University of Bath to teach all new students ‘carbon literacy’

In a UK first, over 5,000 students will learn about the carbon produced by everyday activities

The University of Bath has included ‘carbon literacy’ as part of its induction for all new students.

In a UK first, the university is working with registered charity The Carbon Literacy Project to roll out the course to over 5,000 new undergraduates and postgraduates, after a successful pilot project involving around 100 students last year.

Students will learn about the carbon intensity involved in everyday activities like travel, energy use and food consumption, and how to reduce emissions individually as well as across organisations and systems.

They will have the opportunity to complete follow-up training with The Carbon Literacy Project to earn a Carbon Literacy certification.

Returning second year students will also be offered the chance to take the course.

“We’re delighted to roll this out to all our new students with the Carbon Literacy Project after it was so well received in last year’s pilot,” said Dr Steve Cayzer, climate action learning and teaching liaison at the University of Bath.

“The idea came from the belief that every student coming to Bath should have a level of Carbon Literacy and that we wanted to weave that into the student experience and give everyone the chance to get involved.

“This is part of the University of Bath’s whole-institution response to the climate emergency. We know that this is an issue that students care about passionately and is something that will have a bearing on the rest of their lives. By introducing carbon literacy right at the start of the University experience we begin to get people into that mindset and thinking straight away, as well as helping them develop knowledge and skills that will be valuable throughout their lives.”


The initiative is part of the University of Bath’s Climate Action Framework, which commits the university to a series of climate goals, including total carbon neutrality by 2040, as well as giving all students the chance to learn about climate change and supporting the university community to enable carbon emission reductions.

Emma Richards, project leader at The Carbon Literacy Project, said: “We’re thrilled to be working with the University of Bath to deliver carbon literacy training. Using the Manchester Metropolitan University Carbon Literacy Toolkit for Universities, Bath is planning to deliver the largest ever programme of induction week training to students – offering the training to the entire undergraduate intake across the university, which equates to around 5,000 students. It’s great to see such high ambition from Bath and we can’t wait to see more universities follow their lead.

“Carbon literacy is a core competency in the workplace, much like health and safety, so by increasing access to carbon literacy whilst at university, students like those at Bath will be much better equipped for entering a zero-carbon workforce.”

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