Third Sector Task Force report on climate change and the environment: TSRC set to measure impacts

March 2010 saw the publication of the joint ministerial and Third Sector Task Force report, Shaping our Future, on climate change, the environment and sustainable development. The recurring theme of the report is the need for government to work with the third sector to innovate and lead new ways of tackling climate change and other key environmental issues.

The report signifies a significant turning point in the relationship between the Third Sector and environmental issues, and TSRC is well placed to capture these changes. The centre’s ‘Third Sector and the Environment’ research programme, which commenced in October 2009, addresses the following questions:

• What do we know about the environmental third sector? 

• How is the Third Sector as a whole developing environmental practices? 

• How are Third Sector organisations promoting pro-environmental projects? 

(More detail about these questions can be found on the environment research page)

At TSRC, we believe it is critical to address these questions now; at a time when there has never been greater need to tackle environmental issues, and when central government is increasingly looking to the third sector to provide answers to the major challenges facing society. This is particularly the case as the new administration looks to solutions from ‘Big Society’, whilst cutting the budgets of departments such as Defra and DECC.


As part of Defra’s Third Sector Strategy, the Task Force was set up in April 2009. It became responsible for developing a vision for how the Third Sector can tackle climate change and how government will work in partnership with the Third Sector to ensure these goals are achieved.

There is an increasing belief that the Third Sector holds the key to the UK’s response to climate change and other pressing environmental issues. For example, Stephen Hale (Third Sector chair of the Task Force and Director of the Green Alliance), writing in ‘The new politics of climate change: why we are failing and how we will succeed’, has suggested that the third sector provides the missing link in tackling climate change. He suggests it has an innate ability to reach many corners of society within a rapid time scale.

With input from Defra, OTS, DECC, DCLG and sixteen third sector organisations, the 110-page Task Force report sets out a vision to be implemented over the next five years. It argues that ‘the Third Sector shapes the future by mobilising and inspiring others to tackle climate change and maximising the social, economic and environmental opportunities of action’. To realise this, the report outlines 57 action points through different sections, including: leadership from within the sector; government leadership; a changing sector; building resilient communities; behaviour change; sustainable public services; and green jobs, skills and enterprise.


If you would like to become involved with research on the Environment and the Third Sector, or for more information, please contact Dr Rebecca Edwards: 07779 791661/