In this blog, Catherine Rennie, Communications and Public Affairs Manager introduces People’s Health Trust’s climate action statement and plan.
The 2023 UN Climate Change Conference (COP 28) begins today – bringing together representatives from nearly 200 countries to coordinate global climate action, assess progress and establish legally binding climate obligations. So far, COP conferences have fallen some way short of the UN’s aspirations. We urgently need action on the global scale, but it is also important that we all take responsibility to do more to help halt the climate crisis in every way we can.
The injustice of the climate crisis is reflected within the UK as well as globally, and the direct and indirect health effects of the climate crisis are felt most sharply by people living in disadvantaged communities. As the Institute of Health Equity outlined in their 2020 report to the UK Climate Change Committee (CCC), there are four key areas where the climate crisis and health inequalities should be tackled together: minimising air pollution; building energy-efficient homes; promoting sustainable and healthy food and prioritising active and safe transport.
At the Trust, as set out in our 2022 – 2025 strategy, we have been exploring the ways in which we can make a significant contribution to address the climate crisis within our role as a funder, an investor, an employer and an organisation with a carbon footprint.
In March this year we signed up to the Funder Commitment on Climate Change. This brings together grant-making charities to connect, exchange, share challenges and progress around integrating climate into their work. Through this commitment, we are focusing on six key areas of work that cover our, programmes, operations and communications.
Working together with our trustees, we have agreed a statement and action plan which we have published on our website. Our statement confirms our approach in relation to the climate crisis, and the action plan provides a framework for our work over the next three years, using the pillars of the Funder Commitment on Climate Change. Our action plan covers our communications and learning, how we will work with our funded partners, our investments, and how we will reduce the carbon footprint in our operations.
Action on the climate crisis requires collaboration and we’re excited to be working with the Health Equals coalition to raise awareness of the impact of air pollution on health. We are also exploring partnerships to conduct research exploring the impacts of the climate crisis on marginalised communities through the lens of health inequalities.
Our first report on the Trust’s progress as part of the Funder Commitment on Climate Change is due in spring 2024 and we will be working as a team, with our Trustees, funded partners and external partners as we make our contribution to tackling this urgent crisis.
Catherine Rennie is Communications and Public Affairs Manager at People's Health Trust.