Foreword

 

What is the CIDSE Ecological Footprint?

The ‘CIDSE Ecological Footprint’ offers ways for the CIDSE network to assess and reduce its ecological footprint. The CIDSE secretariat and several member organizations have been thinking about the environmental impact of their own work for many years. The CIDSE Ecological Footprint forms a crucial step in collecting and showcasing all these valuable experiences from the CIDSE network. It shows us where we stand as a network and how we can move forward together. In line with our continued efforts to make CIDSE a true learning network, the CIDSE Ecological Footprint is designed to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and experience and to foster cross-fertilization across the CIDSE network. We hope that it will actively support our network in walking the talk when looking at our own environmental impact. It further aims to inspire and help us all continue to reflect, question and challenge ourselves and our own organizations and to take practical steps to minimize our own environmental impact.

CIDSE’s work on ecological footprints is a dynamic process that will continue to develop and evolve with the CIDSE network. In that sense, it is just a starting point, a first step together. The online format allows us to review, update and add stories, achievements, inspirational practices and resources from CIDSE members and, in a second phase, from partners and allies too. We hope it can serve as a firm basis to continue thinking about, discussing and sharing ways to reduce CIDSE’s ecological footprint further.

 

Why was it developed?

As a network we strive for transformational change to end poverty and inequality, challenging systemic injustice, inequity, the destruction of nature and promoting fair, environmentally sustainable alternatives. This is reflected in our daily work on climate justice, energy and food systems, corporate regulation, and land rights where we advocate actively for governments and corporations to stop harming our common environment, health and future. Through our work with members, partners and allies, we have widespread, direct insights into the dramatic, devastating social and ecological impacts of our resource-hungry economy and way of life. In our personal lives and in all aspects of what we do as a network, we are therefore especially called upon to act in a manner that is climate- and environmentally-responsible.

As calls for urgent transformation towards a fair, sustainable world become ever louder, we need bold, ambitious and immediate action at various levels. The increasingly tangible effects of climate change on our daily lives and especially on the most vulnerable, remind us we must act. With the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015, countries agreed to keep the global temperature increase well below 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C. However, emission reductions, as currently set out in countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions, will not be enough to achieve that goal and put us on a path towards a low-carbon society. As we continue to urge policy makers to provide prompt, clear solutions and as we continue to mobilize, support and call for a fair transition to a more sustainable, liveable future, we recognize that together we hold the key to bringing about the change we need and reducing our carbon dioxide emissions. Climate change demands profound, radical shifts from current production and consumption patterns, requiring us to make the way we work more sustainable.

The changes we envisage that will lead to a fair, sustainable world cannot happen without the personal commitment of the many. There are practices we, as individuals, communities and organizations can adopt to create the kind of world we want to see. Our actions can be the seeds of a new way of life and the driver for policy makers to move from words to action.

At CIDSE, we are convinced that this change also needs to happen at organizational and network level. Our mandate to work on assessing and reducing the environmental impact of our network is fully embedded in our current Strategic Framework and Operational Plan. Under our ‘Change starts with us’ organizational priority, we are working to create structural conditions that will contribute to bringing about systemic change. Within that priority, it is not just about the work that we do as a network to move towards a transformation for a fair, sustainable world, but also about looking at how we operate in our network and the impact our own work has on the environment. We need to own the change we want to see and undergo an organizational transformation ourselves. This includes evaluating our practices based on their ecological impact and striving to reduce CIDSE’s ecological footprint further.

Our work on ecological footprints is also deeply rooted in the principles and values of Catholic Social Teaching. In his Encyclical, Laudato Si’, Pope Francis called for an ecological conversion entailing profound transformation towards a more sustainable way of living and a moral imperative to answer “the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth” in our daily actions. For the whole CIDSE family, the Pope’s encyclical has inspired them to start looking at their own environmental impact as an organization or move up a gear in what they have been doing.

 

Who is it for?

