Carbon neutral Torbay by 2030 – time to make a plan? 

Torbay Weekly

Matt Green, head of commercial services and sustainability lead at South Devon College, shares tips on how to engage colleagues around the climate change agenda:

Earlier this month, Torbay Council hosted its annual community conference at South Devon College, with the theme of climate change.

The Torbay Climate Conference was the first of many conversations in the Bay that the council plans to have with residents, local community and businesses about climate change and how we can all work together to reduce our carbon footprint  helping make Torbay carbon neutral by 2030.

The conference provided a wealth of insight and advice, with representation from the University of Exeter sharing data around climate change alongside community groups including Sustrans and many others.

During the conference, I took the opportunity to share the college’s progress in this vital agenda.

The most important piece of advice I can offer, if you’re hoping to reduce carbon emissions at work, is to engage staff and create excitement internally around this challenge.

Here at the college, we have established a working group including staff from a range of backgrounds with varying skills and experience.

This diverse group meets regularly to agree the college’s sustainability strategy and review progress towards long- and short-term goals.

Alongside engaging staff and inviting input from colleagues, communication is key.

The college publishes a termly sustainability e-newsletter from the group, including a review of progress as well as simple and pragmatic hints and tips for more sustainable working and living.

Our current focus is on supporting staff to enjoy a less wasteful, more sustainable Christmas.

Last week, our hard work was recognised with a shortlisting in the Association of Colleges’ Beacon Awards, which celebrate the best and most innovative practice among UK colleges each year.

We are extremely happy and proud to be announced as a finalist for the prestigious Beacon Award for Education for Sustainable development.

The award, supported by the Nous Group, recognises, celebrates and promotes examples of colleges that support the transition to greener economies and fairer societies and integrate critical issues such as climate change, biodiversity, disaster risk reduction, and sustainable consumption and production, into the curriculum.

As part of our work in this area, the college has recently launched a free climate change course that could give your staff the confidence to step up and lead a working group at your business.

This online course is designed to be completed over one term and covers two key areas:

  • understanding climate change, sustainability and environmental protection
  • understanding industry and the environment.

New enrolments are available now for cohorts starting in January 2022 and April 2022.

To enrol, visit the South Devon College website and enter ‘climate change’ into the website search.