Commitment 3.3 We promote environmental stewardship and sustainability.

Compliance Indicators

Compliance with the Commitments will be assessed against the following Compliance Indicators. All of the applicable Compliance Indicators must be met by every ACFID Member to be considered compliant with the Code. Each of the Compliance Indicators has one or more compliance Verifiers. Verifiers are the description of evidence that is required to substantiate compliance with each Compliance Indicator. Guidance is also provided. 

3.3.1 Members demonstrate an organisational commitment to environmental sustainability and improved environmental outcomes in their development and humanitarian initiatives.

Verifiers

  • Policy, statement or guidance document committing the Member to promoting environmental sustainability and improved environmental outcomes in development and humanitarian initiatives.
  • Design or planning framework, tools, templates which require or approaches which consistently show evidence of the analysis of environmental risk and management.

Guidance

Your policy, statement or guidance document could include: an outline of the principles underpinning your organisation's approaches to mitigating negative impacts on the environment and promoting positive impacts in your partnerships and programs; and an outline of the procedures or practices required such as doing analysing the environmental risks and opportunities, environmental impact assessments or mainstreaming climate change adaption approaches as a cross cutting theme. The scope of this would likely be more comprehensive for organisations working in agriculture, water and sanitation or infrastructure construction and perhaps less comprehensive for organisation with a sole focus on education for example.

Your design or planning framework, tools and templates could include: explicit sub sections or prompts requiring analysis of environmental risk and opportunities; a design appraisal tool or set of criteria requiring an assessment of environmental risk and also identification of opportunities to promote positive environmental outcomes. 

3.3.2 Members demonstrate an organisational commitment to environmental sustainability and improved environmental outcomes in their organisation’s internal operations.

Verifier

Policy, statement or guidance document committing the Member to minimising the environmental impact of their organisation’s internal operations.

Guidance

Your policy, statement or guidance document could include: an outline of the principles underpinning your organisation's approaches to mitigating negative impacts on the environment within your domestic and international operations; and an outline of the procedures or practices required such as: paper recycling or limiting its use, switching off idle equipment and lights, avoiding paper products from native forests, avoiding bottled water, carefully planning transportation for field trips with consideration of CO2 emissions and using communication technologies and local capacity instead.

Good Practice Indicators

The following Good Practice Indicators describe a higher standard of practice than that set out in the Compliance Indicators. While Members do not need to meet the Good Practice Indicators to be considered compliant with the Code, they will self-assess against these indicators once every three years. This provides a clear pathway for Members to strengthen and improve practice over time.

  • Members have a focal person with responsibility for environmental sustainability.
  • Members address climate change mitigation, adaptation, and impact, and incorporate disaster risk reduction strategies in their programs wherever possible.
  • Members provide environmental sustainability and environmental impact training for their staff, volunteers and partners.
  • Members periodically report internally and to relevant stakeholders on their environmental sustainability and environmental impact achievements.                 
  • Members promote information about the impacts of climate change and environmental sustainability issues more broadly in their public communications.

GUIDANCE AND RESOURCES 

Good Practice Guidance

Here are some practical suggestions for your organisation to further deepen and improve practice over time. 

Organisational and policy

  • Create and document a policy on environmental sustainability and environment management which commits your organisations to minimise impact which relates specifically to the nature of your organisations work and partnerships. For example, organisations engaging in water and sanitation or natural resource management will require a more comprehensive policy than those only engaging solely in education. As an important policy, it should be ratified by the governing body and senior management.  Your organisation may also consider certifying this policy with ISO 14001.
  • Set performance targets at a strategic or organisational level related to minimising environmental impact in your domestic operations and in your aid and development activities. Ensure progress against these targets is tracked overtime. This could be through the development of an Environmental Action Plan that is reviewed on an annual basis.
  • Appoint a focal person within your organisation with accountability for monitoring the environmental impact of your aid and development activities.
  • Include an overview of the organisation’s commitments to evaluating and minimising environmental impact in the induction of all new staff
  • Document a toolkit and guidelines to support staff in implementing the organisation’s commitments to minimising environmental impact. Actions could include:
    • Paper recycling
    • Switching off idle equipment and lights
    • Avoiding paper products from native forests
    • Switching thermostats to more season-appropriate lower energy settings
    • Avoiding bottled water
    • Procurement policies that recognise sustainability objectives
    • Using energy management software for smart buildings
    • Using renewable power
    • Increasing awareness through posters, emails and internal staff newsletters
  • Provide formal training for relevant staff on environmental sustainability
  • Set performance targets to minimise environmental impact in your domestic operations and publicise them throughout your organisation. Targets could relate to:
    • The usage of material, energy and water
    • The energy saved due to conservation and efficiency improvements
    • Achievements in reducing greenhouse gas emissions
    • Progress in mitigating the environmental impacts of products and services
    • Transport
    • Biodiversity
    • Waste reduction
  • Include an overview of the organisation’s commitments to minimising and evaluating environmental impact during induction of new staff
  • Provide training and other awareness-raising initiatives for staff on environmental sustainability.
  • Publicise your commitment and your actions in your office and to your stakeholders on your website and in newsletters or similar
  • Monitor, review and report internally and externally on your environmental impact; this includes regular external reporting of performance against key environmental performance indicators
  • Appoint a focal person within your organisation responsible for monitoring and reporting environmental impact
  • Reward and incentivise relevant staff to monitor and reduce the organisation’s impact on the environment; include related targets in job descriptions and appraise staff against these annually.

Partners and external stakeholders

  • Collaborate with organisations that focus on and have expertise in environmental issues
  • Conduct screening of potential partner organisations to ensure they are committed to environmental performance and are not causing a negative environmental impact through their core business. (or incorporate environmental screening questions into an organisations corporate screening procedures to support the selection of partners committed to environmental sustainability)
  • Support the active participation of partners and community members in environmental governance and decision-making on natural resource management activities
  • Build awareness of the risks to the environment and environment management with partners and community members through training and discussion
  • Assist your partners to develop their own environment policies
  • Where relevant to aid and development activities, include explicit reference in partner agreements to expectations regarding the assessment of environment risk and impact, and ongoing monitoring of impact and mitigation strategies.

Programs

  • Undertake situational analyses including the assessment of risks to the environment. Use this to raise awareness with community members and project participants.
  • Include in project planning and design templates specific questions regarding the environmental impact of aid and development activities
  • Where there is a risk of environmental impact due to the nature of the aid and development activity, or where the location of the program has environment vulnerabilities, undertake an environment impact assessment and create mitigation strategies to inform project design
  • Assess new projects or concepts against criteria that includes risks to the environment and environmental impact
  • Include environmental impact indicators in project monitoring and evaluation
  • Using meetings, events and evaluations, reflect on how aid and development activities, partners and communities are supporting or impacting on the environment
  • Share reporting of performance against key environmental performance indicators with external stakeholders.
  • Plan transportation for field trips with consideration of CO2 emissions. Transport is an energy-intensive sector, accounting for approximately 23% of total global energy-related emissions.
  • Consider whether travel is necessary, and whether communication technologies and local capacity can be used instead.