The CIDSE Ecological Footprint will be ‘released’ in two stages. In its initial stage, it has been developed mainly for internal reflection by CIDSE members and the CIDSE secretariat. Limiting its initial scope will allow us to continue to collect experiences of CIDSE members and develop the tool further. However, in the future, we intend to open it up to CIDSE’s allies and partners.

In the coming months, the CIDSE secretariat will use several opportunities (both online and offline) to share the CIDSE Ecological Footprint. We believe that sharing and discussing ways of reducing our ecological footprint further is not something we should be doing in isolation but should be part of permanent dialogue with our members, partners and allies both in the Global North and the Global South.

 

How can it be used?

The way the CIDSE Ecological Footprint was conceived allows it to be used in multiple ways. It was developed to accommodate a variety of needs that CIDSE members might have in terms of support to continue their work on their ecological footprint.

  • You can join in celebrating the achievements of other CIDSE members in reducing their ecological footprint;
  • You can read their stories about when, why and how they started working on reducing their ecological footprint and some of their achievements so far; in recent years, we have seen the power sharing stories has had in inspiring change around us: we hope to continue and foster this process.

Based on valuable experience from the CIDSE network, the ‘CIDSE Ecological Footprint’ also includes many ideas on how to advance work on ecological footprints, including:

  • lessons based on some CIDSE members’ experience about how to assess organizational ecological footprint and on how to embed this work into an organization;
  • concrete, inspirational practices compiled from CIDSE members, on reducing their organizational ecological footprint while traveling, in the office accommodation and in other activities such as events and workshops;
  • questions for the CIDSE network to reflect on and discuss further;
  • and a resource section containing links to various materials from CIDSE members on ecological footprints.

Would you like to share your organizations’ experience with work on ecological footprint? Or additional information or resources?  Please let us know! Giorgio Gotra [gotra(at)cidse.org] or Nicky Broeckhoven [broeckhoven(at)cidse.org]

Members' stories

Many CIDSE members have been thinking about and acting on ecological footprints and sustainable lifestyles for many years. This section showcases some of the amazing work already going on in the CIDSE network. Below, various members share their ecological footprint journeys with us. They tell us when and why they started looking at their own footprint, describe how they went about it and highlight their main achievements so far.

Their journeys show a wide range of approaches to working on assessing and reducing an ecological footprint. Various entry points are possible and there is no ‘one size fits all’ way of tackling ecological footprints and sustainability in an organization. Much depends on the size of the organization, its resources (staff, time and budget), and the degree of commitment and support at different levels.

Their journeys further demonstrate that work on an ecological footprint does not happen in a perfectly linear process and that it takes time get everyone on the same page. Some CIDSE members first started looking at the environmental impact of their work and activities almost ten years ago, however, that does not mean that such efforts have always been consistent. Various members report that work on their ecological footprint has fluctuated: sometimes there was progress, other times there was a standstill.

Work on ecological footprints in the CIDSE network has already resulted in many concrete achievements. Several CIDSE members now have sustainability policies or guidelines in place. Some have set-up, or are in the process of setting-up, a dedicated team or working group to focus on their ecological footprint and green policy. Some have set targets and succeeded in making substantial emission reductions in areas like travel or office-related activities. It is important to recognize and celebrate these achievements as the CIDSE network continues to reflect, discuss and share on ways to reduce our ecological footprints further.

Broederlijk Delen established a working group on ‘green policy’ in 2010, as part of its corporate social responsibility. The working group had its ups and downs, since it was seldom a priority for participants, but little by little the ‘green policy’ grew. Policies were put in place, and employees became more and more conscious of the adagio ‘practicing what you preach’. Management supported the working group from the start, which facilitated activities and new policies. We worked on a broad range of issues and achieved significant results on ‘sustainable food’ and ‘domestic travel’. Activities such as vegetarian potlucks and lunch talks have been popular with staff. Since 2019 we have focused on 2 or 3 policy areas per year. In 2019 these were ‘energy consumption’, ‘international travel’ and ‘communication’. In 2020 we are looking at ‘sustainable food’, and ‘divesting’. We are aware of the growing climate challenges the world is facing, that need greater change than most organisations have been able to make over the last ten years. This is a central area of concern in our future plans.

