After receiving their first Green Mark certification in 2006, St Giles Trust, a charity supporting disadvantaged ex-offenders and homeless people, have now received their fifth Green Mark award.
The Trust’s Environmental Champion, together with a dedicated Green Team, have excelled in new areas such as biodiversity and communication and awareness, embedding environmental awareness into induction and training.
These achievements were in addition to activities with regards to waste management and minimisation, transport, energy usage and purchasing and procurement.
In these financially difficult times the charity is concentrating on a ‘reduce’ theme to save money as well reduce their carbon footprint and are aiming at a 5% reduction in energy usage.
To help them reach this milestone they have sought advice from the Carbon Trust on energy monitoring and bench marking.
They have also undertaken a lighting audit of their building, and an energy campaign is in place which aims to promote responsible use of lighting, computers and printers throughout the building by staff and clients.
To build interest in the campaign, the green team set up a competition between departments to encourage them to lower their energy usage. The department whose energy usage remained the lowest over a period of time won a prize.
St Giles also provide interactive training centred around subjects such as cycling, together with financial travel incentives aimed at promoting use of public transport, walking and cycling. This has been very successful in building commitment by staff to lower their environmental footprint.
They are encouraging sustainable travel during the Olympics period when roads and transport systems are predicted to be crowded.
They have also changed to a green car service (with a Prius fleet and double carbon offsetting), which they have found to be surprisingly cost effective.
St Giles Trust have consulted St Mungo’s, a homelessness charity and local charity, Walworth Garden Farm, about their garden area.
They are also looking into certificated horticulture courses for clients, with a view to increasing their chances of employment as well as trying to raise awareness of environmental issues such as biodiversity beyond staff and volunteers.
Beyond the Green Team, St Giles are aiming to incorporate an environmental agenda in general staff meetings. As a result, senior management plans to bring the topic of incorporating green issues into forthcoming managers’ meetings. They are also planning to roll out further environmental training elements for induction and also for clients and trainees where appropriate.
St Giles are continuing to build on these initiatives and aim to recertify their award in one year’s time, possibly to Green Mark Level 2.
For more information visit http://www.stgilestrust.org.uk.