Topical conversations Re Environmental Sustainable Development (climate action) CCT in BBO

The simplified list below conveys the spread of conversations in small group scenarios comprised of BBO grant holders and/or partner organisations (22.09.21). The discussions were held for peer-to-peer dialogue and the sharing of experiences and insights.

Minimising Travel

Ways of minimising travel (pre-pandemic with relevance beyond pandemic):

  • Electric cars - pool
  • Electric van (e.g. funded by local authority but that project can use)
  • (But there were problems with Infrastructure lacking i.e. no charge points in right places)
  • Car share
  • Use of cycle to work schemes; provision of cycles
  • Provision of motorbikes (with road safety training for all)
  • Organise meetings in central place – near public transport like train station
  • In some areas, poor public transport options remain a real issue

Impact since COVID-19 pandemic on travel:

  • Pandemic has massively reduced travel
  • Pandemic has increased use of online training. This has been particularly good for female participants with children and enabled them to access support more easily. But people do miss coffee chats and networking
  • Advisers still need to see people and its often not convenient to take public transport for that
  • Also for participants with issues like travel anxiety – there is a clear need to resume face to face and support them with being able to travel/take public transport


  • Most want to keep a blended approach of digital and F2F
  • Many participants who were confident about taking public transport have now lost that confidence - as well as those with anxiety so it is important to maintain one to one in-person support especially around participant travel
  • Looking for Economically Inactive people as they are hard to find
  • Use job centres for meetings
  • Link with social prescribers
  • One partnership talked about how they decided to run BBO as a completely paperless project. This was a massive challenge but they have risen to the project challenge while increasing awareness more generally

Measuring baselines:

  • Look at Expenses claims
  • Partners were reluctant to do this at first but eventually did and can see different in CO2 savings
  • Take up of cycle to work schemes
  • Questionnaires to partners – use of survey monkey
  • Asking people, what they want now and, in the future.

How to keep Env Sus Dev CCT in mind?

  • Have several focus points, e.g. car free day (These should be frequent, i.e. not annual anniversaries).

Minimising Waste

  • Some partnerships have made steps forward, others are still developing.
  • Many projects are moving to a less paper heavy delivery model with electronic signatures allowing them to do this.
  • It is also clear that projects are increasingly using recycled papers and being increasingly innovative in using their own recycled and shredded paper.
  • Nation of pet lovers and one project is using its recycling to provide bedding for pets.
  • We have projects that are doing various things around food waste. E.g. composting or sharing with local shelters, or food banks.
  • Projects are also doing more around electronic waste and phones etc - Although again project are at various stages of evolution on this.
  • Clear that projects would benefit from the being matched with other project via the coffee mornings.
  • Annual staff surveys can help: looking at what people are doing around waste management, and monitoring that.
  • Get a green audit done – there are some specialists who can offer this service – and some grant holders told us that it highlighted things they’d missed and otherwise helped them influence their own organisations to make greater change.
  • Repair, recycle/upcycle, mend-not-spend initiatives all minimise waste.

Minimising Energy

  • Not as straightforward as this topic’s host had anticipated… ditto for partnerships.
  • Partnerships are at different stages in terms of progress on minimising energy consumption.
  • A lot of partnership work and project work, alike, is taking place in rented office space and therefore it's not straightforward to implement energy efficient measures such as retrofitting or installation of LEDs motion sensors.
  • Lack of expertise within organizations in terms of knowing what they can do to minimise.
  • Simple actions include putting posters up around offices Re turning lights off or turning electronic appliances off overnight.
  • Some projects are retrofitting LEDs, or using motion sensors.
  • How you measure and quantify any reduction remains a query/issue for some.
  • Working as small teams in bigger organizations: how much can we affect and how much can we measure what we're doing as a project, as opposed to the whole organization?
  • Tanya Sealey spoke from Carer’s Trust about saving money: focusing on energy was a good quick win for them, in terms of a fact sheet showing how carers can save energy (and money).
  • At the moment, during COVID-19 pandemic, there’s also the impact of working from home, especially during the winters: everyone has their own central heating
  • Also there are servers in the cloud, server farms, archives and I.T. kit all demanding energy usage.


  • This topic is about broader thinking – it does not directly relate to an ESF requirement whereas the other three topics do.
  • ‘Co-benefits’ really have a wide span, and it might take some effort to stop and think about it but actions taken in partnership, at organisations, and the activities with participants, typically have co-benefits. There are often hidden/less obvious benefits to actions/activity undertaken toward climate action (Env Sus Dev) but if you think about it you will start to rack up multiple and parallel benefits: e.g. reduction of waste, health benefits, cost savings and so on.
  • Co-benefits of actions taken toward this CCT will typically include one or more (sometimes all 3) of the ESF requirements: reducing waste, reducing energy consumption, reducing travel.
  • Beyond the 3 thematic areas that are ESF requirements for CCT policies and action plans, co-benefits include mental health/wellbeing benefits (e.g. social and physical/mental benefits from outdoor activities: being/walking in nature, fresh air, daylight, Vitamin D, learning to grow herbs/food, and more.
  • Several people highlighted financial benefits (grow your own rather than spend; also some people mentioned this as an example of good debt management).
  • Green jobs and green skills were tabled as emerging opportunities (some very promising, though also noted was the fact that the notion of green jobs or skills has yet to filter out to all localities).
  • Christine Riddell from Groundwork Cumbria discussed family benefits, example of mums encouraged to bring toddlers/kids to session growing vegetables etc.
  • Estelle Gray from TCHC spoke about community level benefits – e.g. improving air pollution, improving green spaces, taking pride/belonging/sense of ownership /identity in community perhaps through being in green spaces, or working in them, and/or allotments – either way it adds to the broader spectrum of factors that help people move on and progress.