Carbon Literacy for College of Business, Law, and Sciences

"What did you do when you knew climate change threatened our world?"
- Boston Globe 2020

This is our response!

Responding to it is imperative for us as a University, given education is key to addressing climate change.

The College of Business, Law and Social Sciences has commissioned this Carbon Literacy programme in conjunction with the Carbon Literacy Project to support University efforts to meet Carbon emission reduction targets. The programme builds on materials drawn from the UN PRME Carbon Literacy training as well as contributors from other Universities, including our own.

Why do it?

As a University, we have a critical and influential role given we have the opportunity to prepare our students, businesses, partners and country to work towards a sustainable future. By sustainable future, we mean the ability to address the needs of the present whilst actively and consciously supporting the ability of future generations (and all life) to thrive within an abundant and healthy environment. It is vital that we equip ourselves, students and our stakeholders with the mindset, education, research and overall ability to take responsible action and lead and influence positively in this regard.

Meeting Student Expectations & Needs

91%agree their place of study should actively incorporate and promote sustainable development
84%would like sustainable development actively incorporated and promoted through all courses
66%say sustainable development is something they would like to learn more aboutn = 8344; SOS-UK, Sustainability Skills Survey 2020-21

What is Carbon Literacy

Carbon Literacy is a term used to describe an awareness of climate change and the climate impacts of mankind’s everyday actions. It covers climate change, carbon footprints, how you can do your bit, and why it’s relevant to you and those around you, particularly our students. The aim of the programme is to provide carbon literacy training to academic staff who have an interest in promoting climate action and Carbon Literacy across the organisation. It considers personal, domestic as well as workrelated carbon reduction activities. It provides the skills needed to make high impact changes in private and work settings (for example research, teaching, or consultancy work) to reduce carbon emissions. It has been fully funded by the College given its importance not only as in terms of our aspirations as a College or University, but also given sectoral, national, and global commitments.

  • Urgency of Climate Action
  • Evaluating Futures Scenarios
  • Climate Justice
  • Climate Science and the matching high impact climate solutions
  • Carbon calculation and individual & group action
  • Climate Change Mitigation: systems approach
  • Our College/University/Sectoral role in delivering on Net Zero
  • Recognising our influence as an agency for change
  • Identifying empowered action as staff and students
  • How connection to Nature promotes mental health and pro-environmental behaviours
  • Preparing your Carbon Literacy certification action plan.

The programme comprises a self-study module followed by 4 virtual sessions, 2.5 hours each with between session activities (typically 20mins). On completion, you then need to complete a written assignment/evidence form which is submitted to the Carbon Literacy Project for assessment. If successful, you will then achieve Carbon Literacy Citizenship, including a certificate and electronic badge.

Carbon Literacy Certification

To deliver on committed action, it is important that each person completes the certification process. This requires addressing the following key questions related to:

  1. Societal actions to become Carbon neutral
  2. Personal actions impacting CO2 savings
  3. Group action that can significantly impact CO2 savings

This assignment, which takes roughly 4 hours to complete, is then sent to the Carbon Literacy Project for assessment. Upon successful completion, you will receive a Carbon Literacy certificate to demonstrate you are now a Carbon Literate citizen.

Recognising that this needs to be a transformative programme, new Sustainable Futures Staff Academy is being set up, initially to support the embedding of Carbon Literacy across our College portfolio and beyond that, the integration of responsible management education principles and ESD, in line with the new Learning and Teaching Assessment Framework (LTAF) framework.

Responding to climate change is too big a challenge to rely on our default settings. If we fail to embed new thinking in the current concerns and actions of those around us, then we fail.

Carbon Literacy Project

Sustainability is undeniably given more attention now than ever before and is more important than ever before. This also means that an increasingly wider group of stakeholders are ready to take action, from governments to policymakers to business, and not least individuals within society. With the ever-growing urgency of understanding the impact of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses upon our fragile planet, initiatives such as Carbon Literacy is vital in providing clear, science-based information on carbon emissions. This programme supports our commitments in terms of our new ESD LTAF focus, our PRME objectives as well as our strategic commitments as a University to embed Net Zero across our whole portfolio. This includes our aspiration to become a Carbon Literate Organisation (CLO) in support of our move to the new Net Zero Business School.

Why become a Carbon Literate Organisation?

The CLO accreditation supports the development of a Carbon Literate workforce and requires an organisation to engage positively with its audience or community in developing and delivering low-carbon behaviour. It also supports direct organisational activity relating to UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 4 – Quality Education, 12 Responsible Consumption and Production and 13 Climate Action.

Find out more

There will be opportunities each semester to complete this training so please keep a look-out for upcoming dates, or contact Orla Kelleher, Sustainability Champion & PRME Lead at O.Kelleher@derby