It’s more important than ever for strong organisations to fight for a better environment, enforce climate action, and champion the most critical issues on our planet today. Inspirational people play their part in every country around the world, and Britain is no exception.
In no particular order or priority, here are 12 of the most influential and important environmental organisations in the UK.
Founded in 1992 as a result of the Earth Summit that year, the Energy Saving Trust started as a government sponsored initiative to promote efficient, clean energy and tackle climate change. Today, it operates in the form of an independent, non-profit organisation that works with consumers, businesses, and the government to advocate green energy solutions in the UK.
Founded in 1913, it’s the oldest ecological society in the world. Its 5000 members are committed to research and the spread of knowledge in ecological matters, including biodiversity and habitat conservation. It works to inform the nation, while also lobbying lawmakers and government agencies to promote scientific, evidence-based solutions in the UK.
Not just one, but a collection of 47 individual groups, The Wildlife Trusts work tirelessly to protect the natural environment in different parts of the UK. They are responsible for nature reserves, woods, and inner city parks, supported by their 800,000 members, who actively campaign for positive change on green issues.
Founded initially as a not-for-profit magazine, Ethical Consumer now functions mainly as a website, but its mission remains the same. It aims to promote sustainability in business practices, and it hopes to achieve this by encouraging consumer pressure. Through its research of more than 40,000 brands and products, it’s developed an ethical rating system to inform buying decisions which could lead to greener practices by companies in the future.
Friends of the Earth International started as a nuclear disarmament group in 1969, funded by American businessman and philanthropist Robert O Anderson. His first employee, Amory Lovins, established the organisation in the UK, where it now campaigns to save British bees, put an end to fracking, and reduce air pollution, among other worthy environmental causes.
This charitable body strives to promote scientific understanding, research, and debate around environmental topics, which it hopes will lead to the protection of the nature through sustainable development. The IES was founded in 1971, and is now international in its scope while maintaining its initial focus and working with the UK government to inform evidence-based, ethical policy-making.
A registered charity that was formed as long ago as 1926, CPRE works to protect the countryside of the UK from a multitude threats. It’s concerned with avoiding damage to the natural environment through better waste management, clean energy, and green transport systems. Its 60,000 members also aim to limit urban sprawl and conserve green belts, which was CPRE’s founding mission statement.
This UK-based independent charity was formed in 1955 by the National Federation of Women’s Institutes as a response to the increasingly damaging throwaway culture of 1950s Britain. It’s mission today remains unchanged – keeping litter off our streets. It believes that it can reduce the UK’s waste problems by campaigning to foster better societal values in industries and communities, and by informing government policy with evidence-based research.
The ELF is a registered charity whose president is HRH The Prince of Wales. Its goal is to help more people be heard regarding environmental matters that might otherwise go unnoticed. The group offers advice and information through its own law clinics, based in communities and universities, and also presides over a network of specialised lawyers and advisors who offer up their services pro bono.
The national recycling campaign for England is funded by the government and managed by WRAP, a charity that campaigns for measures leading to a sustainable, resource-efficient economy. It was started in 2004 and is used by more than 90% of local authorities in England today. By providing information about what can be recycled and how to dispose of waste that isn’t dealt with by local waste collection services, Recycle Now claims to have turned 6 out of 10 of us into avid recyclers.
The mission of the UK’s leading renewable energy trade association is to get green energy into more homes around the nation. Its membership varies from small independent businesses to massive corporations, which means its reach is wide and its influence can be massive. Formally the British Wind Energy Association, it was founded in 1978 and now has more than 660 corporate members employing 250,000 people.
The CCC is a public body devoted to tackling climate change and promoting a low-carbon economy. It was established under the 2008 Climate Change Act, and is responsible for advising the UK government. Its remit includes carbon emissions target monitoring, policy analysis, and engagement with other organisations and the community.
There are countless brilliant organisations doing sterling work for the environment and global climate. We’ve missed a lot in this list. Which UK-based organisations would you recommend?
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