Addressing the challenge of climate change

Addressing the challenge of climate change

SEWF recognises that everyone has a role to play in addressing the climate crisis. We also recognise that some of our activity could be environmentally damaging unless balanced with a range of measures to address the challenge of climate emergency. As such, we developed a climate change strategy that allows us to address our environmental impact by working on carbon offset, digital participation, and ‘waste-free’ events.

Our Climate Change Strategy

Our climate change strategy is consistent with our mission to highlight a global impact economy’s ability to produce systemic change that results in a zero waste, zero carbon society. Our annual forum is critical to realising this mission as it builds connection, inspires fellowship, and engages both nascent and established social entrepreneurs in their cutting-edge work of creating this global impact economy. Our event has the potential to have a large carbon footprint, so SEWF is working to reduce our carbon footprint through all our activity in addition to purchasing verified carbon credits to offset our impact by 120%. In doing so, we position SEWF as a carbon-positive organisation.

This strategy addresses three key themes: offsetting the impact of SEWF travel, increasing digital participation, and greening the event. In addition, it focuses on monitoring and reporting so that performance can be continually improved. Areas for future consideration include raising awareness and supporting our community so SEWF can demonstrate leadership, inform, and support social enterprises and others on how to address climate emergency.

Travel and Carbon Offset

Beginning with SEWF 2021 (in 2020 the event will be fully virtual), all participants at our events will pay a mandatory carbon offset fee. The fee is calculated by estimating average journeys to the event using regional hubs around the world and converting mileage to cost using Sustainable Travel International’s Carbon Offset Calculator. The total cost is then evenly distributed among all participants. Our decision to implement a mandatory offset system based on estimated journeys was informed by stakeholder consultation. To address issues of accessibility and inclusion arising from this system, 50% discounts will be offered to those from low-income start-ups and from developing/ emerging economies, and for students. These offset payments will be shared between an international and local partner each year.

SEWF C.I.C. team and Board travel is also calculated and as SEWF C.I.C. is based in Scotland, all air travel and car journeys are offset through the global standard operator, Trees for Life.

Digital engagement

To ensure environmental damage is minimised, SEWF is building our capacity to engage participants digitally with our events. In 2020, we are hosting our first ever fully virtual global event, SEWF Digital. While we recognise the in-person networking at our forums is critical to building an effective movement, we also recognise there are more ways we can convene at these events that does less harm to the planet. Digital platforms and remote meetings will be leveraged to maximise our reach while minimising our environmental impact.

‘Waste-free’ event

SEWF aims to have green events where the measures taken to reduce environmental impact meet our “waste free” objectives while also informing and encouraging participants to adopt these measures in their own events. We will endeavor to be plastic free, to use local, and ideally social enterprise, recycling and catering companies, and to provide options for green hotels and homestays.

We will report on our outcomes and adjust our strategy as necessary. If you would like to learn more about our efforts, download our full climate change strategy document.

Our Carbon Offset Partners

These partners will be reviewed annually, always keeping in mind our commitment to local resilience and global impact. For SEWF 2021, our international offset partner is the SELCO Foundation in India and our local partner is Community Forests International based in Atlantic Canada. Our current offset partner for SEWF Board and team travel is Trees for Life, an organisation with a gold standard of accreditation for its carbon offset work in the Scottish Highlands.