Become a climate champion at my place of work or study

If your employer or school doesn’t already have a climate change champion or a decarbonisation plan, you might be able to help them make the necessary changes.

Why?

A climate champion can play a central role for an organisation to reduce their carbon emissions. They are the focal point for an organisation’s efforts in reducing their carbon footprint and thus play an important part in making change happen.

You might be able to receive special training and support to better understand carbon emissions. You should be able to work with other members of your organisation to identify the appropriate actions your organisation can take to decarbonise their operations. You would then share your insights with the rest of the organisation and facilitate the necessary work.

Being a climate champion might not only be a great way to raise your (professional) profile, but also help to make real change happen.

How?

Become a champion

First you need to find out whether your organisation has already created the position of a climate champion. There might be comparable roles around like ‘Environmental’ or ‘Sustainability’ champion. They might be called ‘lead’ or ‘coordinator’. Speak to your manager, tutor or other contacts in the organisation that might know. There might be a member of paid staff with a title of ‘Sustainability manager’ or similar, who you might be able to contact. Reach out to those in the organisation who might share your ambition to create a decarbonisation plan or might already do this work and offer your help. Even if there are already a team working on it, your support will certainly be appreciated.

Once you’ve made the necessary contacts, get the appropriate buy-in from key stakeholders like managers or directors. If there aren’t any official climate champions (or similar) yet, ask to be given that title. A role title like that can often help others understand what it is you’re trying to do and give you more credibility, It is also easier that way to connect with others outside your organisation.

Create a team

Find the right allies in your organisation and beyond. you will need buy-in from as high up in the hierarchy as possible, but it’s also good to stay in touch with those ‘on the ground’: workers, students, members… Your network should spread nicely across the different areas of your organisation, particularly those that might be crucial to your efforts, such as facility and fleet management or procurement. Schedule one meeting to kick off your efforts, but don’t expect everyone to show the same commitment as you do. Some might just need to be kept in the loop whilst others need to be engaged closely with regular catch-ups.

Clarify scope

Before you get carried away  with grand ideas to revolutionise your operations, make sure that those that appointed you as a Climate Champion have the same ideas of what that entails as you do. Agree the tasks you’re asked to do, preverably in writing, and potentially agree a rough timeline for each task. Typical actions for a climate champion and their team might include:

Ask for help

For your work you will need to undertake some substantial research, not only into the subject matter of decarbonising organisations, but also into the inner workings of your organisation. You will need time and resources to undertake this research and speak to the necessary people. Make sure your organisation supports this, so you don’t run into issues later on.