BMC commits to reach net zero by 2040 – ten years ahead of Government’s own target

Posted by Catherine Flitcroft on 13/02/2023

Halving emissions by the end of the decade and cutting greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as possible by 2040 are the ambitious goals set out by the National Governing Body in order to ‘lead by example and play its part in tackling the climate crisis’.

According to a report published today by the BMC - which represents climbers, hillwalkers and mountaineers in England and Wales - the organisation will be decarbonising the way it operates as well as advocating for climate actions across its 83,000-strong membership, and with those it works with.

This follows analysis, carried out by Anthesis, revealed that;

  • The BMC’s operational carbon footprint, covering those emissions from its own energy use and from travel by staff and volunteers to BMC events, was 60 tonnes CO2e in 2021. The majority of this (65 tonnes / 85%) came from staff and volunteer travel and the rest (9 tonnes / 15%) came from electricity and gas use in the BMC offices and Don Whillans hut.
  • This is higher than 2020 (43 tonnes) but significantly lower than in 2019 (146 tonnes) due to the impact of the pandemic on travel and working from home and the use of renewable electricity from mid-2020 onwards.
  • The largest part of the BMC’s carbon footprint comes from the indirect impact of its operations including greenhouse gases produced as a result of the goods and services it buys and participant travel to the events it organises.
  • In 2021 these emissions were 340 tonnes – making the BMC’s total footprint five times larger at 400 tonnes. The largest sources were the BMC’s suppliers of goods and services (251 tonnes / 61%) – covering everything from items sold by the shop to the liability insurance it buys. The next largest sources were employee commuting and working from home (39 tonnes / 10%) and staff travel (39 tonnes / 10%).

Whist the BMC has already taken several steps to reduce its operational footprint - including switching to renewable energy, banning single use plastic and ensuring the BMC shop supply chain is as ethical and sustainable as possible – it also acknowledges that further understanding of our impact and associated actions need to be undertaken.  

Continued investment in landscape restoration projects are a core part of the BMCs carbon-reduction strategy, with The Climate Project contributing towards an annual saving of over 60,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per year. This is through the transformation of moorland landscape to foster healthy peatbog which has a unique and unrivalled carbon capture capacity.

WATCH: The Climate Project - restoring the moors in the fight against the climate crisis on BMC TV

Dr Cath Flitcroft, Acting Head of Access, Environment and Sustainability at the BMC, said; “The power of the BMC and our members is that we can - and will continue to - display climate leadership by taking responsibility for our footprint and step-up in the face of the threats posed by climate change. 

“In order for us to protect the outdoor space and places that our members love, we need climate related issues to be at the forefront of operational decisions and a solid plan with tangible actions to keep us on track.

“Our Climate and Sustainability Action Plan - to be published in Spring – will ensure that we achieve these ambitious targets and by making our annual carbon reports publicly available, we’re holding ourselves to account.”

As well as actively encouraging, enabling and supporting members to become more sustainable via its LifeShare platform, climate checklist and recycling centre the organisation has also joined forces with the global sports community to combat climate change as part of the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework.

Share your sustainable stories

In a bid to inspire the outdoor community, the BMC is asking people to share their projects of love for the environment and the sustainable steps they are taking to reduce their impact on the environment on their climbing, hillwalking and mountaineering adventures. Send your #SustainableStories along with any pictures to sustainablesteps@thebmc.co.uk using the hashtag in the subject line.

READ: The Full BMC Report 

READ: BMC Sustainable Steps


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