Posts tagged " climate change "

Progress with Partnerships

October 10th, 2019 Posted by Blogs No Comment yet

In this blog Trustee, Thomas Kinney-Nicol reflects on the importance of partnership working to broaden the impact a charity can have


Charities selling out to business. Businesses covering their backs by “doing something good”. We’ve all heard it before, it is often the first thoughts to announcements about partnerships between the third sector, and business. For many the “big cheque” picture is an image quickly conjured when someone mentions a partnership or sponsorship. I understand it, and I’m sure that even as a fundraiser it is ingrained in my mind as a default response. However, I think in today’s world, it is becoming increasingly important to recognise that partnerships are no longer just useful, but often necessary and are driven by a focus to create collaborative solutions to problems and away from the transactional nature of their past. 

Kathy Calvin, the current President and Chief Executive Officer of the United Nations Foundation has said that “Giving is not just about making a Donation, it’s about making a Difference”. When we place this in the context of partnerships, I think it’s incredibly relevant in today’s fundraising environment, for both the charity and the business. Both parties want to work together, to the greatest effect. 

The role of business in the third sector is changing, much like the third sector itself. For a charity like 2050 Climate Group the funding landscape grows tougher, and we are increasingly finding ourselves in a more crowded market trying to galvanise support for our cause. In Scotland alone, there are over 24,700 charities, all vying to catch your eye, broaden their reach, and ultimately increase their impact. An oversimplified solution is two-pronged, do what you can to stand-out-from the crowd, capitalising on your USP, and increase your income to a sustainable level to support and grow your activity. 

Charities should be continually evolving and adapting to make sure they are reaching and bringing as many people on the journey as possible, and learning from those people along the way. Partnerships are an exciting opportunity to do that, and in many ways to innovate and try out new approaches. Today we are announcing a new partnership with Tennent’s Lager, an exciting opportunity for us to engage and learn from a new audience. It is encouraging to see Tennent’s making investments to mitigate the environmental impact of their operations, and committing to push this ambition further. Working with such a recognisable Scottish brand on the issue of climate change also gives us hope that environmental issues are at the forefront of the Scottish collective consciousness.   

We have always been a group with a focus on actions and getting things done, and we’re excited to be working with Tennent’s to develop “pint and a plan” workshops that applies this working style to the comfortable environment of the pub. We hope this approach will bring new voices to the environmental movement, and some innovative actions that will affect real change. Outwith the pub, we are also looking forward to engaging Tennent’s own staff members more widely in the work of 2050 Climate Group. 

In its truest form partnerships are about collaboration, and a desire to make sure that they are mutually beneficial for both parties. For a charity, they extend the reach and impact of your work, and for a business they demonstrate a commitment to a social issue that they are passionate about. At 2050 Climate Group, we realise the importance of creating strategic partnerships with key players throughout Scotland. From Scottish Water, to SEPA, and The University of Edinburgh we work to create the space for Scotland’s young people to take meaningful action on climate change. It is important to us, as a charity driven by Scotland’s youth, that any partnership aligns with our core vision, mission and values and has the largest impact within the community that it can. 

We know that we can’t go it alone, that a joined-up approach can achieve greater results. So when a business can demonstrate to us their commitment to work within our charitable objectives, it is not only right to work with these businesses, but an important opportunity to broaden the reach of our message and impact of our work. 

We want to engage as many of Scotland’s young people as we can, it is only by doing so that we can see the kind of action required to accelerate Scotland’s journey to net-zero by 2045. To do this, it’s important that when we can, and with the support of others take the conversation to the places they find themselves in, whether that be cafes,places of learning, or in this case, the pub!

So, whilst for the duration of this campaign we will be encouraging the young people of Scotland to grab their pint and join us to plan actions against the Climate Emergency, we’ll also be meeting them across the country in a variety of different formats, with a variety of approaches. 

The power of partnerships, when created from a shared vision, can be transformation to both a business, their charity partner and wider causes. If you believe in the power of partnerships, 2050 Climate Group is always looking for new approaches and support from all aspects of Scotland’s public, private and third sector life. We want to connect with like-minded partners, looking to empower, equip and enable future leaders within their organisations and across wider society to take action on climate change. Get in touch with us today. 

Let’s talk about targets: giving parliamentary evidence on Scotland’s draft Climate Change Bill

June 6th, 2019 Posted by Blogs, Policy No Comment yet

In this blog, our Policy volunteer Siri reflects on her experience of giving evidence in Scottish Parliament on the topic of climate change emissions targets – what it was like, how she felt, and the importance of having young people’s voices represented in decision making.

