As we move into the second year of our work at the Foundation for Education Development (FED) and following the launch of the FED National Education Consultation Report, we hosted a roundtable discussion seeking to answer the theme ‘Building an Education Curriculum for a NetZero Future – Ensuring future generations learn about Climate Change.’
We asked Gaby Sethi, Head of OVO Foundation, OVO Energy’s philanthropic arm, to share her input into this roundtable discussion. Gaby’s role involves delivering on the Foundation’s strategic aims and harnessing OVO’s collective entrepreneurial expertise to make a positive and meaningful impact on society and in this blog she talks about how through OVO’s programme they educate and empower children and young people to take action on the climate crisis.
To win the war against carbon, the world needs all the help it can get.
Hi, I’m Gaby – Head of OVO Foundation, which I helped to launch back in 2015. OVO Foundation is OVO Energy’s charity. It was set up to give kids and young people all over the world a greener, fairer future. Our mission is to use our energy to change the world for the better, and I’ve been lucky enough to create a mix of exciting projects that do just that – all while focusing on improving the lives of children and young people around the world. And, with the amazing help of our members, we’ve had some fantastic achievements.
But given the urgency of the climate crisis, we felt the need to sit down and reevaluate our mission. I wanted to introduce you to our new vision and the three sustainability projects we will be supporting over the next three years to help us move closer to achieving that vision.
Our new world-changing ambition
To win the war against carbon, the world needs all the help it can get. That’s why we’ve recently refocused our priorities to match today’s needs – and OVO’s new sustainability strategy, Plan Zero.
We want to create a world where all children and young people have equitable access to a sustainable future. We think there is an urgent need to fund projects that address climate change issues as they impact and affect children and young people in the UK.
This is in response to research that shows that:
- Only 21% of 8–12 year olds have an adequate level of connection to nature
- 13% of children and 5% of young people typically never spent any of their leisure time in the natural environment
- Local authorities have found that over 70% of their carbon emissions come from schools
We want to change this for the better. Last year, the OVO Foundation committed £1m to a new programme, called ‘Climate Changers’, which will support projects that empower over 100,000 children and young people from around the UK to help fight the climate crisis and create greener, more sustainable communities. The programme combines both education and practical action to educate children on the climate crisis and sustainability issues but also provides them with the opportunity and skills to do something about it.
Three new partners have been selected to help us deliver the programme and OVO Foundation work with them over the next three years. Here’s some more about them and their amazing projects:
- Action for Conservation: They want to build the next generation of nature conservationists. OVO Foundation’s funding will be used to support students in areas of deprivation to develop skills and knowledge and deliver environmental improvement projects, making their schools and communities greener and more sustainable.
- Earthwatch Europe: OVO Foundation is providing funding to establish 12 Tiny Forests (sites of 200m2 of land with 600 trees per site) in deprived areas in the UK to support educators to use the forests as outdoor classrooms to teach children about the environment and sustainability.
- Energy Sparks: Through an online platform that provides targeted energy savings advice, Energy Sparks empowers pupils to improve the energy efficiency of their schools helping them to have a real impact on climate change and teaching them energy saving skills to take home to their families and communities.
Through OVO Foundation’s work with these partners, and the funding provided over the next three years, they’re expecting to:
- Save 6,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions and £1.9m in energy costs in schools
- Create 12 Tiny Forests in areas of deprivation in the UK to absorb up to 7,200kg CO2
- Engage 116,000 children and young people in climate change and sustainability issues
If you’re interested in learning more about the exciting new programme, read more in my blog.
You can view the slides from the talk here: