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Our impact

What Greener and Cleaner means to me

Our impact is demonstrated by people in our communities describing what we mean to them.

“Greener & Cleaner means hope, that there is power within all of us in the community to make changes in our lives which add to a collective effort, e.g. to reduce our carbon emissions.

Greener & Cleaner means positivity, that our changes however small do have an impact. Greener & Cleaner means knowledge, there is power in understanding the jargon or technical words used by councils, government and companies mean – and power in how they apply to our lives (also the amazing training and discussion opportunities).

Greener & Cleaner means community, coming together with different people, some we might have nothing in common with but there are shared goals in what we want and hope for our area, borough, city etc.

Greener & Cleaner means change, sometimes small changes can make a huge difference, I have seen people walk past the hub and look inside and then something engages them and they come in for a chat and once they have had a chance to look around, find out about what’s happening, see the events calendar, they see that they are also part of the hub, part of the community and that they also have valuable ideas for change.”

Man in red jumper holds clothes for mending next to a smiling woman who is mending an item of clothing

Experts in behavioural science and climate, urban design, sustainability and more support our Community Hub.

Our academic supporters include:

  • Dr Richard Carmichael (Imperial College London)
  • Dr Kris De Meyer (UCL)
  • Prof Natascha Radclyffe-Thomas (GCU)
  • Dr Colin Strong (IPSOS)
  • Luke Murphy (IPPR)
  • Jen McArthur (UCL)
  • Moria Nicholson (Cabinet Office)

“Given the day to day impacts of high carbon lifestyles on the public, I am personally and professionally struck by the lack of investment into facilitating and normalising community engagement.

The climate emergency requires a whole-of-society shift, and social innovations like Greener & Cleaner’s Hub have a crucial role in helping communities and households gain advice, practical knowledge and skills required to flourish as we transition to a net-zero future.

The Hub’s approach, focusing on community building and inclusivity, holds huge potential. By opting to locate in The Glades shopping mall in Bromley, and recognising that sustainability discourses and practices need to be made mainstream and accessible to everyone, the Hub is showing the engaging approach needed to genuinely empower communities. I have been incredibly impressed by and grateful for the Hub’s impact so far in Bromley, as a local resident, and am confident for its future.”

Dr Jenny McArthur, STEaPP, Faculty of Engineering Sciences, Associate Professor in Urban Infrastructure and Policy, University College London and local Bromley borough resident.

“I am a behavioural scientist who has spent the past 10 years working in the field of green behaviour change. Over the past two years, Greener & Cleaner’s Community Hub has been piloting a blueprint for community climate engagement in my local shopping centre in South East London.

All the evidence I’ve reviewed and analysed strongly indicates that we cannot get to net zero without in-depth, interactive forms of public engagement like the Hub.

Put simply, you cannot expect to convert someone from a gas boiler to an alien technology like a heat pump (or from buying brand new to mending what you’ve already got or setting up a smart device to remotely charge their electric vehicle at the times when wind power is most abundant) simply by asking people nicely on posters and billboards – people have understandable and legitimate questions about net zero that they need to be able to discuss with well informed people they can trust. It is much better that people have these conversations with well-trained charity volunteers than with people online who may be sowing false information about climate solutions.

However, there are still a lot of unanswered research questions about how to best deploy community engagement resources for maximum impact.

Having been to the Hub myself, and knowing how important this work is to climate action in the UK more broadly, I cannot emphasise enough how important the Community Hub is to local communities but also to the evidence base that’s urgently needed on the models, activities and communications needed to positively engage the public on net zero.”

Moira Nicholson, ESG and climate engagement expert, Behavioural Scientist, UK Cabinet Office.

“It’s a breath of fresh air! If you look in any shopping centre, it’s all about profit and sales. So having a place like The Hub in our community it’s a blessing. We need more Greener and Cleaner Hubs around the UK!”

What do you do now as a result of engaging with Greener and Cleaner?

We asked respondents to our impact survey what they do now as a result of engaging with Greener and Cleaner. Here are some of the most popular answers:

  • Became aware of our collective impact
  • Feel part of a team/community effort
  • Changed my lifestyle
  • Become more engaged with environmental issues
  • Found volunteering super impactful
Word cloud with word community in the middle

Became aware of our collective impact

“Much more aware of the small changes that have a collective impact, once the ball starts rolling, you naturally want to improve even more and be sustainable for the rest of your life’

“It’s made me realise that together we have power to affect change. I’ve also learnt loads for the people who come into the hub, some of whom I would have never met otherwise. I feel more anchored in the community and more hopeful that we can have a positive impact on climate change.”

“Although I’ve long been aware of the issues we face, I had felt rather pessimistic about the idea that small changes in our lives will really make an impact. I still believe that fundamentally dramatic political and policy change are vital, but I now see the place and point of the smaller changes that we can all make in our lives. I’m much more mindful of what these are and am doing my best to move towards a more sustainable way of living – always gaining titbits of advice from C&G along the way, that make it much less onerous to do what initially feels inconvenient. When I look back I realise I’ve made a lot more changes incrementally than I would ever probably have done without the advice from C&G and also, honestly, the peer pressure (in a good way).”

