Stroud District Council’s Visionary Climate Strategy: Leading the Way to a Sustainable Future

Posted: 13th December 2023 Ieva Roscenkova , Graduate Consultant


In the pursuit of a sustainable future, effective climate change strategies are imperative; demanding not just commitment but a clear roadmap with defined outcomes. At Altair, we emphasise the crucial role organisations play in the climate change response whilst also helping them to envision what success looks like at the finish line. Unfortunately, many strategies lack a cohesive plan, failing to communicate the desired end-state and what the new “business as usual” should look like. Nevertheless, there are a few great examples across the sector where organisations are leading the way in building a sustainable future for all. In this article, we share a case study of an organisation that is making waves with its revolutionary blueprint to deliver excellence in Sustainability; subsequently clearing a path for the sector to follow suit.

SDC’s Visionary Expansion: Net-Zero by 2030

Enter Stroud District Council (SDC), setting a visionary example for others. In 2015, SDC became the first council in Europe to achieve carbon neutrality in its operations. However, the council’s commitment did not stop there. In 2019, they adopted an ambitious strategy aiming to achieve net zero emissions across the entire district by 2030.

SDC’s 2030 strategy serves as a comprehensive document, providing a clear roadmap for the council to achieve its ambitious yet achievable goal. Acknowledging the urgency of their action in response to climate and ecological emergencies, the strategy covers all aspects of their environmental footprint, from energy and transport to land use and waste management.

Meticulous Approach to Sustainability: SDC’s Circular Economy

What sets SDC apart is its meticulous approach to framing the climate challenge and laying the foundations for positive transformation. Unlike many, SDC have successfully unpacked how a circular economy can function for them, delivering optimal outcomes for the people of Stroud. This dedication has earned them recognition through various awards for their contributions to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Collaboration and Stakeholder Engagement: SDC’s Fundamental Commitment

SDC’s strategy is underpinned by a fundamental commitment to working in partnership with businesses, communities, and other stakeholders. The council actively collaborates with community groups and stakeholders both inside and outside the Council, including forums like the Climate Action Network Forum. SDC has genuinely listened to residents, incorporating their feedback into the strategy, resulting in a well-connected mission statement and action plan. Furthermore, acknowledging that a ‘launch and leave’ approach is insufficient, the strategy demands a robust governance structure that places the community at its core.

SDC’s Focus on Action: Enabling Sustainable Change

The Strategy outlines the council’s focus on action, recognising its role as an enabler. SDC communicates its intentions not only for its internal operations but also illuminates pathways for individuals and businesses in the district to follow. The Council positions itself as a central hub for partnerships, improving access to funding, and supporting project viability. SDC actively promotes best practices, adopting a pragmatic stance and understanding its influence and capacity to instigate change even in areas where it lacks direct control.

Whole Systems Approach: SDC’s Strategy for Climate and Ecology

The set goals within the strategy embrace a whole systems approach, crucial when addressing the climate and ecological emergency. The strategy seamlessly incorporates sustainable construction principles, aligning with the Council’s Net Zero requirements for new developments and retrofit programmes. This extends to carbon-neutral action planning for council-owned estates and initiatives, encouraging the public to adopt more sustainable living and travel practices.

Acknowledging your role: maximising benefits & propelling change

This comprehensive, whole-systems approach has spurred local businesses in the district to acknowledge their role. Notably, all local businesses have now committed to the ‘Climate and Recovery Pledge’, fostering robust cross-sector collaboration with residents and the wider community.

Conclusion: SDC’s Leadership and Sustainable Future

Stroud District Council has made remarkable strides in reducing emissions, firmly on track to meet its 2030 target. Their 2030 Strategy exemplifies how local governments can assume a leading role in the fight against climate change. While the plan is bold and ambitious, it meticulously outlines the envisioned 2030 landscape, providing a clear roadmap for realisation. The council’s proactive implementation underscores the practicality and feasibility of achieving its goals. It stands as a compelling example that collaborative efforts and a whole systems approach can indeed pave the way for a more sustainable future for our planet.

To find out more about Altair’s sustainability services, please contact our team:

Annabel Gray, Director of Sustainability





















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