To learn more about some of our achievements, click here

CAFOD has worked on issues of environment and climate change for decades through our own operational work, our international programmes overseas and the Catholic Community in England and Wales. We have seen first-hand the devastating impacts of climate change and environmental destruction on our partners and we have seen how the Catholic community has mobilised to change themselves and challenge the situation.

Drawing inspiration from Laudato Si’, we have been challenged to hear “the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” across all of our work. Our 2020-30 strategic framework Our Common Home has a commitment to “an ecological conversion to transform ourselves”. One of the measures of our ecological conversion is that CAFOD will “exemplify environmental stewardship and be net carbon neutral by 2030”. Within our International Programme we are committed to an integral ecology approach.

Our environmental policy has been updated in line with our new strategy and is guided by an Environmental Stewardship Working Group. We commit to both protect the environment through reducing any negative environmental impacts across all our operations and programme work; as well as to regenerate the environment. The 2019/20 annual report will have a section on environmental stewardship and we will start to publish our carbon footprint from 2020/21.

To learn more about some of our achievements, click here

Environment and ecology have always been important themes in our organisation but particularly in programmes abroad where support for small-scale farmers’ groups on agroecology has predominated over recent years. But why work on agroecology with partners abroad but not here in Belgium? This inconsistency could no longer be justified and therefore we started looking at agroecology here in Europe, promoting better public policies and then looking at our own ecological footprint. Indeed, we felt we should set an example for our partners abroad and external and internal stakeholders. Around 2015 we also drafted our “Politique de Développement durable(Sustainable Development Policy). It also happened that our major institutional funder, the Belgian Development Cooperation Ministry, was keen for NGOs it supported to have such a policy. Our environmental commitment was boosted when we applied for and achieved the green label (Label Entreprise Ecodynamique) issued by the Brussels Region in 2015 and again in 2019. Having a written policy on sustainable development in place and receiving an environmental label really helped us increase staff, volunteer and donor motivation while, at the same time, demonstrating clearly our commitment to environmental causes.

To learn more about some of our achievements, click here

At eRko we try to do a little bit every day. For example, travelling by public transport, reducing the number of cars used to attend gatherings or meetings, and favouring rail travel and car sharing. When we host guests or organize seminars and workshops, we purchase food and refreshments in zero-waste shops. Whenever possible and when it makes logistical sense, we encourage rail over air or car travel (e.g. meetings with partners in Austria). Unfortunately, we have no clear policies on systematically reducing our ecological footprint.

FEC has been working on sustainability and its ecological footprint since 2011, as part of sustainability lifestyles campaigns. However, we are not working on an organizational ecological footprint. Currently, we have no policy or written procedures on this. Nevertheless, we do have some sustainability practises in our organization to reduce our ecological footprint. We were challenged by CIDSE to start working on these issues. Once we analysed the situation in Portugal and around our local partners, we concluded that sustainability was directly related to our mission. We therefore started working on these issues regularly with schools, campaigns, local partners, producers, small farmers and decision makers (local, national and European). Now, ‘sustainable lifestyles’ is one of the main axes of FEC’s Strategic Plan for 2017-2021.

