Now and in the future, the GRC must face different challenges, such as the issue of sustainability. In the public discourse in Germany, as well as internationally, sustainability is a diverse and critical topic. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has also identified this topic as a central issue for the future.
The responsible use of resources, the need to protect and preserve our environment for future generations, is part of what the Red Cross idea is all about at its core. The GRC has clearly spoken out in favour of the sustainable use of available resources.
With this in mind, the GRC National Headquarters (GRC HQ) has agreed to develop a sustainability management policy. Although the concept of sustainability also includes social and economic aspects, the following policy on environmental sustainability was agreed upon and adopted for the GRC HQ as a first step.
The policy was developed by a cross-departmental internal working group and addresses five central topics that are relevant for the entire GRC HQ. These include: energy, travel, events, procurement, and waste prevention (described in more detail below).
In the field of international cooperation, the focus is on adaptation to the challenges of climate change through cooperation with different national societies worldwide. Forecast-based financing projects, for example, enable sister national societies in high-risk countries such as Bangladesh, Mozambique, or Peru to implement early, risk-reducing measures before an extreme weather event occurs by distributing funds beforehand. In this way, the impact of climate change on vulnerable and especially endangered population groups can be effectively reduced.
In 2020, the GRC developed the Anticipation Hub, where around 75 partners from science, humanitarian aid, development cooperation and politics, can now inform themselves and exchange information on the topic of anticipation. The topic of sustainability is also increasingly being integrated into projects in the areas of welfare, the Youth Red Cross, and GRC’s role as auxiliary to the public authorities in the humanitarian field.
Raising awareness for environmental sustainability
The GRC National Headquarters aims to promote a broad resonance for the topic of environmental sustainability in the GRC as a whole and thus commits to raise awareness of the topic. More specific details on this and on the question of how the measures of the policy are to be monitored can also be found in the following explanations.
Topics for environmental protection and sustainable action
Reporting & Governance
To emphasise the binding nature of the measures, the measures laid down in the policy are monitored and accompanied by the above-mentioned interdepartmental working group. In doing so, the working group is in continuous dialogue with the departments and acts as an interface to the executive board and the second management level, to whom the implementation status is reported. In addition, it is the task of the working group to check and change the policy, if necessary.
Measures and foci for the realisation of the policy on sustainability management are to be reviewed at regular intervals depending on the degree of implementation maturity as well as future requirements. The plan of measures that is accompanying the implementation at GRC HQ is to be adjusted accordingly under the following aspects:
Updating the objectives and recommendations for action,
Expanding or supplementing the sustainability programme, and
Checking the potential for enhancement in and, if necessary, adapting documents and information.
Communication, transparency and acceptance
Sustainability is not just a slogan - it must be lived and exemplified on a consistent basis. The GRC HQ has a special responsibility and role model function in this regard. This applies both to the federal political and international environment as well as to the various association members within Germany.
Sustainability is rightly expected and demanded from various societal groups. In this context, consistent and transparent action contributes significantly to establish the GRC as a reliable and forward-looking partner in dealing with global challenges such as climate change.
A prerequisite for this is a broad support in the entire association, which in turn requires effective, successful, and inclusive communication strategies and measures, both internally and externally. This policy on sustainability management and the associated efforts and measures are not only supported and promoted by all management levels of the GRC HQ but are also actively communicated to the GRC association, as well as to external partner organisations and supporters of the GRC.