Finding Our Carbon Feet in a World of Emissions

“It’s 2122. The world has changed. Your great-great-grandchild is living on a planet that is several degrees warmer than the one you live on today. What did you do to change the course of history?”

The author Robin Hobb wrote that “if you can read, you can learn anything”. Literacy is the cornerstone of learning; it gives us the ability to understand concepts and to learn about the world that surrounds us.

The concepts that hold together the planet we call home are no different. We need to understand them. If we can become literate in these, we can learn how to live here in a way that safeguards future generations.

Why Carbon?

Sustainability is made up of countless elements – from diet and agriculture to transport and energy, waste and circularity, social impact and yes, even the economy and our place in it. In order to live sustainably on planet earth, we need to tackle all of these topics.

However, there are specific business reasons why we urgently need to understand and tackle carbon. Maybe you want to work towards Net Zero, and you’re not sure where to start – or maybe training up your employees is a step on the way. Whatever your route, getting the basics right early on will give you a head start.

Closing the Gap Between Knowing and Doing

It’s easy to feel like the problem of climate change is so huge that individual action can’t make a difference or that it is someone else’s problem. Yet, as companies increasingly set Net Zero targets, this is exactly what they require us to do.

Engaging staff in reducing carbon and working together to change behaviours is the only way we can achieve those targets. To do that, we need to know how to play our part.

And That’s Where the Carbon Literacy Project Comes In…

Carbon literacy is “an awareness of the carbon dioxide costs and impacts of everyday activities, and the ability and motivation to reduce emissions, on an individual, community and organisational basis.”

The Carbon Literacy Project was set up to give everyone, everywhere, a day of training on carbon literacy – and in doing so, empower people to make positive change. Today, over 26,000 individuals from over 2,000 organisations have certified as Carbon Literate and that number is rising fast.

What You Will Gain

Carbon literacy is there to enlighten, educate and empower your business and your employees.

Businesses taking part in carbon literacy training can expect to emerge with upskilled employees who are motivated to reduce their carbon impact both at work and in their personal lives.

Each trained employee is certified by the Carbon Literacy Project and you will have the opportunity to become a Bronze to Platinum level Carbon Literate Organisation – demonstrating your commitment to educating your workforce and reducing your footprint.

The course covers topics including:

  • The why, what and how of carbon and climate change
  • Greenhouse gases, and their relationship to weather and climate
  • How climate change is likely to affect us in the UK and globally
  • Key terminology, including – Net Zero; carbon neutral; carbon footprinting and offsetting
  • What we are already doing – national policy and local action
  • Scopes 1, 2 and 3
  • Understanding our impact: Energy; buildings; travel; food and the circular economy
  • Motivating others to act – employee engagement
  • Next steps – making a pledge; setting targets; tools; offsetting; resources

Carbon Literacy certification requires personal pledges, and attendees must commit to at least one significant action to reduce personal carbon footprint; and one significant action involving other people to reduce the collective footprint of their workplace or community.

It doesn’t stop there. Any participant who feels passionately about the subject can train to deliver the course themselves, ensuring that carbon literacy can be cascaded to everyone, everywhere.

Let’s train the world – for our great-great-grandchildren.

“The Carbon Literacy course was an eye-opening and engaging session that broadened my understanding of how and why we need to act on reducing our carbon footprints for both environmental and financial reasons to live sustainably in the future”

Lindsay Reid, Carbon Literacy certified Feb 2022

Lighthouse Sustainability’s next open Carbon Literacy course is on 10 and 12 May 2022, delivered over two half days with 2 hours of private study.

Bespoke Carbon Literacy courses can be delivered on request, with the next available slots in May 2022. Email jo@lighthouse-sustainability.co.uk for bookings and more information.

Emma Burlow is the founder of Lighthouse Sustainability. She is one of the UK’s leading specialists on circular economy and has worked directly with businesses on sustainability for 25 years.

This experience gives Emma a unique hands-on understanding of the success factors for implementing more circular business models, in particular, the importance of understanding the financial model, establishing key partnerships and understanding the marketplace.

She works with established businesses to help them find a pragmatic, solid pathway through sustainability, carbon and circularity, supports start-ups to disrupt conventional industries and delivers bespoke training. Clients include Beko, Magnox, Engie, OPRL, FEN Group, Revolution ZERO, Packoorang, CanCan, and Vanguard Medical Devices.

In 2020, Emma started her online #CE100 series to profile businesses working in the circular economy. She has a wide network and uses this to catalyse the rapid change we need to meet future sustainability challenges.

Emma was the Head of Circular Economy at Resource Futures from 2016-2020, where she grew the CE capacity in the business to a successful team across England and Scotland working with clients such as Waitrose, Central England Co-op, WRAP and Zero Waste Scotland.

Now a host for BeWasteWise panels, Emma regularly presents on circularity relating to business. Emma is a Director of SevernNet, a circular economy focused business network in the Avonmouth area, and mentors start-ups and sustainability professionals through Circular Economy Club and Sustainability Mentors.

In 2022, Emma has vowed to increase carbon literacy across business.

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