Sustainability Policy

Written November 2009
Approved by GM on 4th March 2010
Policy Contents
1. Outline
2. Climate Change
3. Maintenance
4. Purchasing New Items
5. Reducing Carbon Emissions
6. Social Sustainability
7. Responsibility

1. Outline
This policy seeks to make a firm commitment to promoting ASH Co-op as a sustainable community.
Sustainability is about ensuring we meet the needs of present and future generations with an equal consideration of environmental, social and economic factors.

2. Climate Change
ASH Co-op acknowledges that Climate Change is a serious manmade issue that requires the attention of every individual and organisation. More than a quarter of UK carbon emissions are due to housing, which means ASH Co-op is in a strong position to make a positive contribution to addressing climate change.

3. Maintenance
The Co-op recognises a triple bottom line when repairing and replacing items.
When deciding whether to repair an item or completely replace it, social and environmental factors will have equal consideration to economics.
4. Purchasing New Items
All items bought for the co-op will be judged by environmental and social factors, as well as cost.

This particularly applies to appliances that use energy and/or water. These appliances should meet the highest standards of energy and water efficiency.

5. Reducing Carbon Emissions
The Co-op will consider options to significantly reduce our carbon emissions. This will contribute to addressing the global issue of climate change, but will also future-proof ASH Co-op’s housing stock in light of a changing climate.
This will take the form of a co-ordinated retrofit plan for the existing houses, as well as a commitment to ensuring any future build is as ecologically sustainable as possible.
Retrofitting existing houses to reduce their energy use is one of the most efficient methods of reducing carbon emissions. Any such scheme should include measures such as insulation, efficient and sustainable energy supply and a reduction in water use. Any work undertaken should consider factors such as:
• Embodied energy (does a product require more energy to make then it will save over its lifetime?)
• Future Proofing (does a product mean that alterations are no longer possible in the future?)
• Security of Future Inputs (If a product requires an ongoing input, such as fuel, will that fuel be available in the future?)

6. Social Sustainability
To ensure ongoing, optimal levels of social sustainability, both as an operating body and a social entity, ASH Co-op will monitor the demographic of its membership. ASH Co-op recognises its responsibility to its current members, and commits to ensuring that our admissions policy remains fair to the ethos of the co-operative, its current members, and the rights of prospective members.

Whilst we recognise the need for the equality and diversity provided by the admissions policy, it is essential for social sustainability that we recognise our limitations as a housing body, i.e. we are not “sheltered” or “ supported” housing. Thus we accept that we are unable to cater to all individual housing needs in society and therefore will not reflect absolute social diversity in our demographic.

Since our inception we have proved ourselves a cohesive and tangible community. Through our ethical, admissions and equal opportunities policy we commit to ensuring that social sustainability is continued and improved. We will maintain and update our complaints policy to help fulfil this goal without prejudice.
Our democratic principles should ensure that all members have an equal voice and can freely express their opinions. We strive for inclusiveness by promoting community functions, encouraging active participation and allowing all members to have their views fairly represented.

ASH Co-op will also continue to strengthen relations with the wider community by taking an active role in local events, hosting workshops and providing space for local groups to use whenever possible.

7. Responsibility
Moving towards sustainability requires the consideration of all areas of co-op life. Areas such as Maintenance and Development carry responsibility for specific measures, but ultimately, the integration of sustainability into ASH Co-op is spread across the whole organisation.