Carbon Literacy: A Red Pill for Innovation

Unleash your potential to lead the green industrial revolution with Carbon Literacy. Trusted by Patagonia, BBC, and more. ESG made simple. Read to find out more.

Carbon Literacy: A Red Pill for Innovation
Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions / Unsplash

As the world continues to grapple with the impact of climate change, there is a growing need for businesses and individuals to take action towards reducing their carbon footprint. This is where Carbon Literacy comes in, as a powerful tool for those who want to contribute to a more sustainable future.

So, what is Carbon Literacy?

Simply put, it is the knowledge, skills, and motivation needed to positively impact the environment and reduce one's carbon emissions. This is becoming increasingly important as the green industrial revolution gains momentum in the UK and worldwide.

Created by the Carbon Literacy Project, a UK-based charity founded in Manchester in 2011, the training aims to educate and empower trainees to reduce their personal carbon footprints and effect broader change in reducing carbon emissions across the UK.

Carbon Literacy Trust accredited training has already trained more than 50,000 people in workplaces, communities, and schools. Its highly interactive program is anchored around group discussions, videos, podcasts, and mini-case studies to bring the learning to life.

In fact, research from the University of Leeds has found that carbon literacy training makes participants significantly more knowledgeable about climate change and more likely to reduce emissions at work and home.

As Dr Milena Buchs, an associate professor in sustainability and the report's lead author, told the Guardian, "It's about organisational culture, I think, the impact of social norms on what other people around you do. But we recommend that it's implemented on a whole-organisation level. It's no good to train a handful of champions who try to convince their colleagues to make changes."

The time is now

What comes to mind when you hear the word sustainability?

Maybe you think of packaging or recycling. Perhaps it's planting trees or even hugging them. But these are all very old, outdated ideas of what sustainability is.

It's about changing how we use, value and respect natural resources. It's a sophisticated and technical skill set quickly becoming necessary for any successful business.

Of course, economics will always play a crucial role in any business decision. But the bottom line is also influenced by a growing emphasis on social value and a longer-term view of operational costs.

Businesses must commit to becoming more sustainable and fast. The net-zero sector is already worth a significant portion of the UK economy, and green industries have the potential for further growth and global exports.

Carbon Literacy provides the tools needed for businesses to prepare for this change, creating new jobs, upskilling the workforce, and exporting innovative solutions. Training covers a range of topics, including mapping one's carbon footprint, understanding climate-related costs and impacts, and developing actionable plans to reduce emissions.

Leading brands and organisations such as PwC, Boeing, and ITV have embraced Carbon Literacy, recognising its value in helping staff have agency over their individual roles in addressing climate change and helping their companies move forward on decarbonisation plans. For example, Auto Trader, a car advertising company, aims to have 100% of it's workforce certified carbon literate before 2025.

So, why should business leaders, freelancers, and entrepreneurs become certified Carbon Literate? Here are five key reasons to jump on the bandwagon:

  1. Carbon Literacy accreditation demonstrates a commitment to sustainability, becoming increasingly crucial for businesses and individuals.

2. Carbon Literacy enables companies to reduce their carbon footprint and improve their environmental performance, leading to cost savings and increased efficiency.

3. Carbon Literacy provides a robust understanding of the climate context of each learner's day-to-day life, enabling them to recognise ways to adjust behaviour to reduce their carbon footprint and influence social and professional circles.

4. Carbon Literacy accreditation demonstrates verified knowledge in environmental issues, which can be added to a CV and showcased to potential employers.

5. And finally, involvement in the movement creates a sense of inclusion in the growing Carbon Literate community, providing a platform for individuals and organisations to collaborate and share ideas for a more sustainable future.

The future is calling - is your business ready to answer?

The shift towards mandatory disclosure means that companies will require more support and technology to accurately report their emissions and measure their climate risk.

Regulatory pressure is mounting for companies to be more transparent about their ESG efforts or face hefty fines. In recent months, the Advertising Standards Authority has cracked down on global giants such as Ryanair, BMW, and Royal Dutch Shell found guilty of "greenwashing" to gain an advantage with consumers - resulting in significant financial penalties of up to 10% of total revenue.

With this heightened scrutiny, it's clear that environmental sustainability practices need become a priority within business operations if they're looking to increase customer trust and avoid sanctions.

Climate lawsuits are rising, with almost a doubling in climate-related court cases over only 3 years. Early-stage companies are increasingly asked to include ESG plans in their competitive business strategy. Responsible environmental action has become non-negotiable among investors making investment decisions for later-stage organisations seeking an IPO.

The positive financial returns from ESG investments are undeniable, with 90% of executives reporting moderate or significant returns and 66% seeing a return on investment within three years according to research from Sortlist.

This has spurred corporate leadership to tie executive pay directly to environmental and social metrics, double the number compared to just two short years ago.

Moreover, as companies scramble to mitigate their exposure to climate change-related legal risks, it is clear that an increased emphasis will be put on business sustainability in 2023 as our world further adapts its approach towards combating global warming.

"Businesses can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase sustainability by investing in clean energy technology, reducing waste, and implementing environmentally friendly practices. Companies can also educate their employees, customers, and communities on the importance of sustainability and encourage them to adopt sustainable practices. Sustainable thinking." - John O'Brien MBE, Managing Partner, EMEA Omnicom

This creates opportunities for professional services companies to offer their expertise and services in areas such as measuring, reporting, and verifying carbon emissions and supporting companies in adhering to the new reporting standards.

Talk the Talk and Walk the Walk with Carbon Literacy

Carbon Literacy is an invaluable tool to meet the economic, environmental and social needs of organisations, individuals and communities.

By gaining this qualification, you can cost-effectively reduce emissions while creating new growth opportunities at the same time - amplifying your positive impact on our planet's future.

At Inspiration Space, we have created a Low Carbon Accelerator programme to fast-track entry into the low-carbon economy. Those who complete it understand their climate-related impacts and how to best tackle them to reach net zero carbon emissions.

Unlock your potential to become a driving force in the green economy. With expert guidance and direct access to an ever-growing community of passionate sustainability advocates, you'll be empowered with the knowledge necessary for creating a science-based plan to future-proof your business.

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