Sign up to the Professional Bodies Climate Action Charter
Mobilising the collective voice of the millions of people who belong to professional bodies to talk about the need for climate action is just one of the aims of the Professional Bodies Climate Action Charter, explains Dr Colin Church, Chief Executive of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3).
The initiative was launched in November 2021, as part of COP26 conversations. The original idea came from climate change think tank E3G, who were looking to bring professional bodies together around London Climate Week. Alongside IOM3, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) were among the associations interested in helping the sector understand the steps they needed to take in relation to climate action.
These associations recognised the power that collective voice of millions of members would have in raising awareness of the need for such action, as well as the practicalities. In addition, with enough understanding of the issues, those professionals could talk to their colleagues, employers or clients, and encourage them to make better choices, adds Colin.
“For example, ICAEW have been looking at how accountants should be asking their clients questions like: ‘Are you measuring your carbon footprint? Are you reducing it? Why not?’ Whereas medical professionals could be asking in their hospital or clinic, ‘what are we doing about this? Here’s some information I've got about what we might do…’”
The founder members of the Charter are also looking for synergies between the wide range of organisations who have signed up.
“Often in the professional body world, people tend to coalesce around commonalities, and form their own separate communities of interest. Though crossing over between them is much more unusual, it can be more fruitful. Those organisations which have made greater progress on their sustainability journey can share some really interesting learning and experience with other bodies who have not yet got as far. The role of an initiative like the Charter is to bring that learning together and highlight it to the wider community.”
While it’s still relatively early days for the project, Colin and his fellow volunteers are developing materials on how organisations can tackle their own carbon footprint. The next step will be guidance for signatories to use to develop an action plan for their members.
How to get involved
Organisations can sign up to the charter as signatories or supporters. Signatories are professional bodies who are able to fully commit to the charter. Professional bodies who are not yet able to make the full commitment can become supporters. Similarly, organisations which, though part of the sector, are not professional bodies themselves, such as Society for the Environment (SocEnv) and Memcom, can also become supporters.
“The first commitment we actively ask people to sign up to is to chart the path to sustainability for their members. This is about developing climate action plans, making sure that we're clear on what we're doing in those plans, and reporting on our progress.
The second is speaking with a unified voice to and with professional bodies, government and the public. Bringing together that expertise in interdisciplinary ways as well.
Finally, to empower and inspire our members to drive sustainable growth by making sure that they have access to the right knowledge, CPD resources and so on, and then doing our own things in-house.
Most professional bodies are already doing some of that,” notes Colin.
Why your organisation should get involved
“If you want to be part of the process of agreeing the materials and developing the guidance provided to membership bodies in the future, now's the right time to join. Also, the sooner more people get involved, the faster the work will be done, and the better we will be able to support everybody in moving things forward.
Lastly, interdisciplinary collaboration is a unique selling feature for the Charter and its activities. And the wider the cross section of disciplines, the better, because we'll find more of those opportunities and more of those synergies,” concludes Colin.
To find out more, or sign up to the Charter, visit https://professionalsclimatecharter.org/charter/
Memcom is proud to be a supporter of the Professional Bodies Climate Action Charter.