Low Carbon Economy

Over 400 People Carbon Literate in Wales!

What is The Carbon Literacy Project?

The Carbon Literacy Project offers everyone a day’s worth of Carbon Literacy learning, covering – climate change, carbon footprints, how you can do your bit, and why it’s relevant to you and your audience. The Project divides ‘everyone’ into three distinct audiences – those that live, those that work, and those that study. This allows every citizen to be offered Carbon Literacy learning in a way that has immediate meaning for them.

The Project delivers no training directly but works with a host of people and organisations from all walks of life, that all deliver training that is accredited against the Carbon Literacy Standard. The Project then assesses participant’s and certifies successful candidates with their own uniquely numbered Carbon Literacy certificate.

There is nothing else quite like The Carbon Literacy Project. This was recognised by the United Nations at the UN climate negotiations, COP21, in Paris in 2015, where the Project was awarded TAP100 status, – one of 100 projects worldwide recognised as Transformative Action Programmes, that could materially change the way we deal with climate change.

The Carbon Literacy Project has always been a massive collaborative project. It involves people and organisations from all sectors and walks of life working together and contributing time, materials and funding to advance understanding and action on climate change.

The Project is wholly owned by The Carbon Literacy Trust, a registered charity (No 1156722) established in 2013 to take responsibility for The Project in perpetuity, for the public good.

Where did it all begin?

A cross-sector collaboration developed a carbon reduction plan to make Manchester carbon neutral by 2038. The plan was backed by the local government, the Mayor of Manchester, businesses, universities, and community organisations who quickly recognised that in order for the plan to be successful, they needed a method of learning that enabled every individual in Manchester to take positive action in reducing their emissions. That solution is Carbon Literacy.

Where do we come into it?

We discovered the need for Carbon Literacy in Wales in 2016 after meeting with Claire Raisin, the then Director of Size of Wales, and Dave Coleman, the co-Director of The Carbon Literacy Project.

Exactly a year later, we delivered our first certified Carbon Literacy course for the Sustainability Hub of Public Health Wales and since then we have delivered Carbon Literacy training to over 400 people from all sectors and all parts of Wales.

In the three years that we have been delivering Carbon Literacy training, the project has grown enormously to become an international movement with over 16,000 individuals being trained across ten nations.

As the official partner of the Carbon Literacy Project in Wales, and the only Carbon Literacy training organisation that we are aware of, we’re immensely proud to be part of this movement but we also humbly recognise that the ethos of Carbon Literacy is one of sharing and co-operation.

The main course that we run is called “Carbon Literacy in the Workplace” but we also have a certified course for engineers and are developing ideas to engage more general communities whilst exploring the possibility of developing a course for unions as well.

Our approach is to engage with people largely on a sector basis, training some initial pioneer cohorts and subsequently supporting clients to develop their own courses for delivery in-house via a peer to peer cascade.

We proudly helped National Museum Wales start their journey to develop a dedicated course for the museum sector and connected them with museums in Manchester. 

Our biggest success however is enabling a consortium of 27 social housing providers to design Carbon Literacy training for their own sector which replicates what has been achieved in greater Manchester.

With support from Linc and the Carbon Literacy Project, we trained a pioneer cohort of 63 individuals and supported a course design team. A further 70 colleagues are now undergoing “train the trainer” with Manchester Metropolitan University and in January, the members will start cascading Carbon Literacy training to colleagues.

It’s an amazing achievement for 27 companies to agree to work with each other like this and there have already been reports from the consortium – known as Carbon Literacy Cartrefi Cymru or CLCC – on the impacts the training has had.

For example, Wales and West Housing reported that they are upgrading their fleet to electric vehicles as a direct result of its senior colleagues receiving Carbon Literacy training from us.

While we have been busy in Wales, the core organisation in Manchester has been even busier. It received funding from the UK Government’s BEIS department to develop a range of courses for public sector professional disciplines. It has already launched the Local Authority Toolkit, and Cardiff Council – who received initial training from us – is preparing to use it to train its staff.

Tim Gordon (Head of Communications and External Affairs at Cardiff Council) attended our carbon literacy training in 2019 and responded with: “A thoroughly fascinating and informative course which will open your eyes to the climate change debate – even if you thought you already knew all about it. It will really make you rethink the way we live life today”.

Tim and colleagues are currently receiving and analysing responses to the public consultation on their draft One Planet Cardiff Strategy: the Carbon Literacy training of all staff is an integral part of the One Planet Cardiff proposal. 

Meanwhile, Denbighshire County Council is training their senior management and elected members and we are helping them to develop a Carbon-lite e-learning course.

Newport Council and Monmouthshire Public Service Board are also preparing to initiate Carbon Literacy training with our support.

What’s next for us?

This month we will be running a session for Sustainable Development Co-ordinators Cymru, the network of sustainability professionals in public bodies across Wales. This group will be the first to use our new online learning platform as we convert to a more Covid proof model of learning.

