Bioregional Impact Review 2020/21

Message from our CEO and co-founder Sue Riddlestone OBE

We’re raising our ambition. Will you join us?

As we start to recover from the pandemic – keeping everything crossed – we must now summon all our energy to tackle the climate and ecological crises, and achieve net-zero carbon emissions in the shortest time possible.

At Bioregional our ambition is clear: to achieve a world where everyone, everywhere, lives happy, healthy lives, within the means of our one planet, leaving space for wildlife and wilderness.

This is a huge challenge. It needs to be met with equal ambition. This is why we are putting our weight behind the UN’s Race to Zero – a global campaign to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions and investors, committing them to set science-based targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero as soon as possible, in line with global efforts to limit warming to 1.5C.

We have championing zero carbon for 20 years and are delighted that, finally, it’s within our grasp to make it a reality. It is a bold ambition, but the world needs nothing less.

We hope you will join us.

Sue Riddlestone OBE, Bioregional CEO

Making our One Planet Living® framework more widely available

One Planet Living is our vision of a world where we live happily within the Earth’s resources, and a straightforward framework to achieve this. It’s used by new-build communities, cities and regions, businesses, community groups and schools the world over.

Accelerating our training

The pandemic led us to switch our One Planet Living training courses to online-only, enabling us to provide the training to more people than ever across the globe.

We also developed a new One Planet Living Associates programme, which we launched in April 2021. Now, anyone who has received our training and passed an assessment can register as an official One Planet Living Associate, giving Associates enhanced skills and confidence through our expert mentoring.

'I was delighted with the course. Ben and Joe are great - funny, knowledgeable and interested in our issues. It worked well for all attendees - we were able to interact despite being on different continents.'

- Donna Stimson, Councillor, Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, UK

Long-term One Planet Living partners sustain progress

Zibi builds a culture of sustainability.

As this groundbreaking One Planet Living community in Canada moves from construction to operation, we advised its developers how to build a culture of sustainability among its new residents, drawing on the experiences of other partners around the world.

'Since working at Zibi, One Planet Living has inspired me to sell my car and only travel sustainably and actively.'

- Veronik Samon, One Planet Ambassador, Zibi

Recognising new global leaders in One Planet Living

Tackling the climate and ecological emergencies involves transforming towns and cities into places that make it easy for people to live and work sustainably, with space for nature.

Our two new One Planet Living leaders are shining examples of what this looks like in practice:

Baker District, Guelph, Canada – One Planet Living Global leader, 2020

Regenerating a disused car park, Baker District is being created by a partnership between Windmill Development Group and the City of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. Comprising residential, retail and community space, including a much-needed new library, it is set to become a thriving new zero-carbon energy community that further revitalises downtown Guelph.

Bonham Quay, Galway, Ireland – One Planet Living Leader, 2020

Combining office, retail, restaurant and cultural space, Bonham Quay is designed to create a healthy, greener work environment for 2,600 people, where it is easy to make sustainable choices. Aiming to achieve net-zero emissions by 2025, it will facilitate sustainable, active travel, wellbeing and connection with nature.

One Planet Living in towns and cities

This year we have continued to work in Russia, Canada, South Africa and Oxfordshire in the UK as part of our One Planet Cities programme, funded by the KR Foundation.

In Durban, Bioregional South Africa has been working in the local community to use One Planet Living to structure local green initiatives and support social entrepreneurs.

In Saanich, local delivery partner One Earth has continued its work to engage a wide range of stakeholders in sustainability action, while also creating a support pack to help local schools use One Planet Living.

In Tarusa, One Planet Living has been adopted as the city’s sustainability framework and our local partners have created two One Planet Living Action Plans – one for the city administration, and one for Welna eco-spa hotel.

'One Planet Living is exactly what been looking for. It offers us the framework to bring together so many local initiatives – with a focus on the ecological footprint, which is so often ignored.'

- Svetlana Duving, One Planet Living champion, Tarusa

The district of Vila Mariana in Sao Paulo, Brazil, has also become the first Brazilian community to sign up to our One Planet Living in towns and cities programme. They’ll be co-creating a shared vision and action plan for the region.

A guide for local authorities

Experiences and lessons learned throughout this programme of work have been distilled into a detailed step-by-step manual for implementing One Planet Living in towns and cities, published in May 2021.