To learn more about some of our achievements, click here

Within our organization, a higher sensitivity on this issue was mainly developed thanks to the release of Pope Francis’ Encyclical on (integral) ecology – Laudato Sí in 2015. The work behind the organization of several national and international climate pilgrimages contributed to reinforce the encyclical message. Another factor that played a key role in this process was the personal commitment of our staff. In this sense, a concrete and recent example of how we keep the awareness on these topics ‘alive’ was the return of our youth supporters from the CIDSE “Change for the Planet, Care for the People” youth camp, organized by CAFOD in the UK in august 2019. Once back at the office, thanks to their experience at the six-days camp, our young colleagues shared with the rest of the team the need for FOCSIV to address its own ecological footprint by looking at our use of disposable plastic, the way we set-up our heating systems, the use of cars and the office staff mobility, the budget management, … So, although we do not have any sustainability policies in place yet, we are aware of the importance of this topic.

For the KOO network, this process really started in 2015. At that time, the Austrian Bishops’ Conference issued a climate protection declaration in which it set three goals for the Austrian Catholic Church including the development of (1) climate protection and energy strategies with implementation plans, (2) eco-social procurement rules and (3) sustainability guidelines in all dioceses. As sustainability guidelines were already being developed in different dioceses, it made no sense for KOO to draw up their own comprehensive sustainability guidelines for the organizations active in the global church and international development aid. So, they decided to draft KOO Guidelines on Climate Protection that would allow them to incorporate the pre-existing guidelines into their operations and they picked out and supplemented key aspects relevant for their network. Based on these guidelines, they asked their member organizations to pick at least three points on which they wanted to work for a year. In the beginning, some of their smaller members were a bit worried because they did not have much capacity to start this work. However, they soon realized that they were already doing a great deal and that some actions could be accomplished easily. Some of the biggest members have their own green office/sustainability guidelines in place.

For more than 60 years, MISEREOR has been involved in international development projects, including protecting the environment and sustainable economic activity, so that future generations can live on our planet. From the very beginning, MISEREOR has called on Germany’s people and decision makers to look at and reduce their consumption of resources. MISEREOR asks the same of itself. Sustainable budgeting is a top priority. That is why MISEREOR has adopted a sustainable procurement policy and has systematic environmental management in place in accordance with the EU’s Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), including external validation. Our objective is to avoid or reduce CO2 emissions caused by MISEREOR’s work and compensate for all remaining emissions via the Church’s Klimakollekte’ offset fund. By embedding environmental criteria in development cooperation, the Christian mission to preserve creation also acquires an international, global dimension in our project work. Involving project partners internationally, and business partners regionally and nationally, is intended to create a collective consciousness about sustainable living and working. Through its environmental management system, MISEREOR is aiming to establish its own credibility and serve as a model for other groups and institutions in the Church and society. Together with MISEREOR, its employees are also setting an example of how to contribute to a sustainable lifestyle.

Trócaire has been responding to the impacts of climate change in the poorest countries of the world for more than a decade. We support communities to pick up the pieces when climate related disasters strike and to increase their resilience in the face of future climate shocks. We also campaign for action at national and international levels and raise awareness and encourage action in Ireland. We have made a number of attempts to address our organizational carbon footprint. Our most recent initiative – GLAS (Irish for Green) started in 2016. We have a working group in place and a champion for GLAS on our Executive Leadership Team. We gather data annually from all our offices on the carbon emissions from air and road travel, paper and energy use. Since 2017 we have set annual reduction targets for our emissions. GLAS policies are embedded into the organization’s annual planning and budgeting processes with a view to ensuring continued and consistent emissions reductions and to ensure care for our environment is central to all our activities.

To learn more about some of our achievements, click here

At the CIDSE secretariat, developing and implementing policies to assess and reduce our ecological footprint has been a progressive process that started more than 10 years ago. Over the years, we have been looking at the ecological impact of transport and travel, which constitutes a large part of our carbon emissions, the impact of day-to-day office activities such as electricity, water and paper consumption, and we have been considering the environmental impact of events that we organize or host. In this process, there have been many informal steps (through meetings and discussions) but also other important formal steps. Since 2010, we have policies in place covering food, buildings, travel and IT. In 2016, work on our ecological footprint was incorporated into the CIDSE Strategic Framework and Operation Plan. This has provided a clear mandate to continue work on assessing and reducing our environmental impact in a more consistent way, including creating spaces for sharing and learning between members and monitoring and evaluating progress to date. It has led to adopting a sustainable office strategy and an updated, revised sustainability policy covering various categories of work operations (including travel, office and activities). It is a process to which various staff and CIDSE members have contributed.

