Our commitment to sustainability

As a charity, we’re committed to reducing our environmental footprint to help preserve the planet for the children and young people across the UK.

We know that climate change is one of the most fundamental concerns for our young beneficiaries, and they expect us to take action and play our part.  

Our sustainability plan launched in 2021, outlines our charity’s commitment to sustainability and achieving net zero by 2050 or sooner.

We will start our journey of becoming sustainable by assessing our current environmental impact and setting out short, medium and long-term action plans and clear targets to measure our progress in five key areas: 

  • travel: reduce overall carbon emissions from colleague travel 
  • transport: decrease overall carbon emissions from Barnardo’s commercial and fleet vehicles 
  • procurement: increase Barnardo’s compliancy with responsible and sustainable procurement standards 
  • energy: reduce Barnardo’s overall carbon emissions and energy consumption across our property portfolio 
  • recycling: increase Barnardo’s waste efficiency across its services and operations 

To see how we’re doing in these priority areas, you can see our yearly progress in our annual impact report

Highlights of our sustainability work so far

Supporting young people through climate change

We recently worked with over 40 social and environmental charities through a partner organisation, to understand how the needs of children and young people can be addressed amidst the climate crises. Building on the external collaborative work, during this period Barnardo’s conducted internal research into how climate threats and opportunities could affect the delivery of children’s services. ‘A Greta Future’ explored key challenges, focusing on the psychological impact of the climate crisis on children and young people, and the importance of access to nature as a source of positive mental and physical wellbeing. Recommendations from the research will inform actions for Barnardo’s’ leadership across the charity.

Our energy efficiency campaign

In 2023, Barnardo’s launched an energy efficiency campaign and developed an enhanced Energy Efficiency Training Programme for all staff and volunteers, as well as an advanced specialist module targeted at staff members with the responsibility to affect change as part of their roles. Participants have been equipped with practical knowledge, tools, and data on consumption to enable them to implement measures and lead on energy reduction initiatives and CO2 management. Barnardo’s plan to embed the learning by continuously providing refresher courses and making the programme a key part of the mandatory training offer. We also use an Ofgem accredited renewable energy supplier.

Green home guidance

With Barnardo’s hybrid workplace offer enabling an increasing number of staff to work from home and in different locations, we have provided a Green Homes Guide to all staff. The guide covers a range of topics on energy saving to help them make sustainable changes when working at home.

Repurposing retail stores

Barnardo’s continue to repurpose new stores and superstores, utilising previous tenants’ fittings. Vacant new build premises are fitted out to a higher standard, incorporating modern design principles for improved thermal efficiency and reduced heating and cooling requirements.

Responsible and Sustainable Stewardship

We continue to prioritise responsible and sustainable stewardship in everything we do, ensuring environmental and social considerations are embedded in our decision making. We prioritise procuring from sustainable sources and have integrated sustainability criteria into our Procurement Processes to ensure suppliers have appropriate environmental protection measures.   

We have strengthened our Supplier Code of Conduct and we seek wherever possible to engage with suppliers on our sustainability plans, whether social or environmental to explore where we can deliver mutual benefits. We encourage our suppliers to follow (or exceed) our example and make their own commitments on sustainability.  Suppliers are expected to provide their policies, strategies and plans on sustainability at the time of selection and onboarding.

  • Our impact

    Find out more about the impact we had on the lives of children, young people and their families last year.

  • Who we are

    Learn more about who we are, our history, our values and strategy as well as our annual report.

  • Work with us

    Find out how to get a job at Barnardo's, partner with us or commission our work.