Spotlight on One Planet Oxfordshire

Despite the pandemic, we have made progress in bringing together people and organisations across the county to create a happier, healthier and greener future for all Oxfordshire residents.

Highlights include:

  • We produced a high-profile review of progress in achieving Oxfordshire’s One Planet Living vision, with support from Oxfordshire County Council
  • We supported South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils to use One Planet Living to help them respond to the climate emergency.
  • We worked with Oxford-based social enterprise Aspire to train eight 'community champions' to help make the sustainability agenda in Oxfordshire more inclusive.
  • After helping to set it up in 2019, we have steered the growth of the Oxfordshire Greentech network.
  • We organised 31 learning events organised over the year
  • The low-carbon business network’s membership is now close to 100, with key partners including Oxfordshire County Council, Cherwell District Council, and South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils.
  • We piloted a new One Planet Living support service for small- and medium-sized enterprises. Through the Greentech network we provided light-touch support to four SMEs creating a One Planet Action Plan.

Sustainable business consultancy

Our sustainable business advisory work continues to focus on retail, food and beverage, as well as the engineering and construction and property sectors.

Getting business to net zero

As scientific knowledge develops, our ambitions must too. This year we have worked with several major companies to help set them on a trajectory of reducing their carbon emissions in line with the current science.

Kingfisher plc

We have worked with this international home improvement company to raise the ambition of its carbon reduction targets in line with the need to keep global temperature rises to no more than 1.5 degrees.

After supporting Kingfisher with extensive carbon and energy modelling, we took the lead in submitting targets to the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi). The company aims to achieve an absolute reduction on its carbon emissions of 38% by 2025, from a baseline of 2016.

We have been helping Kingfisher increase the sustainability of its products for over 10 years. With a world-leading target of ensuring that 50% of its products will meet stringent sustainability criteria by 2025, this year it achieved a score of 42%.


All large companies are now required to disclose energy and carbon emissions in their annual financial reports. Wilko asked Bioregional to support with its first disclosure. We calculated Wilko’s energy consumption and carbon emissions for 2019 and 2020 and helped it explain how it is cutting energy consumption.

We are delighted that Wilko has already announced its commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.

Troup Bywaters + Anders engineering consultancy

We supported Troup Bywaters + Anders (TB+A) in the development of its ambitious target of achieving net-zero carbon emissions from its operations by 2030.

To achieve this, TB+A has set a target to reduce absolute carbon emissions from property energy and company cars by at least 50% by 2030. This target has been approved by the SBTi.

Reimagining our high streets

London’s West End takes on the climate challenge

We have been working with the Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) Baker Street and the New West End Company in the heart of London to develop ambitious new sustainability strategies for their respective areas, which have been hard-hit by the pandemic.

For both BIDs we are using the One Planet Living framework as a lens to carry out detailed analysis of the main sustainability issues in the area, what members’ priorities are, and how future social, economic and environmental trends will impact on these areas.

A new sustainability strategy for The Portman Estate

The Portman Estate covers more than 110 acres of prime property in central London. We helped it develop a new, future-proof sustainability strategy that aligns with the needs of the planet, employees and tenants, and its business purpose. After carrying out an in-depth gap analysis of key sustainability issues across its operations and estates, we are now helping it develop a One Planet Living Action Plan, to be published in 2021.

Creating sustainable places

Bioregional has continued to use our One Planet Living® framework to help partners create truly sustainable homes, communities and cities

Spotlight on new-build schemes

Climate-conscious local plans for Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire

Working together with sustainability engineers Etude, this year we enabled both Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire local authorities – with a total population of more than 1.4 million people – to align their Local Plans with the imperative of achieving net-zero carbon emissions.

Two of these schemes are being developed by visionary mixed-use developer First Base:

Devonshire Gardens, Cambridge

We are supporting First Base to design a mixed-use community in the heart of Cambridge that aims to encourage wildlife, improve health and wellbeing, and minimise carbon emissions and waste.

Saxon Court, Milton Keynes

In Milton Keynes, First Base is transforming former council-owned office space into a mixed-use development of 288 homes, retail and community space. We have been acting as sustainability consultants on the scheme, tying together an overall sustainability narrative that uses the One Planet Living framework to structure and guide it.

'It has been fantastic working with the team at Bioregional on some of our most recent projects. They provide holistic support on all sustainability aspects of a project, from energy strategy to food growing. The One Planet Living framework provides a uniquely simple and tangible way to embed and communicate with local residents and stakeholders.'