Would you like to share your organizations’ journey with work on ecological footprint? Please let us know! Giorgio Gotra [gotra(at)cidse.org] or Nicky Broeckhoven [broeckhoven(at)cidse.org]

Assessing and Embedding

In the CIDSE network, we feel a real need to reflect on and consider the environmental impact of our own activities and to challenge ourselves constantly to reduce our ecological footprint further and thus help stop global warming. The section above highlighted the incredible work already being done by CIDSE members and the CIDSE Secretariat. This has generated a wealth of information that offers valuable lessons for moving work on ecological footprints forward. It has allowed us to gather many concrete inspirational practices covering various areas including travel, office-related practices and activities. Members’ experience has also allowed us to identify factors that have proven to be crucial but challenging in successfully embedding work on an ecological footprint in an organization or network.

Since ‘measuring is knowing’, experience in the CIDSE network shows that a first key step in assessing ecological footprint is knowing where your organization stands. That is why we will begin by sharing some of the experiences of CIDSE members with assessing their ecological footprint and highlight certain important steps in this process. However, measuring and setting reduction targets is only one part of the process. Members’ experience has also shown that there are several factors that can have a major influence on an organization successfully achieving targets and goals it has set. These factors, discussed in section II, include incorporating work on ecological footprints into a broader organizational context and gaining support at different levels in the organization.

MEMBERS’ EXPERIENCE WITH ASSESSING THEIR ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT

Reducing your ecological footprint as an organization requires an assessment of your current environmental impact as an organization. CIDSE members have done this in various ways. Despite the different systems used in the CIDSE network to assess ecological footprints and the different ‘stages’ members are at; some steps are crucial in this process. These include: assessing the environmental impact of what your organization does, prioritizing certain areas to focus on or reduce and identifying and setting targets and ways to reduce your ecological footprint further. However, assessing your ecological footprint is not a linear process. Some members stress the need to consistently identify areas for improvement.

ASSESS IMPACT

To assess the current state of your environmental impact as an organization, you have to carry out an analysis and evaluation of the relevant environmental aspects connected with your activities. To this end, some CIDSE members conducted an environmental audit and/or have hired a consultant to help them to set up measurement and evaluation systems. Others have developed their own internal systems and, where possible, used existing online measuring tools and facilities. Much has depended on the resources and the capacities available within individual organizations.

Some of the challenges CIDSE members faced with assessing impact included problems related to data gathering and capture (e.g. absence of necessary data, data gaps or issues with access and storage of data) and underestimating resource and time requirements involved in accessing data and completing assessments. A good example of the first point is working with available online calculators to assess the environmental impact of travel. For calculating CO2 emissions from air travel, for example, there is still much uncertainty about the factor by which actual emissions must be multiplied to have a true idea of the full climate impact.

PRIORITIZE IMPACT AREAS

Based on the assessment of where they are as an organization, some CIDSE members then identified certain impact areas they would prioritize in their work on their organizational ecological footprint. It is best to base this prioritization on both the environmental relevance (low, medium, high) of an organization’s areas of activity and the opportunities for change (low, medium, high).

Assessing the organizational ecological footprint revealed that for many CIDSE members, travel is the biggest source of CO2 emissions (see also ‘inspirational practice’ section of this tool) making it an important area to focus on. However, for several reasons this is not an area where you can make changes easily. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, various short-term adjustments (e.g. moving to online working) have allowed us to avoid travelling, however, these are not all long-term solutions and travel will remain important for some of our work. Some CIDSE members have, for example, pointed out in their environmental policies that, while international travel accounts for a large part of their CO2 emissions, this cannot always be reduced further due to their mandates as organizations. This aspect merits to be further discussed in a more holistic way, considering the many needs and objectives of our work.

