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Joint ministerial and third sector task force on climate change, the environment and sustainability

Shaping our futureA thriving and committed third sector is a pre-requisite for successful action on climate change and other pressing environmental challenges. This task force was set up in April 2009 and worked over nine months to develop a vision for third sector action on climate change and the role of government and the third sector in achieving it. The ultimate aim of the task force was to enable a rapid acceleration of commitment and action on climate change throughout the third sector in order to meet this most urgent of challenges.

The task force was announced as part of Defra's third sector strategy in November 2008
and formally launched in March 2009, see press release. Ministers from Defra, DECC
and the Office of the Third Sector co-chaired the task TaskForce_orange_300force and Stephen Hale, then Green
Alliance director, acted as third sector co-chair. CLG also provided ministerial input and the task force's 16 other members were third sector leaders from a diverse range of organisations.
Green Alliance and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) acted as the secretariat for the task force.

The task force was a unique opportunity for a cross-government and cross-sector exploration of the opportunties that tackling climate change presents for the third sector. A great deal is already being done, but a dramatic increase in the quality and quantity of activity is needed if we are to succeed in shifting attitudes and commitment in the longer term.

TaskForce_blue_300The task force's joint report, Shaping our future, highlights the third sector's significant potential to contribute to a sustainable future by creating green jobs, providing sustainable public services, encouraging and supporting people in making pro-environmental choices, and helping to build resilient communities. The task force's vision is for a third sector that "shapes the future by mobilising and inspiring others to tackle climate change and maximising the social, economic and environmental opportunties of action." They focused on developing actions and commitments by government and third sector actors that will help to realise this vision. Some examples include:

  • A DECC commitment to developing a third sector strategy;
  • New principles for leadership on climate change by third sector infrastructure bodies,
    TaskForce_red_300which all infrastructure bodies on the task force have commited to;
  • Introduction of a new good practice standard on environmental responsibility into the Charity Commission guidance Hallmarks of an effective charity; and
  • A Defra and ACEVO commitment to agenda setting research on sustainable public services and the third sector's role in developing them.

Shaping our future was launched on 9 March 2010 at an evening event with a panel discussion involving Huw Irranca-Davies MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at Defra, Joan Ruddock MP, Minister of State at DECC, Angela Smith MP, Minister for the
Third Sector, Stuart Etherington, chief executive of NCVO, Sir Paul Ennals, chief executive
of the National Children’s Bureau and Sylvia Brown, chief executive of ACRE. The event
will be chaired by Stephen Hale, Green Alliance director and third sector chair of the
task force.

Download Shaping our future here
Read the launch press release here 

If you would like to find out more about the task force’s work please contact Faye Scott.


This work is funded by Defra.