Great Places gets the gold standard for going green!

Great Places Housing Group is leading the way across Manchester with its Carbon Literacy training – and has now been given the Gold standard for green training.

The Manchester-based business is just the second housing association in the country to be granted Gold Carbon Literate Organisation status by the environment charity, the Carbon Literacy Trust.

The award is reward for the business’ commitment to training colleagues in reducing their carbon footprint and for reaching the required number of colleagues to have undergone the training.

It’s a real success story for Great Places, who are seen as sector influencers and experts in the Carbon Literacy field – now delivering training on how other housing organisations, and even businesses from other sectors, can train their staff and improve their own carbon footprint.

The Carbon Literacy Trust operates in Greater Manchester and beyond, but only Great Places adapted the CLT model to make it their own.

Sarah McClelland is the Environmental Manager, who leads a team of three, delivering the training and spreading the word about going green across the business.

She said: “We began to look seriously at reducing our environmental impacts a few years back, and when we looked at the best people to work with, we decided Carbon Literacy had the best training that suited us.

“We began a pilot back in 2013 and now Carbon Literacy is a two stage interactive training programme which is mandatory for all Great Places employees. 

“The training focuses on energy, carbon and greenhouse gases and helps participants to understand how they can reduce carbon emissions both at work and at home. 

“Great Places see Carbon Literacy as essential. Climate change is directly affecting our business, our residents, and impacts the poorest in society the hardest as they have the least resilience to the effects of extreme weather. 

“It is about being efficient. Energy, water, waste and travel are the four key targets for us – we direct colleagues to these, then discuss how they can reduce their footprint in each area and how that can help themselves, the business and our customers.”

Carbon Literacy Project Co-Founder, Phil Korbel, said: “Great Places were the first housing organisation in the world to deliver Carbon Literacy. They have not only set the pace for their sector, but have also influenced other areas such as the NHS and local government. Their training has been of consistently high quality with the extra edge of coming from the heart – the award is very well deserved.”

The Environmental Team hopes to eventually have 100% of Great Places colleagues trained – once they are, the business will receive platinum status. 

Great Places has ensured the training is of the highest standard and now has two Carbon Literacy Consultants within the team.  This is the highest standard of Carbon Literacy trainer and reflects the quality of the training and the number of people from a wide range of backgrounds that have been trained.

Sarah added: “That’s the aim: to keep improving. We are really proud of our record and the training we deliver. We are leading the way and have trained other housing associations but also business from other sectors and individuals too. We want to branch out further to more organisations to help really deliver the going green message.

“By making changes in our everyday lives we can make a big difference to our own carbon footprint. This training for all Great Places staff, and other organisations, gives us all a good understanding of what really makes a difference, at home and at work and save money and help protect the planet.”

Great Places are offering other companies to participate in Carbon Literacy training to find out more and assess if it will work for them. A one day training course is being held on 24 May. More information , including how to book, can be found on Eventbrite.

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