This year, “the climate” has exploded into our collective consciousness. Swedish teenager Greta and her solo “skolstrejk för klimatet” shook our perspective, David Attenborough solemnly shared the realities in Climate Change — The Facts and we were hit by headlines (and huge London delays) as communities came together under the banner of Extinction Rebellion.
At FutureGov, we’ve felt a seismic shift day-to-day, with environmental concern filtering into our conversations, our lives and our work. FutureGovers have been reflecting on our own behaviours and swapping tips about actions we can take as individuals and employees.
But what’s become clear is that together we can have a far bigger impact.
We’re making a commitment
As Global Climate Strike kicks off and FutureGovers head to the streets in solidarity, we’re declaring a climate and ecological emergency. Supporting our team to strike is the first step in a commitment to taking environmental action seriously at all levels of our organisation.
Recognising that we’re in a climate and ecological emergency pushes us to radically rethink, again, what it means to be a 21st-century organisation. Beyond adapting to change, a design mindset and leading in new ways, we have to adapt to meet the crisis we humans have imposed on our planet.
We’ve never been more serious about now being the time to build the organisations we need. Organisations that take responsibility for the climate and environment at all levels: from culture and ways of working to our collective purpose, and what we’re working for day-to-day.
Starting now, we’re taking action to support public sector organisations to respond to the climate crisis. We’re starting with proactively mitigating the environmental impact within our own business, recognising the influence we have on our sector, and thinking hard about how we can apply internet-era thinking to this emergency situation for our clients.
Looking at how we operate as an organisation
We’re fortunate to be part of a purpose-driven group of companies that’s taking this seriously. Last year, The Panoply offset all of the group’s scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions (our owned and bought emissions). And over the past few months, we’ve been working with our partner companies to identify what collective action looks like moving forward.
Over the next three months, we’ll be running an internal discovery to explore and reduce our environmental impact as an organisation. Looking at how we operate will enable us to experiment with ourselves and build a model of the company we want to see in the world.
Looking at our industry and practice
As designers, technologists and consultants, we’re asking, how can we influence our sector to adopt better practices?
Along with our partner companies, our friends and everyone we work with, we need to be the ones researching, implementing and advocating for the best practices to build a sustainable tech industry. We can’t wait for someone else to tell us how it should be done. This is about setting the standard, not waiting for the standard to be set.
Within design, we’re joining forces with other agencies to build better a better design practice as part of #designandclimate. We’re only at the beginning of this journey and as we learn by doing, we’ll be sharing good practice with our friends and network.
Working with clients and our collective impact
Beyond the humanitarian need to take action, the climate and ecological emergency brings big implications for any organisation, particularly for the public sector. Climate change will substantially harm landscapes, displace people and increase resource scarcity, not to mention escalate pressure on government bodies at a local, national and international level. Business as usual is not an option.
This year we’ve seen over 100 local authorities declare a climate emergency. In the face of austerity, with a very real need and energy to deliver better services for citizens, these same organisations need to radically change to build a better future.
We’ve been supporting public sector organisations for over a decade. And we’re ready to stand in solidarity and face up to the challenge together.
Do, or die
Between now and January, we’re driving forward on all these fronts, allocating time and resources to take this seriously. It’s time to stop discounting the future. We need drastic change and we need outstanding leadership.
True to form, we’ll be learning by doing, working in the open and being as transparent as possible about our thinking and our learnings.
This is the global challenge of our times. Let’s treat it like the emergency it is.
We’re interested in hearing from anyone in local government interested in how internet-era thinking can be applied to the climate and ecological emergency. Get in touch with me to get involved.
We’re declaring a climate and ecological emergency was originally published in FutureGov on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.