The new website now enables anyone around the world to enrol themselves on any of our courses and undertake a combination of self-directed study with online tutor-led sessions. We will be adding dedicated client-focused courses to the site with a closed enrolment as well as continuing to add open courses that anyone can join.

Our experience with Carbon Literacy has led us to consider the parallels between the climate crisis and the nature crisis and explore whether the same learning approach can be applied to raise people’s awareness of the decline in biodiversity. 

The concept of ‘eco-literacy’ is not new but we think we are the first to apply the principles of Carbon Literacy to the challenge.

With the blessing of the Carbon Literacy project, therefore, we have designed a course that addresses the nature crisis following the Carbon Literacy criteria. The course enables group learning and problem solving with a focus on positive action while not hiding the severity of the threat posed by the erosion of natural systems and the extinction of species worldwide.

Participants will be aided in finding local, collaborative solutions to a global problem and to recognise the value of individual action. We aim to pilot the course in the new year and are pleased to have the support of a wide body of biodiversity professionals and interested groups.

Just like Manchester, Wales has its own carbon reductions plans and targets. With support from us, everyone who lives, works or studies in Wales can now become Carbon Literate and play their part in our national story of revival and renewal.

If you’d like to join our next open Carbon Literacy course please email training@cynnalcymru.com

The Carbon Literacy Project

The Carbon Literacy Project offers everyone a day’s worth of Carbon Literacy learning, covering – climate change, carbon footprints, how you can do your bit, and why it’s relevant to you and your audience. 

The Carbon Literacy Project offers everyone a day’s worth of Carbon Literacy learning, covering – climate change, carbon footprints, how you can do your bit, and why it’s relevant to you and your audience. 

The Project divides ‘everyone’ into three distinct audiences – those that live, those that work, and those that study. This allows every citizen to be offered Carbon Literacy learning in a way that has immediate meaning for them.

The Project delivers no training directly, but works with a host of people and organisations from all walks of life, that all deliver training that is accredited against the Carbon Literacy Standard. The Project then assesses participant’s and certifies successful candidates with their own uniquely numbered Carbon Literacy certificate.

Due to this ‘crowdsourced’ approach, working with everyone, from all walks of life, The Carbon Literacy Project is globally unique – there is nothing else quite like it anywhere. This was recognised by the United Nations at the UN climate negotiations, COP21, in Paris in 2015, where the Project was awarded TAP100 status, – one of 100 projects worldwide recognised as Transformative Action Programmes, that could materially change the way we deal with climate change.

The Carbon Literacy Project has, from its inception, always been a massive collaborative project. It involves people and organisations from all sectors and walks of life working together and contributing time, materials and funding to advance understanding and action on climate change. The Project is wholly owned by The Carbon Literacy Trust, a registered charity (No 1156722) established in 2013 to take responsibility for The Project in perpetuity, for the public good.

SBE19 – Sustainable Built Environment Conference

The conference topics allowed delegates to increase their knowledge and skills related to climate change policies and actions, building design, renovation and retrofit issues and the performance of buildings and materials.

The conference included a series of key note speaker presentations, break-out sessions, workshops, a climate change round table debate and limited number of ‘on location’ visits demonstrating best practice.

About the SBE series

The conference was part of the International Sustainable Built Environment (SBE) Conference series established in 2000. The series operates on a three year cycle starting with a year of planning, followed by a year of national or regional conferences culminating in a single global event in year three. The series places a core emphasis on peer-reviewed papers, presentations of regional policy papers, displays of pre-evaluated projects and a small number of high-quality commercial exhibits. These events also provide fast-track inclusion of the best technical papers from national/regional conferences into the global event, as well as registration policies designed to encourage the attendance of students and delegates from developing countries.

In 2016 20 national/regional conferences took place with the World SBE17 held in Hong Kong in June 2017. In all of these conferences, one or more local research-based organisations took on the financial and organizational responsibility while the international series owners, CIB, iiSBE, FIDIC and UN Environment provided organisational advice and used their networks to ensure a large multi-disciplinary audience for the events.

Opportunities in Low Carbon Transport

In February 2019, Cynnal Cymru worked in partnership with Jacobs to deliver two major events for the Welsh Government. The objective of these Welsh Government funded events was to enable and motivate public sector professionals to speed up the transition to a low carbon, low emission transport system in Wales, with a particular focus on road transport and alternatives to private car ownership.

Delegates received information on SMART and vehicle technology, sources of funding, and examples that show how action can be taken that benefits the organisation, citizens, the local economy, and the environment.

A mixture of presentations, displays, demonstrations and surgeries enabled public sector professionals to learn from peers, industry, advisory organisations, government, and social enterprises.

The good news is that many of our public bodies in Wales are ambitious to decarbonise their own transport assets and want to help others to do so. Some, like Swansea Council, have moved beyond aspiration and are already running ultra-low emission vehicles. The technology is available and the whole life costs are persuasive. Electric, hydrogen and bio-gas options are available for public bodies but they were cautioned by experts to take time, do the research, analyse current service delivery before making any decisions. The right vehicle and the right power source needs to be chosen to fit the job. Effort needs to be made to ensure staff understand how to operate the new technology and are ready to embrace change.

