1. Purpose of the Policy
“We will reduce our environmental impact by minimising our operational carbon usage.” Bucks Mind Strategy 2021-2024
Buckinghamshire Mind recognises that it has a responsibility to the environment beyond legal and regulatory requirements (Companies act 2006 (Section 172  [d]), Climate Change Act 2008, Environment act). We are committed to reducing our environmental impact and continually improving our environmental performance as an integral part of our business strategy and operating methods, with regular review points.
We will encourage and support our service users, volunteers and staff to contribute to more environmentally and socially sustainable behaviour with a focus on positive actions that can be taken by everyone as well as reduction of negative impact.
Furthermore, we recognise that there is a growing Mental Health impact related to Climate Change – ‘Eco Anxiety’, defined as, “feelings of helplessness, anger, insomnia, panic and guilt toward the climate and ecological crisis. It can also be described as persistent and intrusive worries about the future of the Earth.” (https://sustainabilitydefined.com/ecoanxiety)
According to Office of National Statistics, in October 2021, three-quarters (75%) of adults in Great Britain said they were either very or somewhat worried about the impact of climate change. It is also recognised that those that experience anxiety are more likely to implement small changes in their lifestyles to address climate change and that those that make small changes are more likely to feel less anxious as a result.
Awareness of Eco Anxiety will be threaded through our environmental action plan. In particular, raising awareness that this is an issue that may contribute to our service users, especially children and young people and those in poverty, and promoting connection with nature and the environment, which is shown to alleviate anxiety.
In the second year of our new strategy, 2023, we will look to go further and mirror the strategic position of National Mind, exploring ways to become a net climate positive charity:
“The climate emergency is a major risk to society and our mental health. And while it’s not our charitable purpose to tackle the climate emergency, we must play our part in addressing its causes and adapting to its impact. As such, we are committed to becoming a net climate positive charity. This means going beyond net zero and actively contributing to an equitable climate recovery.” National Mind Strategy 2021-2024
This policy covers all Bucks Mind activities in all operating premises (including homeworking) and all staff, trustees, volunteers, service users and contractors.
The Senior Management Team (SMT) is responsible for ensuring that the environmental policy is implemented with day-to-day management by the Quality Team. However, all trustees, employees and volunteers have a responsibility in their area to ensure that the aims and objectives of the policy are met.
4. Policy Aims
In adhering to this policy we will strive to adopt the highest available environmental standards in all areas of our operations. To achieve this we will:
- Continually investigate new environmental techniques and best practices to ensure we keep abreast of what can be done and implement them where appropriate within and beyond Buckinghamshire Mind.
- In the first year, assess our current position and assess realistic, time-framed targets to reduce our carbon footprint as in the Bucks Mind Strategy 2021-2024.
- In subsequent years, explore ways to work towards the aspiration of becoming carbon neutral and ultimately ‘Climate Positive’ in line with National Mind strategy 2021-2024.
- Research recognised accreditation or other external benchmarks we can work towards as an organisation.
- Incorporate environmental factors into business decisions.
- Address Eco Anxiety through our communications and activities.
5. Action plan and targets:
a) Evaluate current position and set time-framed targets, initially to reduce carbon footprint and subsequently targets to work towards becoming net climate positive. We will have the net climate positive plan in place for 2023:
- Conduct an audit of our current position against the targets below.
- Explore accreditation schemes.
b) Improve environmental and financial efficiency in the use of all materials, supplies and utilities:
- Make wise decisions when purchasing equipment and provisions, consider fair trade, recycled and local produce wherever appropriate, and proactively minimise packaging (especially food and electrical appliances). Take into account the energy consumption and efficiency of new products.
- Use suppliers who recycle their products, such as toner cartridges.
- Minimise the use of paper in the office, buying recycled and recyclable paper products.
- Reduce/eliminate single use plastics.
- Reduce energy consumption and impact through selecting suppliers that use renewable energy sources.
- Create a culture of energy awareness by encouraging staff to switch off lights and equipment when not in use and use heating mindfully.
- Reduce the amount of water used in our premises.
- Purchase supplies from second-hand retailers/resource centres, e.g. furniture and craft materials.
- Evaluate if renting/sharing is an option before purchasing equipment.
- Work with cleaning contractors to ensure cleaning materials used are as environmentally friendly as possible.
- Investigate and consider in our decision-making the ESG position of our pension and investment management providers.
- Evaluate and reduce the carbon footprint of our website and digital systems e.g. email storage.
c) Work towards managing waste effectively through a waste minimisation programme and seek better ways of reducing, reusing and recycling waste:
- Reuse and recycle all paper, glass and plastic where possible.
- Develop recycling programmes as part of service provision.
- Participate in supermarket sponsored initiatives to use food that would otherwise have been wasted.
- Plan meals carefully to reduce food waste – freezing extra food where possible.
- Plan art and craft activities carefully and store excess materials appropriately for use at future sessions.
- Only use licensed and appropriate organisations to dispose of waste.
d) Adopt an environmentally sound transport strategy:
- Proactively encourage trustees, staff and volunteers to take advantage of car sharing.
- Work to reduce the need to travel, restricting to necessity trips only.
- Promote the use of travel alternatives (where appropriate) such as email or video/phone conferencing.
- Continually assess the impact of a hybrid model working with staff blending home and office work.
e) Encourage employee and service user involvement in environmental action:
- Appoint a staff member as Environment Champion whose role it is to increase engagement with the policy and strategies through regular communication with staff, service users and volunteers.
- Ensure that staff are aware of the policy and action plan.
- Make colleagues aware of developments and progress made (e.g. email bulletins, website) and explore more creative ways of inspiring change to that of a paperless organisation.
- Seek to promote our aim of being more environmentally friendly, through the induction programme and ongoing team meetings.
- Inform and inspire employees and service users about ways that they can make a difference, both in and out of the workplace.
- Incorporate links with the natural environment in our workplaces and in activities for service users.
f) Improve staff wellbeing through improvements in working environments and threading awareness of the mental health impact of climate change throughout our operations:
- Include awareness of the mental health impact of climate change throughout our operations.
- Ensure that Bucks Mind workplaces and premises are pleasant environments.
g) Promote access to the natural environment for staff, volunteers and services users.
- Improve outdoor environments in Bucks Mind premises through projects including recycling, tree planting and habitat creation.
- Build partnerships with local nature based organisations.
6. Monitoring and Reporting
To ensure that the aims of the policy are met:
- The policy will be reviewed annually by the Quality Team and SMT.
- The Quality Team and Environmental Champion will regularly review progress towards meeting the targets of this policy.
- Progress against targets will be monitored in the linked Action Plan document.
- The environmental impact of Buckinghamshire Mind will be discussed in Health, Safety and Environment Committee meetings
- Updates will be reported regularly to the Senior Management Team and included bi-annually in reports to the Board of Trustees.
- Updates on our environmental position and activity will be added to the Buckinghamshire Mind website.