Environmental leadership – DEFRA strategy

(From: http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/about/how/third-sector/achieving/environ-leadership.htm)

Environmental leadership

Leading by example is an important part of encouraging action from others and building credibility. Defra is leading by example to improve its own sustainability and environmental performance through our DASL (Defra as Sustainability Leader) programme, supported by Ministers and our Management Board. Many third sector organisations, like those in the private and public sectors, now want to demonstrate their own commitment to corporate social responsibility, including their environmental performance. There are some excellent examples of good practice in the third sector, where organisations are putting the principles of sustainable development into practice within their own policies, programmes and procedures. Many are also demonstrating leadership with their members on environmental sustainability. Defra will work with OTS, third sector organisations and others to help disseminate this good practice more widely and mainstream these issues into existing sector support programmes, thereby creating a supportive framework for greater environmental leadership from within the sector.


  • To act as a catalyst to help bring together existing activities, tools and good practice on embedding sustainable development within the organisation, including improving environmental performance, and to mainstream these within existing sector support programmes.

What will success look like?

  • Mainstream sector support programmes cover sustainable development and environmental performance, as part of improving the capacity and infrastructure of the sector as a whole.
  • More third sector organisations lead by example on sustainable development, environmental sustainability and climate change through actions which embed these objectives throughout their organisations and their way of working.

Immediate actions

  • 5.1 Establish a joint Defra, DECC and OTS Ministerial task group involving relevant third sector stakeholders, to exchange information about current initiatives and to provide recommendations about the best ways of mainstreaming sustainable development, climate change and the environment into existing third sector support programmes.
  • 5.2 Defra and the OTS will jointly commission a piece of work to:
    • a) explore and then recommend to the sector, the appropriate measuring, monitoring, accreditation and reporting mechanisms for continuously improving organisational environmental performance
    • b) explore and then recommend to Government, the appropriate environmental standards / requirements for inclusion in major Government grant agreements or contracts with the third sector
  • 5.3 Working with OTS and third sector infrastructure organisations, Defra will jointly commission a study to explore the need for a centre of expertise on sustainable development, environmental sustainability and climate change , which would help mainstream these issues within national third sector support activities.
  • 5.4 Work jointly with the Every Action Counts Consortium to arrange a celebration event and learning event at the end of the three-year Defra funded Every Action Counts initiative.
  • 5.5 Building on the legacy of Every Action Counts and wider initiatives such as ‘Accounting for Sustainability’, work with OTS and Capacitybuilders to disseminate tools and materials to third sector organisations which help them embed sustainable development and demonstrate environmental leadership.
  • 5.6 Defra and OTS will jointly commission a feasibility study into a peer-led ‘environment ambassadors’ leadership programme for Chief executives and Directors of third sector organisations, as part of mainstream professional development.

Ongoing and longer term actions


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