The conferences also addressed the issues of public transport and equality of opportunity. Neil Lewis used the occasion of the Cardiff conference to announce that partners within Community Energy Wales are launching a co-operative to ensure that a network of chargers are established across Wales that will bring revenue to communities and make use of local renewable energy sources, where available.

Evidence was presented that experiences of electric vehicles in the workplace have the potential to make it six times more likely that people will switch to electric for private domestic use. A wide range of funds are available for home-based charging and for electrifying public transport. Cardiff for example will benefit from 36 new electric buses that were purchased through UK government funding.

We also heard a persuasive argument in favour of compressed natural bio-gas as a fuel. This still produces greenhouse gases but the amounts are less than fossil fuels and as the gas (methane) is derived from waste, it is part of a shorter term carbon cycle and not adding geological carbon to the atmosphere.

In addition to speakers and workshops, there were also vehicles on display and available for test drives. Both the Wrexham and Cardiff events had a real buzz about them and people were vigorously discussing practical options for removing fossil fuels from public transport, fleet and service vehicles as well as new models to reduce the reliance on the private car for commuting and business trips.

In 2016 we held our first seminar on the future of the car. We followed this in 2017 with a specific focus on the future of the car in Cardiff and in 2018 with a major event that looked at the challenges facing Wales as a whole if it is to transition to an ultra-low emission transport economy.

Also in 2018 we supported the Green Fleet Cymru event.

We are continuing to work with Jacobs, Welsh Government and other partners to promote understanding of ultra-low emission transport and to catalyse action to develop the markets and infrastrucutre for electric, hybrid and hydrogen vehicles.

Our contribution to this process is to broker collaboration between the public sector, the automotive sector, energy suppliers and communities, and to support ever wider engagement and communication of the challenges and opportunities of ultra-low emission vehicles.

Cardiff Council Transport and Clean Air Green Paper

From January to July 2018 we worked intensively with Cardiff Council on their Transport and Clean Air Green Paper. We were tasked with conducting research to inform the drafting of the paper, and helping with consultation once it was published.

Desk-top research looked at reports compiled within the last five years, emerging trends in transport, and the activity in other cities around the world. Seminars and conferences included Cynnal Cymru’s 2016 “Future Car:diff” event, “Car Futures Wales”, and the Innovate UK “Transport Challenges” workshop. Interviews took place with Innovate UK’s Transport Systems Catapult, Arup, Jacobs, The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, Living Streets, and Cardiff Civic Society.

As drafts progressed, a team of Council officers and Cynnal Cymru staff was formed under the leadership of Cabinet Member for Transport, Councillor Wild. This team began to blend existing Cardiff Council transport research and strategies with new information gleaned from the research. The team included representatives from the Transport department, Economic Development, City Services, Shared Regulatory Services, Research and Customer Services, Policy, and Operations, and was chaired by the Director of City Operations. The end result ensured innovative practices from other cities was combined with existing strategic and policy commitments and an awareness of emerging trends to meet the specific needs of Cardiff.

Following publication, we worked with the Transport Team, Customer Services, The Cardiff Research Centre and FOR Cardiff to undertake a variety of consultations events and communications. These included an event for businesses and targeted engagement of specific locations.

Will ultra-low emission vehicles be part of your business?

[:en]Simple answer – yes – if they aren’t already. Welsh businesses should be aware that there is significant pressure on local and national government to do something about air quality. Add to this the slow but inevitable rise in costs of oil and the rapidly reducing costs of electric and you have a business dilemma – when to jump from the sinking fossil fuel ship onto…. what? Hydrogen powered? All electric? Some sort of hybrid?

It’s tricky which is why we are gathering people for a conversation on Car Futures Wales on the 15th February at 17.00 in the Arup Offices Cardiff Bay. BBC Broadcaster Mark Goodier was one of the first people in the UK to drive an electric car and is a keen advocate of the technology. He will be in conversation with Tim Armitage, Arup’s project director of Autodrive, the UK’s first on-road trial of connected and autonomous vehicles.

Mark works with Drive Electric who are the leading provider of electric lease vehicles. Some experts argue that car ownership, as well as they technology that powers them, is set to change in a big way. The pricing mechanisms that may arise in response to congested roads and poor air quality might mean that owning a depreciating lump of metal just doesn’t make sense any more. The car, like the home video, will be claimed by the “service not product” business model.

Tim Armitage will argue that an additional factor in bringing about change will be the advent of driverless technology. Here the service even includes the act of driving. You want to get from A to B in a fast comfortable (and relatively safe) way right? Well do you need to drive then if AI on wheels can do it for you?

Of course there will be some people who just love that physical connection between, senses-mind-hands-road and for them there will always be models available with steering wheels and accelerator pedals. They may even give you a fake Maserati roar.

But for a serious business person looking at margins, predicting trends and future markets, then the reality of ultra-low emission and autonomous vehicles has to be faced.

Join Cynnal Cymru and the experts in conversation on the 15th Feb at Car Futures Wales.[:]

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