to sourcing only FSC certified or 100% recycled paper and timber, to reduce our impact on forests. We choose printers with ISO 14001 certification, which demonstrates they are working to manage and reduce their own impacts. We promote a 'digital first' way of working. There are just six printers across our UK offices for about 300 people.
Events are an important way we engage with people and spread our message. We consider the materials we'll use, venue location - how will people travel there, and the environmental features and facilities at the venue.
We have a policy for event catering to reflect our work on diets. By exceeding our Livewell principles, we can demonstrate tasty, sustainable food and drink. We focus on healthy, sustainable produce and supporting certification labels that benefit the environment. The options are vegan, vegetarian and small amounts of seafood.
The impact of plastics, particularly on our oceans, is a fast-growing global issue. Our procurement guidelines have long contained criteria for how we use plastics, but we are now taking a closer look at our activities, particularly around single-use plastic. We’re in the process of understanding where we use single-use plastic across the organisation, and putting together a new policy and action plan specifically relating to plastics. In November 2017 we set a commitment to end the use of single-use plastics in our operations, products and supply chain across the UK by 2020.
Although we don’t currently have a target to reduce the amount of publications paper we produce, we can make sure the material we use is as sustainable as possible. Our current target is to use 100% recycled or FSC certified material for all our printed communications and office paper.
According to Wrap, an efficient office can use as little as 16 sheets of paper per person per day. Currently we use about 4.5. Our target is to reduce to 3 by the end of June 2018.
WWF-UK are members of Fit for the Future - a network of more than 500 people from 81 organisations in the not-for-profit sector and beyond. Its members are working together to make their organisations climate-friendly, adaptive and resilient. The Network is run by a team who make connections between members so they can share knowledge and experience. It operates on the principle that, more often than not, the solution is already out there when it comes to making buildings, land and whole organisations more sustainable.