The RSPB C-Strategy

RSPB's Carbon Footprint

Olly Watts, Senior Policy Officer, Climate and Peat, of RSPB reported that the organisation has approx. 2,000 staff and 200 big buildings. The RSPB lobbied for the Climate Change Act (2008) target of 80% reduction in emissions by 2050. RSPB’s own targets are for a 3% reduction per year. This target is in the Corporate Strategy, and one of the organisation’s 25 Key Performance Indicators. The key areas worked on so far are staff business travel and corporate energy use. Visitor travel is not included in the 3% reduction target.

Staff business travel: Figures have been analysed and converted from mileage to CO2. This showed the need to consider more detailed recording. Now, every time staff travel is claimed every member states which vehicle used, no. of miles, which type of car (of 8 types) and so much more accurate data is gathered. Every cost centre manager now has to manage to reduce 3 % yr on yr from the 2007 / 2008 baseline. Also have awareness campaign on the intranet, eg promoting phone conferences, breaking habits, how to travel, etc. There are posters, regularly refreshed. There’s a network of ‘green people’ to spread the word through offices. 10 million miles were travelled by RSPB staff and 1 million miles was saved in 1 yr (though the total went up again the following year when there was a Birdlife Conference in Argentina!). This staff job has now more or less been completed.

Energy: There is no major internal staff campaign on energy. The key focus is building improvements. A ‘Power Perfector’ is used which ‘smooths’ electricity inputs, bringing exactly the right amount into use at the time required. This has saved a lot of electricity.
Renewables are being used for buildings - solar water heaters, wind turbines, solar photo-voltaics. Building standards now specify high-quality energy efficiency. The RSPB Rainham Marshes Reserve now claims to be C neutral.

A renewables-on-buildings ‘going solar’ offer for members failed.

Another focus is on Information Technology. This is under investigation, with a new spec that specifies a 3% reduction per year of life of the item, and business efficiency which establishes a systematic form of filing, to save server space (server space being a very expensive use of electricity).

Staff Information Given at the RSPB's Rest Room

(Photo: Ralf Schulte, NABU)

Whole RSPB carbon footprint: A contract is under way to establish the RSPB’s carbon footprint more widely. This will include staff travel (3000 tonnes/yr), energy use (only metered at HQ – approx 2000 tonnes/yr), paper (8 – 10,000 tonnes/yr, including quarterly magazines), animals on reserves (not calculated but could be 10 – 15,000 tonnes) and visitors to reserves (not known but huge).

Offsetting: Not done by RSPB. It is recognised as legitimate, if a new forest or habitat is created. It may be a way of involving companies that would otherwise not do anything for the environment. Natuurmonumenten is keen on getting the public to spend money on trees, peat, natural carbon stores, etc. and this is a way to engage them.

Certification: RSPB does not have an Environmental Management System (EMS) as yet, and may not use certification; this is being considered at present. (An EMS standard offers recognition for organisations evaluating and improving their environmental performance through the phased implementation of an EMS.) National Trust is trialling Green Dragon and Acorn. It can be useful to have an audit and view from an external person even if there is no formal certification.

The project was funded from a Leonardo da Vinci grant.