Climate Change Policy and Scrutiny Committee                                         


9 March 2021

Report of the Chief Operating Officer





Carbon Literacy Training

1.     The report sets out the proposal for introducing climate literacy training to City of York Council.




2.     City of York Council (CYC) announced a climate emergency in March 2019; subsequently setting an ambition for York to be carbon neutral by 2030.


3.     Improving the carbon literacy and understanding of climate change amongst members and officers at CYC can make an important contribution to realising this ambition. Both by delivering behaviour change amongst staff and also leading to more informed policy and project decision making.


Speak Carbon


4.    Speak Carbon is a network of trainers delivering Carbon Literacy knowledge for key organisations and communities in Yorkshire.


5.    Speak Carbon training is accredited by the Carbon Literacy Project, which is recognised as one of the 100 worldwide Transformative Action Programs.


Pilot Training 


6.    On 2 March 2021, Speak Carbon delivered a 2hr pilot training session for members of the Climate Change Policy & Scrutiny Committee. This training was designed to provide an overview of the course and allow committee members to evaluate the effectiveness and appropriateness of this format for a wider roll-out.

Phased Roll-out


7.    There are different approaches to wider roll-out. A suggested option is a three phased approach: 


Phase one: immediate delivery of Carbon Literacy training to identified key climate emergency cohorts

To include:

●   Councillors

●   Senior management

●   Internal climate emergency groups


Decision makers become aware of Climate Emergency impact and planned wider staff / community engagement.

Raising understanding amongst this cohort is critical for expediting actions and moving the organisation forward along the planned net-zero roadmap.


Keeping the numbers low on this first stage will allow for the biggest impact.


Phase two: delivery of Carbon Literacy training across to all CYC staff (this could also include suppliers and contractors).


Potential routes for delivery include:

●  Peer to peer training (using train the trainer sessions to cascade internal training)

●  Direct training from Speak Carbon

●  Online/short session based training

●  Embedding within induction process


Delivery would most likely involve a mixture of these and could be tailored to our requirements.


Phase three: Carbon Literacy learning and engagement to local organisations, communities and citizens across York.


This would be part of the ambitious goal to bring Carbon Literacy learning to the wider public with the aim of achieving the behaviour change required to achieve our net-zero ambition while simultaneously demonstrating commitment, influence and leadership.




8.    Indicative costing has been provided for phase one of the potential approach outlined above.


9.    This cost is based on the following assumptions:

                     i.        Delivery of phase one, key Speak Carbon training to 2 targeted cohorts of 24 people (48 total). This could be mixed or specific to each group if required.

                    ii.        Training will consist of 3 x 2hr guided sessions, delivered online, using BEIS funded materials, with bespoke CYC communications

                  iii.        There will be around 2 hours of additional learning to be completed away from the guided sessions

                  iv.        The sessions provide understanding of the latest scientific developments, impacts and best practices for Climate Emergency action planning

                   v.        The cohort will gain accreditation from the Carbon Literacy Project and Carbon Literacy Organisational accreditation, to demonstrate leadership and action

                  vi.        The two sessions can be run at times and dates to best suit CYC



Cost per Unit



Develop training materials and administration of participants


3 days


Online training delivery for 48 (3 x 2hr online sessions)




CLP accreditation and certification fees




Net Total













10.Work has begun through the Y&NY LEP and with the Directors of Development group (DoD) to create a mechanism for delivering phase two of the above approach. This would result in Speak Carbon producing a 45 minute training course tailored to our local requirements and training platform that could be made available to all staff. The estimated cost is expected to be covered from the DoD budget, to which CYC contribute, at an apportioned cost of roughly £2,800 to CYC. 




11.The Climate Change Policy Scrutiny Committee are asked to:

·     Review & evaluate the training session provided by Speak Carbon

·     Provide suggestions to the Executive Member on whether to proceed with the training, options for funding and the mechanism for delivery


Council Plan


12.The project accords with the Council Plan 2019-2023 in regard to the following core outcomes of the Plan:

·          A greener and cleaner city – Working towards becoming a carbon neutral city by 2030

·          Getting around sustainably – Cutting congestion, pollution and carbon emissions

·          Good health and wellbeing – Promoting active travel, healthy eating and improving air quality

·          Safe communities and culture for all – Supporting groups who are at greatest risk of climate change

·          Well paid jobs and an inclusive economy – Creating employment opportunities in the green economy


Contact Details



Shaun Gibbons

Head of Carbon Reduction



Chief Officer Responsible for the report:

Ian Floyd

Chief Operating Officer

Report approved:  √      Date: 26.2.21




Wards Affected:





For further information please contact the author of the report



Background Papers:  Council Plan 2019-2023





BEIS - Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

CYC - City of York Council

DoD - Directors of Development group

Y&NY LEP - York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership