If the world is to avoid disastrous climate change, fossil fuel use must fall dramatically in the next 15 years. This will mean significant changes to how people live and work.
At the Paris climate talks in 2015, we called on governments to shift rapidly away from fossil fuels and set tough targets on greenhouse gas emissions. If we are to speak credibly and encourage others to take action on this issue, we must lead by example.
At Christian Aid, we've been reporting our in-house carbon dioxide emissions since 2005/06, and our full greenhouse gas emissions (including methane, nitrous oxide and the extra warming ‘uplift’ from flights) since 2008/09.
Between 2008/09 and 2014/15 our greenhouse gas emissions fell by around 2,400 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent - a 43% drop.
It hasn’t been a simple decline - there have been some ups and downs - but the overall trend has been in the right direction. This has happened even though the amount of money spent on our operations has increased over the same period.
This change has been largely driven by a reduction in flights, a shift from printing towards more digital communications, and the installation of more efficient servers and heating at our head office in London.
In 2014/15 we set – and met – an annual carbon budget for the organisation for the first time.
It is worth noting that we buy much of our electricity from renewable sources. However, because we follow DEFRA's carbon reporting guidelines, we do not include this carbon saving in our footprint figures.
Strategies and the future
We are working to improve the efficiency of our carbon data collection systems, particularly from our global offices, by integrating carbon and financial accounting more closely. We have implemented a new automated payment system, which helps capture our footprint at source. This will help us find more ways to save carbon across our operations.
We are currently in a process of long-term planning for Christian Aid as a whole, to keep us relevant and effective in these changing times. As part of this, we are developing longer-term strategies to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, by using new technology and setting ourselves ambitious targets on travel and energy use.