This week, the Scottish Parliament’s cross-party Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee published their report of recommendations for the Climate Change Bill for Scotland. This Bill will update Scotland’s legally binding emissions targets, previously set out in the 2009 Climate Change Act.  It’s been a busy year – since the ECCLR Committee started processing the Bill a year ago in May 2018, the Scottish Government announced they would set a new target of net-zero emissions by 2045 , following the UK Climate Change Committee’s report in May (more on that in a previous blog post here. We are now presented with the results of ECCLR’s scrutiny, which, together with amendments to the draft bill, will be debated in the Scottish Parliament. Votes on amendments are scheduled for 18th and 25th June – keep an eye on those as this is how the new net-zero target will become a part of the Bill.

Before we go any further, I figure it’s probably good to check in about acronyms. The Climate Change Committee, or CCC, is an independent adviser to the UK and Scottish Parliaments and their advice can (and, in some cases, must) be sought when setting targets. ECCLR is the Scottish Parliament’s (cross-party) Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, which is the key team of MSPs who will scrutinise the Climate Change (Scotland) Bill, prior to it being brought in front of the entire Scottish Parliament.

The parliamentary scrutiny process takes place in three stages; the first stage which has just been finished involves consultations with stakeholders through written and verbal evidence, and the analysis of these discussions written up into a report. This is a fascinating process and allows for direct, recorded conversations between experts and representatives and the politicians making decisions on items which are often not their area of expertise. You can watch videos of the Committee’s meetings here.

As a part of this process, 2050 Climate Group sent the ECCLR Committee written evidence and we were then invited to discuss this in person with MSPs, alongside organisations such as WWF, Friends of the Earth, Young Friends of the Earth, and Centre for Climate Justice.

I was honoured to get to represent 2050 Climate Group in front of the committee in November 2018. I was also terrified. Having a conversation and answering on-the-spot questions from MSPs, alongside highly esteemed policy experts, is quite different from giving presentations or speeches. There is only so much preparation you can do.

Luckily, it turns out, the Parliament has recently started a service where you can go visit the building and the parliamentary clerks responsible for the consultations, and discuss how the hearing will go in practice. I was told I was the first person to choose to do this, which is a shame – I’d recommend it to anyone who ends up being invited – because it was very useful to understand the day. We walked through where things would happen; whether there would be space for notes; how to get a turn to speak. What kind of questions would come our way; who the other organisations might be; who would sit where.

I understood that, while we were present to provide a young people’s voice, there would not be specific questions on the impact on young people; instead, we’d need to make sure our voice is heard across a variety of questions on the entire Bill. We had decided that while we wanted our voice heard, we wouldn’t want to speak for the sake of hearing our own voice; only when we had something to contribute. There were many organisations present with specific expertise on targets and policies; we were there both to remind everyone that if we don’t set ambitious targets now, our generation will be sitting on those seats 10 or 20 years from now with much less choice, and to provide creative and positive ideas from young people.

Representing an organisation with a wide-ranging membership and no single policy position was not straightforward. We’d set out a few things we agreed on, based on our consultation with the Young Leaders. We wanted a net-zero target set in the Bill, so companies, organisations, people planning their house renovations and young people planning their careers had a clearer idea of what future would look like. We wanted pragmatic policies across all sectors. We wanted young people at all the tables. And we wanted climate change to be seen as an opportunity to create a better society, not just as a crisis. There were questions about specific percentages and targets that we didn’t have answers to; but we were heard, and it genuinely felt like we were listened to. I had a sense that the politicians really wanted to understand what we thought the Bill should say, and why.

There were a few moments I was especially proud of. In particular, after a comment from an MSP stating “The Scotch Whisky Association said that, if the 2020 target were revised, meeting the new target would not be easily achievable—“not realistic” are the words that it used.”, I felt I needed to clarify what all of us at the table were saying, as this comment was making it sound like we all expect this to be easy and comfortable. But we’re at a point now where no option is easy; some are just more difficult than others, and some provide better outcomes in the future. So I reminded the panel of this: “There will be difficult choices to be made, but they will be easier to make now than at later stages. None of us thinks that the changes will be easy, but they are necessary.”

Since our evidence session in November, the Committee has continued to take evidence from more experts during May. This week, they published their final report on the Bill. It backs the net-zero by 2045 target for Scotland and urges a higher interim target to be set for 2030 to encourage early action over the next decade. It touches on the evidence the MSPs have heard about forestry, agriculture, industry and homes and recommends areas where the Scottish Government could be bolder.