Furthermore, the areas that generate the biggest environmental impact might not always be areas where you can make short term reductions. CIDSE members commented that combining longer term, aspirational steps with short term, immediate results are important in providing the visibility and buy-in needed to achieve longer term, aspirational goals (see section II).

SOME CONCRETE EXAMPLES FROM MEMBERS: 

BROEDERLIJK DELEN identified several areas to work on. Each year they pick three areas of their ‘Green Policy’ action plan to improve further. For 2019, these were communication (internal and external), travel (flying) and energy. For 2020, they are looking at food, investment/divestment and buildings. (incl. ‘buen vivir’ at work) (Green Policy Working Group – Working method and planning 2018-2021).

Based on the first phase of their environmental audit, MISEREOR identified international, non-European business trips and materials production as suitable candidates in terms of environmental relevance and opportunities for change. In the future, however, their environmental team identified opportunities and a need for action in European travel, events, heating and procurement. Materials production also remains on the agenda (Misereor Environmental Programme 2019-2021).

TRÓCAIRE initially identified three areas to focus on (international and domestic travel, and internal and external print). They then added energy and waste (TOR, Glas Initiative, March 2016).

SET GOALS AND TARGETS

Besides assessing and prioritizing key impact areas, it is also good to set yourself concrete targets as an organization. Several CIDSE members are currently looking into how best to set their reduction targets. Their experience shows that there are a couple of ways to go about it. One can be just to set a target, even if it is not based on anything particularly scientific. This was advice that one CIDSE member got from their environmental consultant. The reasoning behind it is that it is always good to have something to work towards. You might overshoot the target, you might not reach it, but at least it is focusing people’s minds on that reduction target. Another method is to base yourself on internationally agreed reduction targets. Some members try to model their base annual reduction targets on implementing the Paris agreement targets, i.e. -40% emissions by 2020, -60% by 2030; zero emissions from 2050 onwards.

EMBEDDING SUSTAINABILITY AND ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT ASSESSMENT INTO YOUR ORGANIZATION

When starting to work on reducing your organizational ecological footprint, often it is important just to begin with small steps. These are steps that can be achieved easily but that are visible and can be communicated and celebrated within the organization. This can build the motivation needed to move forward and take other steps to reduce the environmental impact further. As one CIDSE member said in their story “we try to do a little bit every day”.

However, really embedding work on ecological footprint assessment in organizational structures does have clear benefits, particularly when it comes to scaling up your efforts. CIDSE members are exploring different ways to make this happen. Their experiences show that there are several factors that can have a major influence on an organization succeeding in reaching the goals and targets it set. These include:

  1. embedding work on ecological footprints in strategic and planning instruments in your organization,
  2. having dedicated resources (both in terms of budget and staff),
  3. ensuring there is broad-based support in your organization,
  4. communicating externally about work on your ecological footprint,
  5. sharing experience with other organizations, partners, and networks

For more information about each of the factors above, click on the visual below. 

Sharing Communication Support Base Resources Framework

Inspirational practices

This section showcases some of the inspirational practices on ecological footprints happening within the CIDSE network. These are of course not exhaustive, but they do provide a good picture of different options CIDSE members are considering when working on their organizational environmental impact. Some of these practices are already in place, while others are still aspirational in nature. At the moment, this section represents a collection of inspirational practices from Broederlijk Delen, CAFOD, Entraide & Fraternité, Fastenopfer, KOO, Misereor, Trócaire and the CIDSE Secretariat. All have policies or guidelines in place to facilitate their work on their ecological footprints. These instruments are dynamic, living documents that are regularly updated and adapted to local/regional contexts. Some members provide detailed practical information on how to implement their guidelines, for example, as an appendix to their policy. This might include specific requirements for activities or product groups (catering or office equipment) and concrete ‘procurement tips’ regarding products and places.

