Our Environmental Impact

We are committed to meeting our responsibility to reach net-zero and become nature positive, and to lead by example using evidence-led, bold and innovative methods.

Earth from space

Journey to Net Zero & Nature Positive

Rapid climate change and steep biodiversity loss are inextricably linked to each other and to human activities. The BES has therefore committed to becoming not only a carbon net zero organization, but also a nature positive one. In practice, this means we try to consider the carbon impact – and broader impact on nature – of all of our activities and projects from design to delivery. This is a part of our effort to embed a culture change among our staff and membership that puts nature at the heart of all decision making.

Alongside our ongoing and evolving carbon monitoring, in 2023 we have worked with Oxford-based consultancy Wild Business to scope out which BES activities may have negative impacts on biodiversity. Read about Wild Business’ recent work with The Guardian here. This scoping project is the first step on our journey to becoming nature positive, as we look to begin quantifying, monitoring, and reducing our negative impacts on biodiversity – and enhancing our positive ones.

Reducing carbon emissions

We have been recording and monitoring our carbon emissions since 2019. Each year, we publish our annual carbon report (see below) and explore our data to identify ways to reduce our carbon emissions.

So far, we have amended our travel policy (see below) for volunteers and staff, achieved high scores in sustainability benchmarking ratings (BREEAM excellent for our office building and SKA Gold for office fit out), moved to a fully renewable energy tariff, and switched to fully vegetarian catering at all BES events.

Each year we are developing our knowledge and are widening the scope of our accounting to better understand the BES’ impacts; from 2024 onwards we will be expanding our reporting to include our Training & Travel Grants, and our general day-to-day waste.

Keep an eye out for our 2023 carbon report in Spring 2024 to see how we are getting on.

Using Nature-based Solutions

The BES 2022 report on Nature-based Solutions states that “NbS have great potential to tackle the two defining crises of our age [climate change & biodiversity loss]”.

We are therefore committed to using high-integrity projects that also take biodiversity aspects into account to mitigate our residual carbon impact.

In 2022 and 2023 we have invested in peatland code accredited carbon projects, and entered into a partnership with Cashel Forest Trust to support their efforts to begin restoring degraded peatlands on their site near Loch Lomond, Scotland.

Read more about Cashel in the Autumn 2023 edition of the Niche – available to members only.

In 2024 and 2025, we will be exploring how to support solutions in a variety of UK habitats in addition to peatlands, to help realise positive impacts for carbon sequestration, biodiversity, and climate change mitigation.

Get In Touch: sustainability@britishecologicalsociety.org