Oxfordshire County Council celebrates becoming a Carbon Literate organisation

Oxfordshire County Council has received a bronze Carbon Literacy Organisation Award for its training programme, which provides the skills and knowledge needed for employees across the organisation to take climate action.

The training covers key issues in relation to the impact of everyday actions on the climate, and steps that can be taken to reduce emissions, both as individuals and as teams within the council. Employees then pledge actions they will take following the training to reduce their carbon footprints.

Councillor Liz Leffman, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “We are proud to receive this award, which highlights the importance we place on climate action. Our employees have shown great enthusiasm when it comes to putting the climate at the heart of all the decisions we take.”

Carbon literacy training is part of the council’s climate action programme, established following the declaration of a climate emergency in 2019, and setting out aims to become a net-zero council by 2030, and county by 2050 in its climate action framework.

The award was received following delivery of training to 200 employees, leaders and elected members, with the ambition to expand the training in the next 18 months to reach 15 per cent of council staff for silver accreditation.

Martin Reeves, Chief Executive of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “By becoming a bronze accredited carbon literate organisation, we have demonstrated our commitment to genuine low carbon action, environmental and economic impact and the building of a low carbon future for all.

“We now look forward to increasing our capacity across the council by achieving silver accreditation.”

Dave Coleman, Co-founder and Managing Director of The Carbon Literacy Project, said: “Carbon literacy is an essential skill, vital to every workplace, community, and place of study. It is the foundational knowledge, and a catalyst to empowering people to act on climate. However, carbon literacy is only the first step.

“The actions taken and pledged by learners as part of their carbon literacy have an immediate impact within their organisation. However, it is the maintenance of these and further actions, supported by carbon literate organisational culture, that reaps the greatest rewards for both participants and their organisations.”

More than 4,000 organisations use the carbon literacy training, an internationally recognised format by the United Nations and UK government as a proven method of building organisational capacity on climate action.

Carbon literacy is defined as ‘an awareness of the carbon dioxide costs and impacts of everyday activities, and the ability and motivation to reduce emissions, on an individual, community and organisational basis’, and revolves around a day’s worth of learning and action on climate change.

A carbon literate organisation is an organisation that has been accredited by The Carbon Literacy Project as being ‘culturally carbon literate’; maintaining a substantial proportion of its workforce as carbon literate and demonstrating its carbon literacy through its organisational behaviour. Accreditation is a tiered system with bronze, silver, gold and platinum levels, requiring increasing levels of commitment to action on climate change and creating a low-carbon culture.

Log on to the Climate Action Oxfordshire website for ideas about how to reduce your carbon footprint