As the CIDSE Ecological Footprint will be revised and updated regularly, more inspirational practices from other CIDSE members will be added in the future.

Travel Activities Office

Reflection topics

Offsetting emissions

Some CIDSE members have been thinking about how to offset unavoidable emissions. Some currently offset unavoidable emissions through external offsetting organizations. Others opt to offset differently, reasoning that their own organizations already support ‘compensatory’ activities and that ‘offsetting’ money that could go to their partners and environmental work would otherwise be spent outside the organization. In addition, some do not want to give the impression that offsetting solves everything – an impression that could possibly lead to more emissions and would risk compromising overall emission reduction. On top of that, there is the question of balancing an entire organization’s negative and positive effects.

The question of whether to offset or not and how to offset is not an easy one and various issues need to be taken into consideration. However, it is important for decisions on emission reductions and offsetting to be thoroughly discussed internally with the organization or network for them to be supported by everyone in the organization.

Divestment

Inspired by the encyclical, Laudato Si’, more and more Christian organizations and institutions around the world no longer wish to invest their money in fossil fuel sectors but in economic activities that help bring about the transition to a sustainable and climate-friendly future. This is based on an awareness that they have a responsibility in achieving a rapid, equitable transition from the ‘fossil era’ to clean energy for all and a low carbon economy. Some CIDSE members have pledged to stop investing financial reserves in shares or funds involving the exploitation of fossil fuel and withdraw any investments in fossil sectors in the coming years and reinvest in sustainable development, renewable energy and the transition to a low carbon economy.

Time has come to take stock of the practical implementation of those pledges within the CIDSE network, to learn from the different experiences and to move fully out of any fossil fuel investments across the network by developing practical sustainable and responsible investment guidance.

Impact of travel-related footprint measures on work with partners

This ‘reflection and discussion’ question links to a broader discussion about what a reduction in intercontinental travel might mean for the work of the CIDSE network and its members with partners overseas. Some members mentioned that cutting back the number of intercontinental trips to reduce carbon emissions from air travel would inevitably have an impact (especially in the long term) on their work with partners. It would, for example, require increased partner capacity and resource strengthening and having partners do more of the work CIDSE members traditionally do. It is also a discussion that needs to involve donors. They often insist on travelling to partner countries, for initial, mid-term and final visits and evaluation. Is this real necessary and could other tools and procedures be used and implemented to meet the same requirements? Reflection and discussion on the impact of changes to travel-related footprints on work with partners is something that will become increasingly important for the CIDSE network.

Environmental impact of digital communication

The section on ‘inspirational practices in the CIDSE network’ shows that many CIDSE members are increasingly moving away from distributing printed materials towards more digital communications, whenever possible. This includes moving annual reports to digital formats; storing material online rather than printing it; replacing travel by videoconferencing etc. However, digital communication also consumes energy and contributes to the CIDSE network’s environmental footprint. At least one CIDSE member, for example, is looking into the energy consumption of its servers and ways to clear out its servers (mainly relating to photo and video material) to avoid the need for increased server capacity and storage. It is a topic that warrants more attention in the broader context of the CIDSE network’s ecological footprint.

Resources

Sustainability policies or guidelines adopted by CIDSE members:

Including ecological footprints in member organisations’ annual reports:

Information on organizational ecological footprints on member’s websites:

Encouraging staff, volunteers and followers to consider the ecological footprint of their own lifestyles:

Considering the environmental impact of youth activities:

External calculators that can be used when calculating emissions:

Relevant CIDSE publications:

Other relevant resources:

Would you like to share your organizations’ experience with work on ecological footprint? Or additional information or resources? Please let us know! Giorgio Gotra [gotra(at)cidse.org] or Nicky Broeckhoven [Broeckhoven(at)cidse.org]