COP26 offers a key opportunity to tackle climate change and have a lasting impact on young people’s futures. At Yes Futures, we believe that every individual, team and organisation has a key role to play in the fight against climate change. As a charity working directly with young people, we recognise that we have a fantastic opportunity to inspire the young people we work with to care for their environment and be responsible citizens.
We believe it’s vital that we embed environmental sustainability into all that we do, to create a brighter, more positive future for the young people we support. That’s why a key priority for Yes Futures over the last year has been launching our Environmental Working Group. The aim of the Working Group has been to review our Environmental Policy, improve our internal practices, and encourage all our employees and volunteers to reduce their environmental footprint.
A key focus area for the group has been reviewing the environmental impact of our trips, with a particular focus on our Into the Wild residential weekend. We run this trip 4-6 times per year and it has previously involved a significant amount of wastage, due to the printing of resources for volunteers and students. We have now significantly reduced this wastage by identifying the key information that is used on each weekend and laminating it, so that it can be reused by staff, volunteers and students on each trip. We have also significantly reduced the amount of single-use plastic that is used at each weekend by encouraging all students to bring their own water bottle.
Additionally, we've put a new travel system in place for all of our trips, to strongly encourage volunteers to join the school buses to take them to and from the trips to reduce single-person car journeys. We are also trying to establish new policies within the organisation to encourage environmentally friendly behaviours, such as reducing our single use plastic on Team Days.
We also want to encourage the students we work with to recognise the benefits of looking after their local environment. On our Play Your Part trips, students volunteer with a local community project to learn about the benefits of giving back to their community. We are particularly keen for students to take part in initiatives that contribute to the environmental sustainability of their community: for example, students recently built a wormery at a local farm to minimise waste.
We recognise that, while we have made progress, there is still much more to be done. Our team are committed to doing all that we can to improving our environmental impact and inspiring the young people we work with to support their local environment, to help create a better future for all young people.