The Bill has now entered Stage 2 of the scrutiny process. This will be a busy few weeks where MSPs bring forward their amendments to the draft Bill. The Government is also expected to make a few tweaks to reflect some of the Committee’s recommendations. What follows will be a series of Committee meetings in June where the ECCLR Committee will vote on the amendments – and this is where party politics comes into play. Parliament wraps up for the summer at the end of June, but the Bill will be back in the spotlight in early Autumn for its third and final stage. Here the Bill will be debated and voted upon by all MSPs (not just ECCLR members) and there will be a chance for last-minute amendments.

The Climate Change Bill has the opportunity to provide a clear and predictable legal framework for urgent and inspired action against the climate crisis. If MSPs take heed of the calls for urgency – which is more likely the more we keep reminding them of this – then a legally binding net-zero target can create space for a managed, just transition to a sustainable society, whilst we still have time (albeit, not much time!). It can also give the people of Scotland opportunities to make long-term choices that support a rapid transition, whether these are in the personal, professional or political spheres – providing space for creativity and use of individual strengths. The 2050 Climate Group will continue to push for opportunities to show today’s politicians young people’s enthusiasm and commitment to action on climate change. Watch this space as we update you on how it all plays out.

Christiana Figueres and Catriona Patterson

Selfies with Christiana Figueres: Climate Change, Leadership and Young People

April 12th, 2019 Posted by Blogs No Comment yet

Catriona Patterson, Chair of the Board of 2050 Climate Group, shares her reflections on the role of youth leadership on climate change, after a week which saw Edinburgh host both the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Christiana Figueres.

I’m generally not one for selfies. So it was a surprise to me for many reasons when I found myself taking a selfie with Christiana Figueres last Friday afternoon.

Christiana Figueres is arguably the climate heroine of our present. Lauded as the individual who made the 2015 UN COP Paris Agreement possible, she is a tour-de-force of climate commitment, optimism and encouragement. As the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), she presided over the first international binding commitment on greenhouse gas emissions made by world nations…ever.

Visiting Scotland to collect the Edinburgh Medal (awarded each year by the City of Edinburgh to a person of science and technology who is judged to have made a ‘significant contribution to the understanding and well-being of humanity’) at the Edinburgh Science Festival, Figueres often talks of challenging what we consider to be ‘feasible’ (a point particularly pertinent as Scotland discusses the level of ambition of our new Climate Change Bill), and seeing climate action as the biggest opportunity we have ever had. It is not hyperbole to cite her as inspirational: she needed to be in order to force international agreement.

2050 Climate Group was invited to participate in a roundtable of public, private and third sector leaders with Figueres during her visit to Edinburgh. Knowingly and obviously one of the youngest in the room, I was thrilled when she related her opening provocation – around rightful civic outrage, and radical optimism in the face of climate change – to the recent climate school strikes, and commended the actions of young people concerned about their future.

Days before, I had represented 2050 Climate Group as part of the ClimateXChange event ‘Climate Change Action in Small States’, taking place in the week that Edinburgh hosted a meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Sitting on a panel between hugely knowledgeable climate change scientists and policy makers, I was aware I stood out. I am not responsible for regional emissions figures or target reports, and the IPCC has been around longer than I have been alive. But in talking about the unique approach of our charity, and how it connects with the knowledge and political processes which structures climate change action, I am consistently excited and proud of what we achieve, and inspired to do more.

Young people are often-quoted as the motivators for decision making on climate change, yet rarely are they given the genuine opportunity to shape that future. At 2050 Climate Group we are committed to ensuring our generation are prepared with the knowledge of climate change and its impacts that they need for their personal, professional and civic lives, but also have the skills to influence those around them, the network to support them, and crucially, the opportunities to empower them with the agency to effect change.

Being invited to participate in these two events – speaking alongside climate heroes from research and policy – is for me an example of how young people are beginning to be recognised for the role they play, and should play, in climate change leadership. The school strikes inspired by the climate activism of teenager Greta Thunberg have recently demonstrated the depth of feeling of young people at the very ‘young’ end of the youth spectrum, but at 2050 Climate Group we have a generation of young adults already participating in our society and economy, and arguably one step closer to challenging the causes of climate change and dealing with its impacts.

It can be easy to dismiss young people, and the methods and tools we use to effect change. Selfies may be chastised for a variety of reasons, but for me, this image is not (just) narcissism, it’s evidence: a demonstration and a reminder that youth leadership is recognised, valued, and necessary.

2050 Climate Group is looking for new partners from all aspects of Scotland’s public, private and third sectors, and is interested to hear from those looking to engage, educate and empower future leaders within their organisations and across wider society to take action on climate change. If you are interested in discussing opportunities to work with us, please get in touch with