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Increasing carbon literacy within the workplace

Working closely with a number of public organisations and Cornish small and medium sized enterprises between 2009 and 2013, the project team strove to develop, test and deliver innovative approaches to:

  • raise carbon literacy amongst procurement and purchasing professionals in the public and private sectors
  • promote the development of leadership and management skills for carbon mitigation
  • support the building of effective low carbon policies and practices

The European Social Fund (ESF) Convergence project was run by South West-based organisations specialising in communicating green issues and delivering business training: Eden Project; University of Exeter Business School and Centre for Leadership Studies; Cornwall Development Company; Duchy College Rural Business School.

Engaging with organisations in Cornwall

By delivering outreach and training programmes to staff within the county, the team were able to valuable conclusions from its work with practitioners.

Working with suppliers

We worked to raise awareness amongst staff and senior management within Cornish businesses, particularly in the construction, transport, and food and farming sector, about the need to provide low-carbon products and services to public sector organisations.

Participants included dairy producer Rodda’s, food distributor Chaffins, infrastructure service provider May Gurney and Trewithen Dairy.

Working with buyers

We also advised the county’s public and voluntary sector on how to integrate low-carbon considerations into their purchasing policies – for everything from school buses to heating in care homes to building services.

Participants included the Eden Project itself, Cornwall Council, Cornwall and Devon Police, and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly NHS Trust.

Events and exhibits

We organised a variety of public events including Cornwall’s first sustainable construction conference, Green Build, a Future of Food and Farming event, and a Carbon Matters conference for local business.

Field trips and exchanges

Clear About Carbon developed a transnational partnership with Sweden’s low-carbon region of Gothenburg. Out of this came a Duchy College Rural Business School field trip to Sweden, where Cornish farmers learnt about anaerobic digestion and low-carbon agriculture.

Successes and impacts

Although Clear About Cornwall was targeted at Cornish businesses and organisations (and thus placing the region at the vanguard of such initiatives) the project was also successful in having an impact at national level through mainstreaming and dissemination activities.

Amongst its major outputs, the project was successful in delivering a ‘carbon literacy’ e-learning package in conjunction with the Department of Health and Defra (as a part of its National Sustainable Public Procurement Programme) – accessible below.

It also won several awards for its innovation and mainstreaming, including in 2011 an ESF Sustainable Development Specialist Project Leader Award, in 2012 a Cornwall Works WISE Award for Innovation, and in 2013 the top prize for mainstreaming at the ESF Innovation, Transnationality and Mainstreaming Awards.

The pathfinder project’s findings have been summarised in a final report, designed to inform future policy making at both UK and European levels. 

Free online resources 

Carbon literacy e-learning package

The Clear About Carbon team helped put together this free online carbon course to helps employees across the private and public sectors develop awareness and understanding of the terminology and principles associated with the greenhouse effect and climate change. 

Carbon footprint tool

Use our online carbon tool to see how everyday choices, from the emails you send to the transport you take, affect your carbon footprint – and find out how you can make a difference.