Charity wins top green award

The environmental achievements of a Devon-based charity have been recognised with a top international accreditation.

In the past year Devon Wildlife Trust has targeted the impact it and its 80 staff have on the environment. As a result the charity has been able to reduce its gas consumption at its Cricklepit Mill headquarters in Exeter by 55%. Its electricity consumption across all its properties has also been reduced by 20%. A hydro-turbine installed at the Mill is also helping The Trust generate 40 kilowatts of its own clean, green electricity each day from water power – equivalent to around 50% of the building’s total supply.

The Trust has also substantially reduced the amount of waste which goes in its dustbins, increasing its recycling rates from 45% to a whopping 89%.

These positive changes have brought recognition with them. After a rigorous audit, Devon Wildlife Trust has just seen its top international accreditation for Environmental Management Systems, called ISO14001, renewed by the British Assessment Bureau.

Stuart Hodgkiss has led the charity’s drive to reduce its carbon footprint and other environmental impacts. Stuart said:

“Because of our work with wildlife we need to be an organisation that minimises any impacts on the local environment. Over the last two years we’ve reviewed every area of our work. The changes we’ve made have often been straightforward but they have made a good deal of difference. Our energy consumption is something we’ve worked especially hard to reduce and by turning down the ambient temperatures in our buildings, fitting ‘smart’ meters and installing low energy computers we’ve made real progress.”

Stuart added:

“Getting recognition with the award from the British Assessment Bureaux shows we’re heading in the right direction. We’re now looking to other areas where we can do better. For example, in March 2016 we’re opening a visitor centre in East Devon. Seaton Jurassic will have a café and shop and in both we’re putting in place a sustainable procurement policy. This will mean that our visitors can buy with confidence in the knowledge that their food and gift purchases will combine high ethical standards with low environmental impacts.”

Another area of The Trust’s work which will come under the green spotlight will be its use of vehicles. In 2015 staff trialled a number of electric vehicles and the charity now has a plan to begin to replace some of its conventional petrol cars with zero-emission models.