As the new CEO, one of the questions I was asked in my opening week was ‘what’s the most pressing issue facing Quartet?’ It’s not an easy question to answer, particularly as there has been a rise in all kinds of need as a result of the pandemic, but I would have no hesitation in saying that the most significant issue of all our lifetimes is certainly climate change.
The first document I read when I joined Quartet was its recent Vital Signs report highlighting just how deeply affected our communities will soon be without co-ordinated action from us all.
Climate change will hit our most disadvantaged communities hard
Our food security, health and infrastructure will be hugely impacted by rises in extreme weather such as heatwaves. Air pollution is now the fourth greatest public health threat after cancer, heart disease and obesity. But, as the report shows, we will not all be affected equally: people facing disadvantage now are much more likely to be negatively affected in future too. Because of this, supporting measures that can help people limit and manage the impact of climate change will be critical in building a fairer society.
Learning from the Covid crisis will help us support climate action
And our charity sector, which does so much to help local people, will need time to plan: to adapt their services and buildings, support their workforce and develop their resilience. If we’ve learned anything over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, it is that community-led organising is both effective and quick at helping people most in need. So we think that investing in these organisations now is crucial in preparing our communities to meet the challenges of the future.
We want to support more fantastic work like that of Ape Project CiC, not only now but for the longer term. On the eve of the G7 summit there could be no better time to renew our focus on the local response to the climate emergency, and our plans to safeguard the health and wellbeing of future generations.
Quartet has signed up to the Funder Commitment on Climate Change, which commits us to learning more about the issues, taking action within our own organisation, and to making sure that the resources we have been entrusted with – thanks to the generosity of local donors – will ensure a greener, fairer future for us all.
There is a lot to do but we look forward to making this journey with all our friends and supporters.
Suzanne Rolt, CEO