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Improving Carbon Literacy for All

November 18, 2021

Accenture’s Carbon & Climate training programme is an important step towards a green economy

Our people at Accenture are passionate about sustainability, in particular topics relating to equality and the environment. But as a company we recognise that guidance is sometimes needed to empower people to translate their deeply held values into positive action. As such, we’ve developed our ‘Carbon & Climate: Take Action’ programme, to guide our people in the UK and Ireland on their personal journey towards more sustainable living.

The initiative complements our global award-winning Sustainability Quotient (SQ) learning program, enabling our people to understand and consider how our work can deliver more sustainable outcomes and drive change in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Improving Carbon Literacy for All
Improving Carbon Literacy for All

The twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss are inextricably linked. According to Business for Nature, “We can’t reach the Paris Agreement without restoring nature and we can’t halt biodiversity loss without a stable climate.” Based on research conducted to produce the Get Nature Positive handbook, and mirrored in global publications such as the IPBES Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services Report and the WWF Living Planet Report, climate change is one of the primary drivers of biodiversity loss.

As our climate changes, species will need to adapt. Many will fail to do so and the intricate balance across all ecosystems will be disrupted. By increasing our knowledge of the climate crisis and the role carbon plays within that, along with levelling up our SQ more generally, we are educating ourselves about the actions that are needed to reduce carbon emissions and, in turn, to halt and reverse biodiversity and nature loss.

We need to move beyond buzzwords, because understanding sustainability is going to become part of everyday conversations with friends, family, colleagues and clients.

When it comes to taking action around environmental issues, it can be hard to know where to start. There’s a complex science behind carbon emissions, which has its own terminology and is often described in vague terms. This can be frustrating for many and often results in inaction. We need to move beyond buzzwords, because understanding sustainability is going to become part of everyday conversations with friends, family, colleagues and clients.

Our Carbon & Climate training programme breaks things down into something more relatable, digestible and, most importantly, actionable. This encompasses actions that can be taken not just at work but also at home. Emphasis is given to travel considerations, renewable energy sources, the carbon footprint of food, and how a circular economy can reduce the impact of clothing and other goods. The course focuses on the impact of greenhouse gases (GHGs), in particular carbon dioxide, and the importance of reducing our GHG emissions.

Having a foundational knowledge of sustainability will become a core skill.

A meaningful response to climate change requires a radical transformation of how we live and work. Accenture takes this responsibility seriously. In the last few years, the idea of citizenship has moved from what could be considered a siloed commitment and effort, to something that is fundamental to being a responsible business. What started as the right thing to do for business has now become the smart thing.

Ten years ago, digital was the transformational driver for business. Sustainability has now stepped into that space. It is forecast that 95% of new green jobs will be in six sectors: transport; energy; agriculture and forestry; construction; water and waste management; and industrial manufacturing (from The International Finance Corporation, 2021:”Ctrl-Alt-Delete: A Green Reboot for Emerging Markets). We estimate that over 50% of these green jobs will not require a university degree in emerging markets (Accenture analysis based on ILO country statistics), helping millions of people overcome poverty while contributing to a sustainable future.

As we transition to a green economy, having a foundational knowledge of sustainability alongside new and existing digital skills will be essential. We must also ensure that this is an inclusive transition. Initiatives like SQ and the Carbon & Climate training programme seek to empower workforces across different sectors and generations, so that we can all move more confidently towards a sustainable future in which no one is left behind.

To find out more about our impact in the UK go to

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Deirdre Murphy

Corporate Citizenship Lead for Ireland