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Carbon Literacy: Tackling Climate Change Through Education


Rhodri Thomas from Cynnal Cymru speaks on why educating organisations and their employees on decarbonisation and sustainability is the key to affecting attitudes and solidifying commitments towards climate change across all Welsh working industries.

As various initiatives to support a more sustainable and greener Wales begin to take shape, many businesses find themselves without the knowledge and understanding of the ‘bigger picture’ and how this will impact them and their industry.

The Carbon Literacy Project aims to ensure that every citizen in the UK receives at least one day’s worth of learning so that they understand the links between human activity and climate change while empowering individuals, communities, and organisations to take action to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Business News Wales spoke to Rhodri Thomas, Principal Consultant and Carbon Literacy Trainer at Cynnal Cymru about how different businesses can benefit from Carbon Literacy, and what this could mean for a greener future in Wales.

We asked Rhodri why he believes that education of Carbon Literacy is vital to affecting change:

“It gives people the knowledge and the capacity required to create a positive shift in how people, the human race lives, works and behaves in response to climate change.”

“The key aspects of Carbon Literacy are that it is peer-to-peer learning […], learning that puts climate change into the context of the learner. There are also other aspects such as group enquiry, but it has to cover the science, it has to cover the policy, the emerging technology, it should acknowledge that there is an equity and fairness issue that is to do with climate change. It also has to look at behaviour change and how we communicate this enormous problem.”

“Once an organisation has had their first taste of Carbon Literacy and realises the value of it, there is an option for them to go down a certification route and become a Carbon Literate Organisation (or CLO) […], and this is for any sector, public, private or third – any type of industry and any type of organisation can become a CLO.

What are the opportunities that a Carbon Literate Organisation be able to take advantage of?

“Any organisation should be looking immediately to decarbonise, whether they decarbonise their fleet, to change the way that they source their power or energy to go on a green tariff, to think about the stuff they buy and the stuff they throw away […], because this is the future.”

“Everyone can help and [if a] company hits its decarbonisation targets faster, it is going to save money, it is going to become more attractive to big multi-national companies that they might want to supply into, and it is certainly going to become more attractive to public sector organisations who are looking to buy goods and services from local firms.”