- Doug Higgins, Project Director, First Base

Creating a cost-effective model for social housing retrofit

In the social housing sector, landlords need a 30-year plan on how they will manage their stock to meet the UK’s climate and net-zero obligations. Yet making social housing hit net-zero carbon standards by 2050 in line with the government’s target will cost £3.5bn a year.

Thanks to a grant from the Energy Saving Trust, this year we worked with specialist partners to investigate how can we make a deep, rapid retrofit of the UK’s social housing stock add up.

Taking a housing estate owned by registered social housing provider Places for People, we have investigated the different types of income models and technical interventions that could be used to take the estate as close to net-zero carbon as possible, in a financially viable way.

Influencing policy and practice

We draw on our practical experience to influence policy change and industry practice.

Digital communications and events

Influencing policy and practice on homes

City-led retrofit guide – we joined a UK Green Building Council-led group to write a new retrofit guide for local authorities.

Advocating for UK policy change – we added our voice to policy consultations led by the Aldersgate Group, the Green Alliance, the UK Green Building Group and the Academy of Urbanism.

Supporting social entrepreneurs – as part of Catalyst 2030, a network of social entrepreneurs, we participated in creating a guide for governments on how to unlock the potential of social entrepreneurs to help implement the SDGs.

Greening building materials – for the United Nations Environment Programme, we worked on a guide to help SMEs overcome the obstacles to using sustainable materials.

Thanks to our incredible team.

You made all this happen in a year like no other.

Priorities for 2021/22

Our priorities for this year are to:

Capitalise on COP26: working through our networks, we aim to persuade and inspire businesses and governments to increase their ambition in the run up to the COP climate summit in November 2021.

Re-imagine our high streets: building on our work in London’s West End, we aim to show how high street regeneration can be done in a way that meets the needs of people, business and planet.

Drive wider take-up of One Planet Living: we will find and showcase more leaders in One Planet Living and build a new network of One Planet Living associates, and explore how One Planet Living can be used in towns and cities.

Enable net-zero business: we will strive to support more ambitious retailers and other businesses to align their business practices and models with the urgent need to create a net-zero world.

Help create more sustainable homes: we will promote the findings of our work on how housing associations can make their stock energy efficient, as well as seeking out visionary developers who want to work with us to create places where people can live truly sustainable lives.

Look after colleagues: we will support colleagues' wellbeing and keep finding better ways of working and connecting as we navigate our way through another year of this devastating pandemic.

Our partners and funders in 2020/21

The trustees and staff would like to place on record their gratitude to all the organisations and individuals who continue to support the work of the charity. Our work would not be possible without the support of our partners and funders. Thank you.

Our partners

A2Dominion, Academies Enterprise Trust, Acorn, Aether, Aspire, Baker Street Quarter Partnership, Barkley Village, Belfast Harbour, Central Lincolnshire Authorities, Cherwell District Council, Coévolution s.à r.l., Community of Grace, Corporate Lets UK Ltd, Crescent Communities, Crest Nicholson, Cundall, Environmental Change Institute, Enysham TEA, Finchatton, First Base, Green Lab, Hill, International Food Information Service, Impact Vastgoed, Implenia, Kingfisher Group, Lambeth Council, LandCorp, Land Securities, Low Carbon Hub, Mitchells & Butlers, Newhaven Town Council, New West End Company, Object Space Place, Oxford City Council, Oxfordshire County Council, Oxfordshire Greentech, Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Remade Network, Sabe Technology Limited, Simplyhealth, Singita, Southbank Centre, South Cambridgeshire District Authority, South Oxfordshire District Council, Science Technology and Facilities Council, The Portman Estate, Trinity College London, Troup Bywaters + Anders, UK Green Building Council, United Communities, United Living, United Nations Environment Programme, Voyage Care, Whale Centre, Wilko Retail Ltd, Windmill Developments

Our grant funders and donors

Catalyst 2030, Energy Saving Trust, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, John and Susan Bowers Fund, KR Foundation, Skoll Foundation, Westmill Solar Co-operative.

UKSSD supporters

DNV GL, Good Energy, Greater London Authority, Keep Scotland Beautiful, Nestle, Newcastle University, PWC, Sightsavers, Veris Strategies, Woodland Trust, WWF.

We can do this. We can tackle the climate and ecological emergencies and create a better future. Thank you for being on this journey with us.