The ‘Big Switch’ – Taking local climate friendly projects up a notch

Five local community projects aiming to tackle the effects of climate change have each benefitted from a £1000 donation thanks to an employee campaign at BAE Systems Air.

Innovation and technology might be where the spirit of BAE Systems lies but here in the Air sector we know that our people are the power behind our air power; and whilst our work focuses on developing innovative aerospace and defence solutions for our customers, we’re also committed to supporting the communities where we operate too.

The ‘Big Switch’ campaign launched last year, encouraging employees to make climate-friendly lifestyle changes or ‘switches’ to help reduce their individual carbon footprint. Whether being more conscientious with turning off lights and appliances, reducing meat consumption or reusing, recycling and buying through charity shops. Any change was welcomed.

In turn, the company donated a tree on the behalf of each employee who signed the pledge. Furthermore, all staff who participated were entered into a prize draw where the five winners would each receive a £1000 donation to the green cause of their choice.

Four of the five winners were from Lancashire with their chosen beneficiaries including the Lancashire Wildlife Trust, a wildflower and tree plantation project in Hesketh Bank and a third wildflower planting program at the Fylde Memorial and Arboretum to create a wildflower meadow.

The donation to the Lancashire Wildlife Trust will go to support the pathways project at the Brockholes Nature Reserve near Preston. This will make the paths more accessible so all visitors can experience and immerse themselves in nature on the trails around the reserve.

Megan Kelsall is from Lancashire Wildlife Trust and said:
“We were really impressed with the wonderful internal competition BAE Systems ran for their employees and were delighted to have been chosen as a recipient of the donation.

“We have lots of great projects as part of the Trust but know a lot of people get a lot of enjoyment out of visiting Brockholes, so this donation towards the paths project will enable more people to visit and connect with nature.”

The fifth lucky winner was an employee who works alongside the UK Royal Air Force at RAF Lossiemouth. They requested their donation go to the Friends of Blair’s Loch, a nature reserve thirty minutes from the military base, and a place close to many in the local community.

Of his choice of project Cornelius said:
“I have a great fondness for doing more to help our wildlife, which comes from providing the correct habitat and educating people to help the cause. My pledges included switching to local produce, eating more vegetables, recycling and upcycling.

“I am also making big changes in my garden where I have begun composting, growing my own vegetables, planting wildflowers and I have bought some bee hives which is even more exciting. I am also looking forward to volunteering as part of my donation and encouraging my team to get involved too.”

Volunteers have worked hard in recent years to carefully restore the area; reintroducing fish, controlling invasive species and working to maintain the pathways, improving access to visitors in the process.

Future plans, thanks in part to the donation from BAE Systems, are centred around further improvements to access to the Loch, bringing the natural habitat back into balance and developing an outdoor learning facility.

The Big Switch campaign forms part of a wider variety of activities supporting BAE Systems committment to the UN’s ‘Race to Zero’ campaign. Our journey to NetZero includes investing in processes and technologies to create leaner, lighter products with a lower carbon footprint, developing innovative ways of working to improve energy efficiency and reducing the environmental impact of our operations and products.


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