The Action on Climate and Consumption Project.
There is increasing awareness of the importance of addressing climate change and conscious consumption. As a faith-inspired organisation, the Humanitarian Academy for Development (HAD) is particularly interested in how climate change and consumption intersect with faith in general and Islam in particular. Our recently concluded Action on Climate Change and Consumption (ACC) project was developed in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which encourage “action to combat climate change and its impacts” and “sustainable consumption and production” (SCP). The aim of the project was to explore how religion and faith can drive positive behavioural change, and to therefore drive forward SCP in IR country offices – internally amongst IR staff and externally through environmental projects for beneficiaries.
The ACC project was led by HAD. It was funded by the KR Foundation, which aims to tackle the root causes of climate change and promote sustainable behaviours by funding tangible and scalable solutions. The outputs of the project were twofold: those developed by HAD to guide the project, and those delivered by 10 Islamic Relief (IR) country offices in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Kenya, Malawi, Niger, Somalia, Germany, Sweden and the UK.
- 4 Faith literate research papers to underpin the mobilisation and policy change aspects of the project, and assist the participating IR country offices.
- Campaign tools – 2 handbooks, 2 videos, 5 posters – to promote SCP, for IR offices to use.
IR Country Office Outputs:
- 10 country offices ran localised carbon reduction initiatives.
- 9 country offices led climate change advocacy plans.
- 3 Eco-centres were developed.
The ACC project also made funds available for Talanoa Dialogues – inclusive, participatory and transparent discussions – on climate change and SCP. These were completed in 7 countries, and their outcomes were submitted to the United Nations.
Key Project Achievements per Country:
- IR Bangladesh developed an eco-centre at Sher-e Bangla Agricultural University, which included a rooftop garden and training room. The eco-centre carried out training for 100 individuals on replicating rooftop agriculture, and reduced the temperature around the garden and in the room underneath – reducing the need for air conditioning.
- IR Germany held two workshops for IR staff on SCP, sensitising them to the subject.
- IR India installed solar panels at the Delhi Office to improve energy efficiency and to save costs, which changed staff’s consumption behaviour thus resulting in a decrease in electricity consumption compared to the previous month. They also developed a carbon footprint strategy with staff members to reduce the consumption of water and energy.
- IR Kenya introduced office policies on carbon reduction, for example using Skype and video conferencing to reduce staff travel. IR Kenya held a forum on climate change policy for 20 faith leaders, and also engaged with 6 schools to train 64 students on SCP.
- IR Malawi implemented carbon reductions commitments, including the purchase of an inverter to replace the diesel generators used during power cuts and a double-sided printer. As a result, the usage of the generator was reduced to 7 hours a month in spite of daily power cuts.
- IR Niger developed and shared materials on energy and water conservation with staff, and held regular meetings to remind staff of their energy and water consumption. IR Niger staff also developed consumption tracking tools for fuel and electricity, to raise awareness of usage and to choose targets to beat.
- IR Pakistan implemented an energy efficient system within the office premises, which included recycling bins, 42 energy-efficient ceiling fans, and 161 LED lights. IR Pakistan also led a session on climate change with faith leaders and community members which reached 51 people.
- IR Somalia developed a carbon reduction strategy in consultation with all staff and introduced carbon reduction activities such as the installation of energy saving bulbs.
- IR Sweden conducted a staff survey to gage current carbon usage. The survey led to improvements in recycling facilities and IEC posters, and the implementation of an office policy to turn off all non-essential appliances at weekends and during holidays. IR Sweden also engaged faith leaders in raising awareness and climate change and SCP to disseminate this information to their communities.
- IR UK implemented carbon reduction strategies such as reducing air miles through an increase in video conferencing, installing smart meters, and reminding staff to take action through regular meetings and communication.
This project demonstrates how religion and faith can encourage SCP and positive behavioural change, through encouraging individuals to work collectively for the greater environmental good.
Due to its research-focused capacity-building approach, the project was led by the Research and Development Department at HAD. It reflects the current research priorities of the department, which include ‘nature’ and ‘faith.’ The ACC project is a prime example of how research-informed approaches can help inform on policies and practices within the development sector.
Written by Aneesah Iqbal and Rebecca Fletcher
Marketing and Communications Officer and Research and Development Intern
 https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg13 and https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-consumption-production/
Islamic Relief blog post (2019): https://www.islamic-relief.org/why-we-are-hitting-the-roof-in-one-of-the-worlds-most-polluted-cities/
Islam and Sustainable Consumption (2018):https://staging.had-int.org/e-library/islam-and-sustainable-consumption/
Towards an Islamic Philosophy of Consumption (2018): https://staging.had-int.org/e-library/towards-an-islamic-philosophy-of-consumption/
Sustainability and Climate Change (2018): https://staging.had-int.org/e-library/sustainability-and-climate-change/
Impacts of Agricultural Interventions by FBOs and non-FBOs in Malawi (2018) https://staging.had-int.org/e-library/impacts-of-agricultural-interventions-by-fbos-and-non-fbos-in-malawi/