Climate change and the VCS

On 5 March 2009, Stephen Hale, Director of Green Alliance and Dr Nicholas Watts from London Metropolitan University led an interesting debate on what climate change means and how this may impact on the voluntary and community sector.

A more detailed write up with presentations will follow shortly!

Where and when?

Thursday 5th March 2009

NCVO, London

2.30 – 5pm, followed by a drinks reception and mingle.

I particularly valued the chance to meet and network with others and get a sense of the issues involved

Why climate change and the VCS?

Climate change is a complex issue and has been the subject of discussion and debate for some time. It is a topic that many feel incredibly passionate about, and many disagree on.

Wherever people may stand on the causes and consequences, there is broad consensus that we are experiencing global climate change. This has implications for billions and in terms of the voluntary and community sector (VCS) has implications for all parts of the sector, not just those whose focus is on ‘environmental’ issues or campaigning.

There has been also been specific interest in the future role of the VCS in responding to issues around climate change, and whether there is any collective or moral ‘responsibility’ to address these issues.

This seminar was a chance to gain a more in depth understanding of what climate change actually means, through an accessible presentation of these complex issues. It provided a forum for identifying and discussing the implications of climate change for the VCS as well as strategic and practical actions that could be taken to address these.

  • Does your organisation understand the impact its services and practices may have on the environment?
  • How might your organisation influence local strategies on sustainable communities as proposed in the Sustainable Development Bill?
  • Could an eco-audit of your services save you money and help you through the economic downturn?
  • Will increasing numbers of environmental refugees impact on the services your organisation provides?

This seminar also provided an opportunity to discuss and debate the potential roles and responsibilities of the sector with regards to climate change.

  • Does your organisation see a need to increase awareness of climate change to a wider community, helping people to see the relevance to them and not just a niche topic for ‘others’?

If you've got any questions please contact Kathryn Cook by email or call 02075202510.

"Stimulating and helpful"

NCVO Third Sector Foresight Leading Lights series 

NCVO Third Sector Foresight Leading Lights events provide delegates with time and space away from the daily pressures of running their organisation to think in depth about how complex external trends may impact on their organisation in the future. Usually open only to network members, they are a great chance to meet other members, share knowledge and experiences as well as discuss key topics in depth.

Limited places 

Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis. 

The Leading Lights events are always oversubscribed. You will be charged £20 if you fail to attend without giving us 3 days notice or sending a substitute.
If the seminar is fully booked, we may request that only one representative attend per organisation. 


If you've got any questions please contact Kathryn Cook by email or call 02075202510.

Last updated at 10:52 Thu 12/Mar/09.

Recent discussion

How will this affect your organisation? Have you considered it during your strategic planning? Can you share any interesting relevant links?Join the discussion!

Author Comment
Kathryn's picture


Third Sector Foresight

There’s our event taking place on 5th March; but there are also some other interesting events out there looking at similar issues. An ODI, All Party Parliamentary Group on Overseas Development, All Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group and Department for International Development, UK event series is being run on ‘climate change and international development’. The first one in the series is on 19 January, but there are others at later dates.

Sarah's picture


Third Sector Foresight

If you’re interested in reading some more about this topic before our seminar some key publications to have a look at are:

Civil society and climate change by NEF

Environmental responsibility: what role should charities play?

Partnering for the environment – lessons for a collaborative future also has some interesting thoughts in this tighter economic climate relating to funding.

Véronique's picture


Third Sector Foresight

The report by a new coalition of leading UK environmental and social justice groups Tackling climate change, reducing poverty is worth looking at too:

This report is just the first in a series of activities bringing together organisations working on the issues of poverty and the environment to try and encourage coordinated thinking and to show that the right policies can and must advance both causes at once.

Natalie's picture


Third Sector Foresight

This issue (PDF 3.5MB) of the Forced Migration Review on Climate change and displacement might also be useful. It contains articles by UN, academic, international and local actors exploring the extent of the potential displacement crisis, community adaptation, coping strategies, and the search for solutions.

Kathryn's picture


Third Sector Foresight

Food for the future?
An event which picks up on an aspect of the environmental issues debate is this one, hosted by the Science museum.
This article briefly looks at some of the potential implications of this viewpoint. If you’re interested in it, see also the work done by Green Alliance on this issue.

Kathryn's picture


Third Sector Foresight

If you look past some of the more reactionary and inflammatory comments (that you nearly always find in online comments!), there is an interesting dichotomy of viewpoints presented by Leo Hickman (a Guardian journalist/editor) and Peter Melchett (policy director of the Soil Association) on whether or not society is getting engaged with the environmental agenda and what can be done going forward.

(keep an eye out for yours truly on there as well!)

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