National Trust’s ‘environmental dating agency’ slashes CO2 emissions

An 'environmental dating agency', which brings together like-minded companies at events and meetings to help them share energy-saving tips, has helped members save nearly 15,000 tonnes of CO2 over the past year.

The Fit for the Future Network, created by the National Trust and the sustainable energy charity Ashden, is made up of more than 80 organisations including the RSPB, Oxfam, RNLI, The Crown Estate, Tate and Cancer Research UK.

At more than 30 events, site visits and meetings hosted by the network, almost one thousand people from more than 100 organisations have been able to collaborate and share knowledge on sustainability. The practitioners involved range from those working in catering and procurement to gardeners, estate managers and sustainability experts.

The Network’s first progress report details the benefits enjoyed by member organisations. For example, the National Trust has saved enough money on electricity bills this year to pay for 36km of footpath restoration, whilst the RNLI’s expected income and savings from renewables could pay for 10 inshore rescue boats per year.

Network members, who collectively look after more than 40,000 buildings, have saved an amount of CO2 – equivalent to taking 1,766 trips around the world in an average petrol car in 2015.

Sarah Butler-Sloss, founder director of Ashden, said: “What is so important about this network is that it brings these organisations together to learn from each other and accelerate their energy reduction plans but not just that: the money saved on energy can be ploughed back into an organisation’s core services whether that is buying lifeboats, fighting cancer or preserving the UK’s heritage.

“It has been a busy year and we hope that with more funding and more organisations joining we can achieve even bigger savings and really make our UK buildings fit for the future.”

Going forward, the network will be widening its scope to cover all areas of sustainability including waste, water and food. 

Brad Allen

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