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Carbon Literacy Case Study

As a key organisation in the energy industry within the UK North West region (and now expanding to the North East), we strongly believe we have a major role in helping our customers, suppliers and the wider community to become more carbon neutral. Everybody relies on electricity, but carbon reduction doesn’t just stop at being energy-savvy or using clean renewable electricity. The construction and maintenance of electrical networks alone can have a huge impact on the environment.

Indeed, we have ambitious targets to become a carbon neutral company by 2032 and we understand it is only achievable if we first educate and get the commitment of our employees to this important goal. A Carbon Literate workforce is more likely to carry out works or make business decisions with carbon footprint in mind at all times.

We embarked on the Carbon Literacy journey in 2020 and by July 2021 despite the global pandemic we had achieved our goal of putting our whole workforce through a one day face-to-face highly interactive formal training course. The training sessions took place in ballroom-sized conference rooms that both ensured participants could maintain social distancing and helped create space for some of the fun carbon challenges included in our training material. The full-day events saw teams discussing where and how they can positively challenge the company’s impact on climate change. Conversations were also taking place about what individuals could do in the workplace and also at home! Our employees made pledges to make small but impactful changes in their personal and work life and this has now been built into each employee’s personal objectives and targets, which are reviewed on an annual basis. An example of the types of commitments made comes from Paul who committed to using his energy at home in a smarter way, which reduces demand on the system at peak times (which reduces the need for upgrades to the local network if everybody uses energy this way in his area) and equally has put a few more £s in Paul’s pocket).

Since the summer of 2021, we have made changes in how we conduct ourselves as both teams and as individuals. There has been a huge rise in demand for Electric Vehicles (EV) as a company car option amongst our workforce and there is now a competition on who’s next to get an EV, and which one did they go for – with the Polestar being the current prized item for value and range. We’ve also installed more EV chargers at our office car park to avoid a manic race to the socket and have offered financial contributions to the cost of installing EV chargers at home for our employees. We now have a Renault electric van at Manchester airport, which is perfect for our colleagues to get about in a carbon-neutral style between our various work sites. For those colleagues who want to switch to public transport, we are now offering help with buying season tickets and there’s our cycle to work scheme on offer too.

We are now more mindful of how we are planning projects, how many journeys we are making, and we are now incentivising our staff to help us with providing new technology solutions to customers so that they can reduce their carbon impact too. As a company we also started making smarter choices, for example, our milk now comes in re-usable glass bottles rather than in disposable plastic ones as before. We know that there are more things to come!

As a company, we are keen to help our customers, suppliers and the wider community to become more sustainable and carbon neutral, which is why we devised plans for 2022 that will see us collaborating with other organisations. We are developing our own Carbon Literacy educational material and are going to use it to educate our customers and our supply chain, so that they too can take their own Carbon Literacy journey and become influencers.

The ethos of the Carbon Literacy Organisation is extremely helpful to us in our journey to become carbon neutral by 2032. It has helped us foster a culture in our organisation that prompts us to think about our impact on the environment and climate change within every aspect of our business. By educating our employees, we have already seen their contribution as individuals and as teams. We also believe that encouraging our suppliers and customers to be more sustainable will have a positive impact for their organisation, our organisation and our communities. To put it simply, we are fully utilising Carbon Literacy as a tool to achieve the most ambitious goal we have ever set ourselves!