Three steps for a council to deliver its climate emergency quickly

Over 400 councils and local authorities have declared a climate (and ecological) emergency, but many are struggling to figure out how they enact that declaration.  That’s because it’s complex and it takes many different players to help enact it, but it’s also an enormous opportunity for the council to find new revenue sources, whilst tackling some of the biggest issues.  

This headache can be turned into a stimulus.  It can revive an area to be one of the most thriving and forward-looking, providing more jobs, enabling stronger communities and becoming more financially stable.  The right people just need to be brought into the room to tackle the problem of the council for them.

There are three stages to delivering an emergency.

1. Determine Scope and Stakeholders

The council’s declarations often don’t consider the scope of being ‘carbon neutral’ by 2030.  Is this the entire council area and its inhabitants or the councils own buildings and fleet, does it include the contractors and supply chain?  These questions need to be considered before you get started and be within the plan of works.

The other area councils often don’t consider is who are the stakeholders who can help this emergency.  They put the ownership on themselves and feel the mountain is too high and steep to climb. 

Getting the right people to organise this work at the onset is paramount.

2. Stakeholder Policy Delivery

The right stakeholders need to come into a room to consider how the council may deliver its policy. Facilitation is needed to unearth opportunities for joint working and income generation. 

The meeting needs to consider the scale of the problem and the potential solutions.  By getting all the right people in the room, months of head-scratching and frustrating discussions can be saved.

The council needs to act as the facilitator and coordinator for developing the answers.  That way they are no longer the owner of the problem. Project teams are created with timelines and they’ll provide papers to the council for consideration. 

Imaginations across specialisms will be tapped into and exceptional ideas will be born, which will open up opportunities for investment in the area.

3. Change Management

Education will be critical for council staff and councillors about the ideas presented. The solution to these issues is often radical.  Most of the time having an outside body to support the provision of condensed material in the form of short papers and edited videos of workshops will help make this easier.

Ideas will come in the form of; regulation, taxation, organisation creation or policy creation.  Filtering these ideas to make a potential a road map for internal stakeholders to consider will help identify the types of resources needed to push forward with the project areas. 

Raising money through new investment sources such as Municipal Investment Bonds, or the creation of investable organisations owned by the council such as Development Corporations, needs to be part of the thinking to ensure money isn’t a barrier. Sometimes this will mean new organisations need creating.

Now is the time for councils to go about delivering on their climate and ecological emergency. Many are struggling to find the right people to support. Let them know Better Century is here to help – with all the experience needed!

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