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Greening the Third Sector

The City Bridge Trust is helping to bring the current global environmental crisis to the forefront of the charitable sector's agenda by helping its grantees become more sustainable. The Trust, which has already invested £25 million to improve London's environment, now offers eco-audits to London charities prepared to respond to recommendations and to help spread the word.

An eco-audit offers a review of an organisation's current position on waste, energy use, water, transport, raw materials and carbon emissions. The process involves practical help and professional advice, from an environmental consultant, on ways in which they can become more environmentally intelligent. The audits complement the Third Sector Declaration on Climate Change, and the advice available from the Carbon Trust or the Energy Saving Trust, with simple practical suggestions individually tailored to the charity.

"Many charities have taken on bouts of activity on eco issues", says one eco-auditor Donnachadh McCarthy, "but once the enthusiastic member of staff has moved on there may be nothing in place to sustain the momentum. Our intention is not only to make tailored practical suggestions, but to ensure that environmental responsibility is embedded into management systems."

Clare Thomas, the Trust's Chief Grants Officer, commented: "Charities concentrating rightly on their urgent core objectives are not always in a position to assess whether they are working in as sustainable way as possible. The eco-audit should address this, taking the pressure off our grantees and, at the same time, improving their environmental sustainability and reducing their carbon footprints."

In December 2008, CBT’s Eco-Audits project won the National Energy Efficiency Award, in the Community and Voluntary Action category.

The City Bridge Trust published a review of the eco-audit process after completion of the first pilot audits in May 2007. This appeared as the first edition of our publication, 'The Knowledge - Learning from London'.

For further information on how you can get involved in this programme and receive your own eco-audit, please see the programme guidelines for Greening the Third Sector.

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