What we’ve done so far

We’ve already been taking steps together to help protect the environment

Our environmental plan will help us commit to becoming more sustainable - but protecting the environment has always been important to us.

As part of our programme, girls can earn interest badges to explore how they can help the environment, such as recycling for Rainbows, zero waste for Brownies, and upcycling for Guides.

Our members have already been doing lots of brilliant things to tackle environmental issues. Here are some of the great things we’ve achieved by working together in the last few years:

  • We launched #PlasticPromise, the biggest ever girl-led campaign to tackle plastic pollution. Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Rangers across the UK asked friends, family, politicians and the public to join them in making simple but meaningful lifestyle changes to reduce single-use plastic.
  • We switched Girlguiding magazine to be digital only, cutting down on our use of paper and helping to reduce deforestation - one of the main causes of climate change.
  • We've made our unit meeting activities (UMAs) and skills builders available to download for free as PDFs, again cutting down on our use of paper.
  • We've worked to reduce plastic packaging in our shops - if there's a recyclable or eco-friendly option, we'll use it.
  • We’ve established a staff network focused on the environment. This will open conversations and ideas within the organisation about how we can become more sustainable.
  • In 2023, we completed an LED lighting upgrade in our warehouse in Altrincham. This will save an estimated 11.26 tonnes of carbon every year.
  • We’ve introduced a yearly review to identify where we can cut down on waste, increase recycling, and make sure we’re dealing with it in a sustainable way.

Understanding our carbon footprint

In 2023 we looked into the carbon footprint of the entire Girlguiding movement in the UK.

We looked at office spaces, unit buildings, and guiding activity. We also looked at the carbon produced by buying and selling products from our shop.

This has given us a better understanding of our environmental impact and how we might reduce it over the next few years.

We’ve calculated a total carbon footprint of 14,340 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalents per year. This means we’ve calculated the amount of all the greenhouse gases produced if they were converted into carbon dioxide.

Our total carbon footprint is divided into 3 scopes:

  • Scope 1: Emissions that come directly from Girlguiding. A small amount (7%) of our emissions come from how buildings across Girlguiding are heated. These emissions can be reduced by moving away from gas boilers and making our buildings as energy efficient as possible.
  • Scope 2: Emissions made indirectly by Girlguiding, like the electricity being produced for us. An even smaller amount (4%) of our emissions come from how our buildings’ electricity is made. Buildings that have Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGO)-backed energy tariffs use energy from renewable sources, and don’t have carbon emissions.
  • Scope 3: Emissions from the outside activities and suppliers that make Girlguiding happen. This makes up the largest part of our footprint. It includes how we make and ship our uniforms and shop products. It also includes materials we buy, print and use for promoting Girlguiding and in unit meetings. Travel to and from unit meetings, residentials and events also falls under this scope. These emissions are the most challenging for all of us to reduce. This is because many of them are generated through outside suppliers and are necessary activities that make guiding happen.

Activity related to our shop produces about 17% of scope 3 emissions (2,136 tonnes of CO2 equivalents per year). We’re redesigning our uniform to be more sustainable and reviewing how we buy from and work with suppliers.

As we get better at measuring and monitoring our carbon emissions, we’ll also get better at understanding what we can do to reduce our impact on the environment.