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Platinum Recognition for Cumbria Action for Sustainability

June 2023 by Lucia Simmons

Cumbria Action for Sustainability (CAfS), Cumbria’s climate change charity, has become the tenth organisation in the UK to have been awarded the prestigious Platinum Carbon Literate Organisation (CLO) accreditation.

Delivering a net-zero Cumbria

CAfS recognises Carbon Literacy as an essential part of its drive to support Cumbria to reach its ambition of becoming carbon net zero by 2037. As part of these efforts, CAfS has trained over a thousand people, and written, accredited and delivered courses for multiple sectors.

CAfS’s Carbon Literacy training is designed to educate people on the importance of carbon reduction and to provide them with the tools and knowledge they need to reduce their own carbon footprints and communicate with others about the urgency of the climate crisis. The training directly stimulates positive low-carbon action with far-reaching impact across communities and organisations.

For example, as a result of undertaking CAfS’s Carbon Literacy course, Freelance Marketing Consultant and Project Manager at Crake Consultancy, Gemma Proctor, committed to working with her clients to reduce the carbon impact of travel to and from their events. “By offering journey planners and public transport info when helping clients to plan and/or market events and encouraging car sharing…sustainable travel should become normalised.” This action, Gemma recognises, will have a direct positive impact on the businesses she works with and indirectly those attending industry and consumer events across Cumbria.

Organisational benefits

As well as engaging communities and organisations in Cumbria in Carbon Literacy and low- carbon behaviour, the Platinum CLO accreditation recognises CAfS’s commitment to maintaining its own Carbon Literate workforce and low-carbon organisational culture. 82% of all CAfS staff and trustees and 87% of all staff are certified Carbon Literate, with tangible action being taken as a result.

For example, following the delivery of Carbon Literacy training sessions for CAfS staff and trustees in 2022, an MS Teams Channel was set up to provide an accessible place for staff to be able to add further ideas on reducing CAfS own carbon footprint, continuing the conversations from the training. This was then on the agenda of the staff and trustee away day, where ideas put forward were reviewed by staff and categorised as high/low impact and low effort/high effort.

For CAfS, the benefits of delivering Carbon Literacy training far outweigh the costs. As well as direct and indirect carbon savings, these include financial benefits and improved exposure for the organisation and their mission.

CAfS’s Carbon Literacy course is available to businesses, organisations and individuals looking for a deeper understanding of climate change and methods of reducing carbon in their businesses and lives. The training is also offered free of charge to those on low incomes, using a pay-as-you-can-afford model, ensuring everyone has access to the knowledge they need to make a positive impact on the environment. The course encourages connection with a network of people working towards a greener future.

Sam Plum, Chief Executive of Westmorland and Furness Council, said:

“I would highly recommend the CAfS Carbon Literacy training.  The course is accessible, compelling, and incredibly well delivered, with plenty of opportunities for participants to really get involved.  It absolutely resonates with our Council Plan priorities and brings a sometimes unattainable or challenging subject to life with real examples and practical steps.”

What next?

Despite achieving the highest level of CLO accreditation, CAfS is not resting on its laurels, acknowledging that the race to net zero – both in Cumbria and beyond – is far from over, and Carbon Literacy is needed now more than ever. Hazel Graham, CAfS Climate and Carbon Literacy Training Manager, said;

“We are delighted to be one of the few organisations in the country to achieve Platinum status. This is a real recognition of the quality of the work of our team of eight specialist climate trainers.

At CAfS, we’ve been supporting individuals and organisations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions for 25 years and we have built an incredibly strong team of specialist staff. It is brilliant to see that hard work and expertise recognised in this award.

We have trained over 1200 people so far, but we aim to train 3000 people in the next 2 years. If you want to be one of them, please get in touch!”

If you are looking to take steps to reduce your carbon footprint and become more sustainable in your life, community, business or organisation, visit the CAfS website.

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