Taking environmental care across our operations, fundraising and programmes requires a team effort. That’s why we stepped up our collaboration in 2021.
We started by calculating our annual carbon footprint for the previous year, applying an additional de minimis of 9 per cent to ensure that we also capture emissions that cannot be calculated. Through these clear action points, all War Child offices became more aware of their emissions and therefore much better equipped to reduce their carbon footprint - and share this knowledge with key partners.
It also solidified our status as a carbon neutral organisation for the second year running.
Key to this achievement was the community tree planting initiative, Plant a Tree Now. Founded by our Advocacy Manager, Eamonn Hanson, the project creates a cleaner environment in war-torn Sierra Leone. It also provides jobs, including a new vocation as local farmers, for conflict-affected youth from previous War Child programmes.
National COVID-19 lockdowns continued during the year changing our operations dramatically. In addition to the responsible use of resources such as vehicles, office equipment and waste management, we also improved our internal coordination procedures reducing the need for international travel. Several field offices reduced their dependence on diesel for electricity and heating by switching to gas, electricity from the grid or solar panels. Finally, the first hybrid vehicle was purchased while we avoided the purchase of new capital equipment wherever possible.
Lockdown also induced new climate-friendly measures in our programme activities and research efforts. These included remote and online training programs, less frequent and multi-purpose trips and device-agnostic digital education methods - reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and stimulating less waste production.
War Child is developing a Corporate Social Responsibility Policy with a view towards significantly improving our global environmental performance in the years to come.