Many professional bodies have already made ambitious pledges to climate action or joined other climate initiatives. The Charter is not intended to add to this burden, but rather to help turn these into action across the sector. It does this by focusing on:
- Institutions’ external influence, over their members and government, rather than just on internal emissions
- Working together with others across disciplines, to generate vital discussions and to share resources
We hope that this will direct resources where they are needed most and ensure our climate action is of the highest standards, employing multidisciplinary, systems-level thinking. It will also ease the burden on resource-strapped institutions via a collaborative approach, avoiding duplicated efforts and harnessing already-existing resources where possible.
The Charter welcomes institutions with international memberships. At this stage, it is unclear whether it will be best for our international peer organisations to join this Charter or form their own sister Charters that better address the needs in their respective regions, resulting in a coalition of Charters.
However, the Charter was crafted by UK-based institutions with international memberships, and we encourage you to join us if that describes your organisation or if you have a strong membership base here.
The Charter was designed to be adaptable to individual professions, and only include the commitments necessary to generate strong leadership for your members in line with the UK’s binding net-zero goals and the UN SDGs, and nothing more. Therefore, we think something similar to these commitments will be necessary for all professional bodies, regardless of whether they sign on or not. Through collaboration, the Charter aims to make this challenging task easier for all bodies, so that all UK professionals can practice sustainably.
Signatories to the Charter will need to create, either individually or in collaboration with other bodies from their profession, Climate Action Plans that lay out:
- What their members need from them in order to have sufficient guidance and resources to practice sustainably
- What resources they must attain or create, and on what timeline, in order to provide this
- What help they will need from other signatories to fulfil this plan
- SMART targets against which to report publicly and be held accountable. These may be Science Based Targets or follow some other guidance as appropriate to each profession (to be discussed by the working groups).
We are asking and encouraging all professional membership associations and other professional bodies to become signatories to the Charter, if they can. This means agreeing to the commitments on the Charter and working with other signatories to do so. There are varying levels of commitment within this role, as positions on working groups will be available to volunteers while other bodies may elect to provide assistance and advice on a more ad-hoc basis, guided by the working groups.
We recognise that many bodies must observe formal processes before signing the Charter, and these may take time. Still other organisations may not be able to sign the Charter due to technical reasons, such as their remit not overlapping with the Charter commitments. Nevertheless, we want to provide all these organisations with the chance to provide support to the Charter, and as soon as possible, given the urgency of the task before us. Therefore, these bodies may elect to become supporters to the Charter, either until they can sign or on a permanent basis. This means they:
- Agree with the aims of the Charter
- If signing the Charter is a possibility, they are in the process of presenting it to their board for consideration.