Feel part of a team/community effort

“I am much more informed of the impact my consumer habits have which has made me mindful of where my money goes. I feel much better informed about a much wider spectrum of sustainability and feel comfortable sharing what I learnt with others. But most of all, I feel grateful to be surrounded by such a talented and motivated team. They make me feel more hopeful about my children’s future.”

“Became more confident especially with my mental health and lifestyle because I found that many people are like me and care for the future of our children.”

“I learnt that people coming together with a common vision can achieve wonders.”

“I have a greater feeling of community which is invaluable. The volunteers are lovely. I don’t buy items if I can borrow as it’s much better.”

Changed my lifestyle

“My travel: I cycle a lot more. We also use our car less and fly less. As a family, we are much more mindful about what we consume and what we dispose of. We are also much more aware of our personal impacts on the planet and our carbon footprint.”

“Changed my eating a lot less meat and dairy, more vegetarian meals. Shop for locally sourced produce. Reduce waste by reusing and buying less of everything food, clothes and other items.
Buy preloved where possible. Use apps like Olio. Avoid items wrapped in plastic where possible.
Avoid using the car and either use active travel or public transport. Limit the number of times I would fly. Plan holidays where we can use the train instead of flying. Turn down the central heating and put more clothes on. Exploring home improvements such as improving insulation and solar panels.”

“I have not bought any new items, use my car less, sew more, mend more, use less energy.”

“The carbon literacy training had us focus on what we would do in our own lives to reduce our carbon footprint and I still think about what I wrote down a year and a half later. I chose to reduce food waste and not to throw food away and I honestly think about this very often when I’m busy in the kitchen. As a family we also stopped using our fireplace and for the past two winters haven’t used it because of the impact to our local air and neighbours.

The hub has definitely supported any habits I had previously and I continue to mend clothes and buy secondhand when needed. I have made use of the sewing machines available at the hub during quieter times and this has also been effective in drawing people in to ask about what I’m sewing or if they can make use of the machines too.”

“Litter picking, changed diet, use more charity shops, composting, more public transport, less flying, changed car, more mending and repairing.”

“More use of public transport. I have completely re-engineered how I holiday – I no longer fly (if possible) but now use trains to holiday in Spain and France (so far). I now have almost no food waste. I use food swap/waste-free site. I buy only secondhand clothes. These are some of the changes I have made since being involved at The Hub.”

Become more engaged with environmental issues

“Decided to start working in the environmental/sustainability sector.”

“More politically engaged as well as more personally motivated”

“More conscious of my choices and using my voice to try to make changes where I can. I set up a staff network which also led to significant positive impacts in my work place”

“Was already trying to lead a sustainable lifestyle but it has helped me be more determined to greatly reduce air travel, get involved politically writing to my MP and finally get some of my pension in a Green fund!”

Greener and Cleaner Trustee and volunteers at London Marathon holding litter picker and rubbish sack

Found volunteering super impactful

“Knowing how many other people cared about sustainability and the environment was a revelation. I see my neighbourhood differently now. The chance to volunteer form time to time has been great – I always have good conversations and gain new ideas. I send lots of people to the Hub.”

“As a carer there has been flexibility and understanding allowing me to contribute rather than long unlovable shifts making it impossible. As an older member of the community who has spent all my working life ended in teaching, and promoting Environmental education it is so good to be able to work alongside younger people who will carry on making a difference. I am not an invisible old lady but am always welcomed with a smile and my small contributions are welcomed.”

“I used to read and learn so much from the Facebook group and found a lot of helpful information. I have always been interested and invested in making choices in my life that are rooted in sustainability where I can and when the opportunity came up to volunteer at the hub I was very excited. I started when the hub had just opened and this was the first thing I did for myself after being on maternity leave and coming out of lockdown.

I looked forward to my weekly volunteering sessions as a time for myself and a time to enhance my understanding of living a greener cleaner life and develop my skills in a new environment. There was/is a lot to learn and I thoroughly enjoy learning from all of the different people I continue to meet at the hub. The hub brings so many people together who come from different fields and backgrounds to join and make a conscious effort to promote greener choices we can all make for our communities.”

How has engaging with Greener and Cleaner inspired you to change organisations you have an influence over?

“I have made my 50+ events more sustainable with 50% vegan menus at all my events.”

“I work in school and we have made several changes and invited senior leadership to several talks G&C have put on. I also set up a dance Facebook page with their dance school to help dance mums/careers lift share, donate preloved items etc”.

“I have been encouraged to speak to others in my community about upcycling. The hub has enabled me to lead an upcycling workshop at the hub using sewing machines and support of volunteers. This successful workshop encouraged me to provide a workshop in a neighbouring borough and plan a third. The hub has enabled me to source materials for upcycling and encouraged me to continue innovating ideas for extending my upcycling fabric small business”

“I got work to trial food waste bins at kitchen units in our offices. I helped campaign form pollinator friendly verges that are now being trialled. I helped engage community stakeholders including TFL and the council to get air purifiers and green screens for a local school dealing with air pollution.”

Rafia got greener, changing her lifestyle with support from The Hub

The “hand me down” of skills delivers on social connection and inspiration