The Carbon Literacy Project was invited to run a stall at the official opening of ‘Bupa Place’ in Salford Quays, Greater Manchester in early September. Bupa’s new building has strong sustainability credentials and is rated BREEAM Excellent, and we had the opportunity to showcase the project to those attending the ceremony including over 2000 employees based in the new offices.
“Being environmentally-friendly and people’s wellbeing were essential to the build, and continue in its day to day running. Efficient glazing, high-efficiency boilers and lighting controls reduce its carbon impact and energy consumption. Since moving, a car-sharing scheme has been established and single-use plastic cupsand Styrofoam food containers removed”.
Many Bupa staff members were aware of the sustainability of their new building and were happy to be based in offices designed with well-being and sustainability at its heart. The change in policy on single-use plastic has already saved over 25,000 disposable cups from landfill in the last three months. The visitors to our stall were from many different departments and levels of the organisation. We found that staff members were interested in learning more about climate change and what we can do about it individually and as part of an organisation. Both climate change and the action required to avoid it will affect us all, and it is every persons right to access to climate change learning, and we felt this was reflected in the conversations we had, people were curious about what they could do.
The crossovers between solving public health issues and climate action came up in our conversations many times. The co-benefits of active travel (cycling and walking instead of using the car) are to reduce carbon emissions and to increase physical activity. Currently, physical inactivity directly contributes to 1 in 6 deaths in the UK costing £7.4 billion a year to business and wider society. Other examples of co-benefits include the positive impacts of green space on air quality and well-being and ensuring all homes are well insulated to save money, improve health and reduce energy usage. If individual’s diets were aligned with the UK Government’s Eat Well Guidelines (which recommends less meat and less processed foods) the UK could reduce greenhouse gas emissions and land use could be redistributed for reforestation and to produce low-carbon energy.
With Salford Clinical Commissioning Group already accredited as a Carbon Literate Organisation and Public Health Wales and Salford Primary Care Together engaging with the project, we look forward to working together with those in the health sector to put into practice the co-benefits of climate action and improved public health.
Thank you to all who put their names down to win a ‘day’s worth of climate change learning’ on one of our open Carbon Literacy courses. Congratulations to Helen Fletcher from BUPA who will be attending our November Carbon Literacy for Interested Organisation training course. If you are interested in attending a Carbon Literacy course at your organisation or would like to attend an open course contact email@example.com or check our events page.