Salford: The World’s First Carbon Literate City?
26th June 2017

“Carbon Literacy is about education, enlightenment, and providing the time and space to think about climate change and carbon”.

On Friday 16th June, Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett convened the second Salford Carbon Literacy Consortium meeting, at The Landing, MediaCityUK.

The project is our first area-based consortium bringing together some 40 organisations from a broad range of sectors – education, construction, blue-light, housing, and public services to name a few.   Following the launch event in March, the event focused on how to implement Carbon Literacy in our organisations and how we can make Salford the world’s first Carbon Literate city.

The City Mayor, Paul Dennett kicked off the event by explaining what Carbon Literacy means to him.

Paul explained that Carbon Literacy is about the triple bottom line of corporate social responsibility: Environment, Economics, and Social Impact. Paul urged everyone to embed low carbon culture at the heart of their organisations and not to see it as a negative issue ‘we have to deal with’. He concluded that it makes ethical and economic sense to reduce our carbon emissions.

The event comprised of two panel discussions and a workshop. The first panel included organisations new to Carbon Literacy, explaining why they have decided to roll out Carbon Literacy and how it can help engage their staff in meeting existing sustainability goals and empower their people to understand the challenges ahead and to find their own solutions.

Panel 1: Why we are going Carbon Literate. From left to right: Fiona O’Sullivan, Oasis Academy MediaCityUK; Andrea Heffernan, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Services; Therese McCardle, The Tudor Group; and Ged Flanagan, BAM Construction. Chaired by Co-Director of Carbon Literacy Project, Phil Korbel.

Fiona O’Sullivan, Head Teacher of Oasis Academy  Media City explained “Our vision is that all our children become respectful, responsible, global citizens, and we see Carbon Literacy as a crucial part of this. It is an opportunity for staff and students to develop the knowledge and skills to be agents for change”.

The second panel presented speakers from successful Carbon Literate Organisations. They explained how they implemented Carbon Literacy in their organisations and gave advice to newcomers to Carbon Literacy.

As part of our successful sector-based consortia, the panel made clear the huge amount of goodwill that exists within the consortia regardless of the organisations’ diverse business practices and being competitors. The key messages from the established Carbon Literate Organisations included collaboration with others on training materials, engagement of senior management, and training the most interested and enthusiastic participants in the organisation first, then use them as advocates within the organisation to engage and train others.

Panel 2 How We’ve Gone Carbon Literate. From left to right: Sarah McClelland, Great Places Housing; Derek Elliot, Peel Media Limited; and Louise Blythe, BBC Academy.

The workshop section of the event gave the participants the opportunity to discuss the necessary actions needed to get Carbon Literacy going within their organisations, what the barriers may be, and how to overcome them. Each table had a mix of experienced Carbon Literacy advocates, organisations currently planning their training, and those new to the consortium.

Event participants were given the opportunity to discuss how they can roll out Carbon Literacy in their organisations with experienced Carbon Literate Organisations.

Workshop participants

Paul Dennett closed the event by reiterating the strong economic case, as well as the moral case for Carbon Literacy; that it will improve brand identity, improve collaboration across the city and that there is already a community of practice ready to tap into. The City Mayor concluded by saying “Together, we can build a Carbon Literate economy”.

If you would like more information about the Carbon Literacy Project please contact info@carbonliteracy.com Report by Rachel Harding.

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