The Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership Ltd. (LLEP) is the first Local Enterprise Partnership in the country to achieve a bronze level Carbon Literacy Award from The Carbon Literacy Project. The LLEP employees undertook a comprehensive training course on carbon reduction and the climate emergency.

Earlier this year, the LLEP Board of Directors committed to supporting the Climate and Nature Emergency Declarations made locally and nationally. Climate change and the climate emergency facing the planet can seem an insurmountable challenge, but there are things that both individuals and organisations can do to reduce their carbon footprint and help meet national and international targets of net-zero carbon emissions.

The Carbon Literacy Project aims to support people and businesses to do just that. Overseen by the Carbon Literacy Trust, it offers training and information on carbon reduction, and is expanding the number of Carbon Literate Organisations around the UK. The LLEP aims to use its status as a Carbon Literate Organisation to support businesses in Leicester and Leicestershire as they embark on their own carbon reduction journeys.

Steps that businesses might take may include switching to a green energy supplier, retro-fitting buildings with energy-saving insulation and lighting, or investing in electric vehicles. It is worth noting that, while the initial investments that businesses make in low carbon solutions may be relatively high, the savings made in energy and fuel overheads can often dramatically outweigh these initial costs.

Behavioural changes and changes to the way we work have the potential to have a major impact, too. For example, in the LLEP’s Carbon Literacy training sessions, they learned that driving one mile in the average car emits 530g of carbon, whilst a one-hour Zoom meeting has a carbon footprint of just 10g. Working patterns and practices have changed over the past year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions, and many businesses have proven to themselves that they don’t necessarily need to continue with habits that lead to large carbon emissions.

Dr. Andrew Reeves is Senior Lecturer in Energy and Sustainable Development at De Montfort University (DMU), and helped deliver the training sessions for the LLEP team. He said:

“DMU is a certified Carbon Literate Organisation and has pledged to work towards net-zero carbon operations by 2032. As part of its climate change commitments, we aim to support local organisations to act on climate change, which is why working with the LLEP on carbon literacy has been a high priority.

“DMU and the University of Leicester are committed to working in partnership to address climate change locally and the Carbon Literacy training was delivered through the RCE East Midlands, which brings together local organisations to deliver education for sustainable development.”

Hannah Sellers is an Academic Engagement Officer at the University of Leicester, and also helped deliver the Carbon Literacy training. She said:

“The University of Leicester aims to be a climate positive institution, which includes reaching net-zero emissions. As part of our climate strategy commitment to increase sustainability education, we want to spread awareness and share expertise through local partnerships to support local climate action around Leicestershire.”

Chas Bishop is Chief Executive of the National Space Centre, a LLEP Board Director and one of its Low Carbon Champions. He said:

“The LLEP’s new status as a Carbon Literate Organisation is something that we are keen to make the most of, by supporting businesses in Leicester and Leicestershire to begin their low carbon journeys. The training that we received through the Carbon Literacy Project was insightful and informative, and made it clear how simple changes can make a big difference at both micro and macro levels.

“Carbon reduction is set to be the major issue of the next two decades, and something that all businesses need to be aware of. It would be much easier for businesses to get ahead of the curve and put plans in place now than to wait for the legislation that will inevitably penalise those that were slow to act. The LLEP is keen to help with all of this, and work with the Carbon Literacy Project to ensure that more businesses in Leicester and Leicestershire have the knowledge and tools to make changes that will benefit them, their employees and the planet.”

The LLEP’s Business Gateway Growth Hub is currently working on a series of six webinars for businesses to find out more about what they can do to reduce their carbon footprints. Sign up online now.

There is also financial support available through local grants programmes to help businesses implement energy efficiency measures and initiatives. Details of these and other sources of funding are available at the Business Gateway Growth Hub website:  www.bizgateway.org.uk/grants.

Find out more about the Carbon Literacy Project at carbonliteracy.com.

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