The Office of the Chief Rabbi and United Synagogue launched a ground-breaking environmental initiative on Tu B’Shevat.

The organisations announced the launch of ‘Dorot’, a comprehensive strategy to reduce the organisations’ environmental impact.

Dorot comprises seven projects which will be rolled out during 2022.

The flagship project will see the US lead a campaign to have a tree planted for each of its 37,000 members to sequester carbon dioxide from the air. 

This will be part of the Queen’s Green Canopy project for the Queen’s Jubilee Celebration.

Another headline project sees the phasing out of disposables from US nurseries, shuls and offices, reducing the plastic sent abroad by the UK to be burned.

Unused US land will be rewilded to encourage biodiversity and provide a home for wildlife. 

The charity is investigating its investment portfolio from an environmental perspective to ensure it meets high environmental standards, using ESG and other relevant tools.

The organisation will make its travel greener, prioritising train travel over air wherever possible. It has also introduced an employee electric car leasing scheme alongside its existing cycling scheme.

Smart energy solutions will be introduced for synagogues, following an energy audit for each.

‘Smart’ devices will help measure, monitor and reduce energy consumption.

And the charity wants to begin a conversation about responsible food consumption.

US Head of Environmental Policy, Naomi Verber is leading the Dorot initiative.

The US will hold a series of educational sessions and debates for the community over the coming months. 

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said: “The evidence could not be clearer that climate change is destroying our precious home. Rising sea levels and extreme weather events are already causing grave problems across the planet and are likely to pose far greater challenges for our children and grandchildren. The implementation of Dorot can serve as a watershed moment for the way that our communities respond to the climate crisis and threats to our biodiversity.”

Michael Goldstein, US President noted: “Just as organisations had to act in the face of a global pandemic, so too must we act to prevent further global warming and biodiversity loss. We are committed to ensure our organisation plays its part in the global effort to protect humanity and all life on earth.”

Ms Verber added: “We are in an environmental and ecological crisis. Many of our communities have already generated real change and we now have the opportunity to scale up the impact across the organisation in a strategic way. It’s clear there is a real desire to make tangible environmental change a core part of the organisation and I can’t wait to see the difference Dorot will make.”