The Climate Change Collaboration

From Ashden Award, via the Climate Change Collaboration to a National Network : Our Story so Far

Simon BrammerThe Fit for the Future Network began with an Ashden Gold Award. Simon Brammer, Programmes Manager at Ashden,Trust Executive at the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts and member of the Network steering group, gives us the story so far.

There are lots of environmental and sustainably awards that you can apply for, but winning an Ashden Award is different.  Different because we work with all our winners to help them reach scale and share their learning as widely as possible. It’s about accelerating progress towards a brighter, low-carbon future.

A Golden Opportunity

So, when the National Trust in Wales won our prestigious Gold Award in 2012 for reducing energy consumption by a whopping 40% across its estates, we knew we had to find a way to help others learn their secrets — if you can make a castle energy efficient, any other building should be a piece of cake.

So, I headed to Wales to spend a few days with the inspirational Keith Jones and Paul Southall who are the powerhouses behind these amazing achievements.  While sipping coffee in the sunshine outside a National Trust hostel in Snowdonia National Park (my job is hard sometimes) we asked ourselves a few questions: how can we help other big property-owning organisations benefit from what has happened here and learn from each other?  How do we prevent the wasted effort of re-inventing the wheel every time, and how can we ensure organisations trust the advice they receive?

The power of partnership and change

After many more conversations and scratching our collective heads, we came up the Fit for the Future Network.  The premise was very simple:  this network would be powered by showing, talking and learning together.  No fancy online databases but simply the age-old way of telling stories and asking questions.  We wanted to bring people together to see what could be done, to talk to the people who had already done it and to benefit from already hard-learned lessons.  In order to generate the trust required we were very clear from the start that this was to be a strictly non-commercial network based on the goodwill of people and organisations who believe in the power of partnership and change.

So on a cold day last November three inspirational women, Dame Helen Ghosh – Director General of the National Trust, Sarah Butler-Sloss –  Founding Director of Ashden and Juliet Davenport – CEO of Good Energy came together to launch the network at the CBI headquarters in London.  We were overwhelmed by interest and pledges of support.

Fit for the Future Network members

Celebrating our Successes

Nine months on, as you can probably see from our website, we have been a little taken aback by the demand – large organisation after large organisation has joined:  RSPB, Crowne Estates, RNLI, Northern Rail, Scottish Canals — the list keep growing.  We, with our ever-energetic and very hard working Network Co-ordinator, Chloe Hampson, bring staff together at learning events around the UK to broker introductions, set up master-classes andlet the magic happen.

Have a look around our brand new website to see who has joined, what we have achieved so far and how you can get involved.  The power of this National Trust and Ashden partnership is that, through saving energy, organisations are able to spend more of their money on their core purpose, whether that be saving lives at sea, preserving our beautiful heritage buildings, conserving birdlife and biodiversity or supporting volunteers.  They are also reducing their carbon emissions. I’d call that a win, win situation.  Are you Fit for the Future? Read more about what the Network can offer and find out how to become a member.

Simon Brammer is Ashden’s UK Programme Manager and a Trust Executive of the Climate Change Collaboration.

The Climate Change Collaboration fund the Network Co-ordinator’s post.

How might we live now

The Free Word Centre’s How might we live now explores through literature how we could live sustainable lives. Check out the reading list of climate change fiction.

The Committee on Climate Change Progress Report

Cold homes

The Committee on Climate Change programme has been published today. We especially like the traffic light assessment of the different areas on residential energy to highlight the best and worst performing areas.


You can see the full report and download it here

Changing the Habits of a Lifestyle

One of the afternoon workshops

The Great Room, RSA

Royal Society for the Arts, 11th June 2014

This was a joint event between Ashden and the Climate Change Collaboration. The conference addressed the barriers to changing everyday behaviour around the way we use energy, and why the social norms are what they are. There were presentations and panel discussions with speakers from several organisations that have funding from the CCC and previous winners of Ashden Awards.


The first part of the conference comprised a series of presentation from organisations conducting cutting edge work in this field. The second part involved table discussions and a panel session focusing on how we make calls for action on climate change more credible and constructive.


The Climate Change Collaboration ( is a group of four Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts: Ashden Trust, JJ Charitable Trust, Mark Leonard Trust and Tedworth Trust. This group came together in 2011 to support pilot and research projects to find ways of reducing CO2 emissions quickly. Ashden ( champions and promotes practical, local energy solutions that cut carbon, protect the environment, reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. The Ashden Awards bring to light ground-breaking green energy champions in the UK and developing world and inspire others to follow.

Both organisations recognise that changing everyday behaviour and social norms around the way we use energy is increasingly urgent to reduce carbon emissions and deal with climate change. Each organisation aims to encourage and facilitate collaboration in order to speed up sharing and dissemination of learning and experience. To assist with this, a conference entitled ‘Changing habits of a lifestyle’ was held on the 11th June. This featured presentations and panellists from several organisations that have had funding from the Climate Change Collaboration or which have previously won Ashden awards.

Matthew Taylor, chairing the event, welcomed participants to the event. Whilst many may find it difficult to visualise a future where low carbon behaviour is the norm, he gave the example of the social transformation that has occurred in the UK with respect to smoking. This required a mix of scientific evidence, legislation, social norms, making it easier for people to make the right choice and technical solutions. A similar, multi-faceted approach may enable the transformation that is necessary in terms of climate change.

You can download the full report here.

Conference slides can be downloaded here.