What difference can an organisation like CSE make?
Like any healthy business we ask ourselves this question from time to time (whilst avoiding excessive introspection). The trouble is that record-keeping wasn’t exactly a hallmark of our early years – and we still struggle to keep tabs on the impact of all of our activities – but our best guess is that since we were founded in 1979 we have:
- Provided high-quality, tailored energy advice to nearly 300,000 local people to help them take control of their energy use at home
- Directly assisted more than 95,000 local low-income households to reduce their risk of fuel poverty through advice, benefits take-up support and energy efficiency measures
- Trained and supported more than 55,000 people to empower them to take action on sustainable energy within their own organisations and communities across the UK, either as volunteers or in their professional lives
- Reached perhaps 50,000 young people with our high-quality education programmes, helping them become influential energy activists in their own homes and schools. (Though if teachers have done what they tell us – carried on using the resources in future years – the total could be several times this.)
We’ve also stimulated national policy change and development in the specific fields of: area-based targeting of fuel poverty programmes; improved consumer feedback on their energy consumption; better policing of energy suppliers’ so-called ‘social tariffs’; new performance targets for local authorities on climate change and fuel poverty; and community engagement in sustainable energy developments.
It is even harder to measure our real impact on carbon dioxide emissions since much of our work is about motivating and enabling others to take action, rather than direct interventions of our own. But we’ve tried.
We think that, not counting the positive impact of our policy influence, our work over the last 35 years has probably led to a reduction in lifetime carbon dioxide emissions of over 3 million tonnes.