Civil Service

Carbon Literacy Toolkit for the Civil Service

Why Carbon Literacy for the Civil Service?

Sharing and showcasing best practice, knowledge and expertise is essential to make informed decisions to address the scale and urgency of the climate emergency and meet net zero targets. By providing the knowledge, motivation and ability to optimise your contribution to tackling climate change, Carbon Literacy empowers civil servants with the agency to recognise opportunities for carbon reduction, create and implement solutions both in their professional and personal lives and actively engage with their department’s priorities and ambitions.

The Carbon Literacy Civil Service Toolkit is a flexible and adaptable framework that can be tailored to your needs, enabling Central Government Departments, Executive Agencies, Non-Ministerial Departments and executive Non-Departmental Public Bodies to train their staff in a day’s worth of action based learning. By embedding awareness of the climate impacts of decisions, the Toolkit provides civil servants with the tools to lead by example in how they procure, run and govern operations and clearly communicate the rationale for behaviour change in a way that resonates with the public. There is a dedicated section which provides civil servants with the opportunity to consider how climate change can be integrated into their day-to-day decision making, role and policy and how climate action can be co-ordinated across the civil service.

The Civil Service Toolkit is one of a suite of Public Sector Toolkits that have been funded by The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) via The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA). The Civil Service Toolkit has been partly co-written by BEIS and tested and piloted by a panel of government departments.


  • Carbon Literacy Toolkits have been developed to maximise the speed and ease with which Carbon Literacy can be adopted within each sector.
  • The majority of the materials have been developed and accredited to save time, costs, and make adoption as easy as possible, with only the addition of local content and case study examples needed to tailor the course to your audience.
  • Toolkit development is supported by The Carbon Literacy Project, but as always, training materials are developed, contributed, curated, selected and reviewed by representatives of the relevant sector.
  • Toolkit materials are kept up to date either by The Carbon Literacy Project or by sectoral experts working closely with The Project.
  • This approach maximises the opportunity for government departments to use the latest and most effective sectoral materials for their staff.
  • As a result, ‘reinvention of the wheel’ is avoided, and the expertise and experience of many are brought together, to deliver more effective training and better outcomes.

Key Questions

Who can gain access to use Toolkits?

Sector Courses and Toolkits are designed for specific sectoral audiences and content is matched to the needs of that sector and specific working role. As such, materials are only released to organisations that in the view of the funders, the sectoral consortium or The Carbon Literacy Project, correctly belong to that sector. This is not only because of the need to maintain the quality of Carbon Literacy by ensuring the appropriateness of the content, but because Toolkits are usually governed by Creative Commons licensing agreements and content is owned by contributors who have only given permission for its use, or commercially licensed it for use, in specific not-for-profit contexts. Training organisations, consultants or private organisations wanting to adopt Toolkit materials or adapt them for new sectors or audiences should in the first instance approach The Carbon Literacy Project.

If you are an organisation that has not had contact with The Carbon Literacy Project before we will normally talk to you first, either by phone or online, to better understand your delivery plans and connect you up with other organisations and/or people that may be able to support you.

Are they really free?

The Carbon Literacy Civil Service Generic Staff Toolkit and all its components are covered by a Creative Commons Licence and this formulation of materials is Copyright © The Carbon Literacy Trust 2022.

This Toolkit is designed and curated for the purpose of certified Carbon Literacy training within the UK Civil Service and approved partner organisations. The contents are distributed free of charge and licenced and in many cases sub-licenced by many contributing organisations for that purpose only. The rights and copyrights of contributing parties still apply.

In other words, the Carbon Literacy Civil Service Toolkit is free to use for the delivery of certified Carbon Literacy training within the UK Civil Service and can be used by their appointed training partners to do this. The only external costs for usage are therefore those of certification for individuals, which is £10 per participant.

You may not use these materials to generate a new commercial product or sell delivery of these materials outside of UK Civil Service or to deliver training not intended to deliver certified Carbon Literacy, unless permitted to do so by the copyright holders. You may be granted rights to use the materials for other purposes beyond the current licences, but if you wish to do so, please contact:

Making the Case

One of the most common queries from civil servants is for advice and support to persuade colleagues of the financial case for their organisation to roll out Carbon Literacy; as well as for help, or useful materials, to make the initial case for participation to colleagues.

Here are some resources you can use to help you make that case:

Environment Agency – Learning to tackle our carbon footprint

The Environment Agency is rolling out Carbon Literacy training to all staff by the end of 2023. Here’s what one of their staff, Shelly Beckett had to say about their training.


Why Carbon Literacy for the Civil Service?

A blog on how Carbon Literacy provides civil servants with the tools to lead on the climate crisis.


Amy Scoins, Strategic Environment Officer at Leicestershire County Council

Amy discusses her experiences of delivering training using the Local Authorities Leadership and Management Toolkit.


Making the Case

A helpful document to help you ‘make the case’ for Carbon Literacy training in your organisation.



Civil Service Generic Staff Course

Available Now
Free to use for qualifying organisations

Aimed at staff within Central Government departments, Executive Agencies, Non-Ministerial Departments and executive Non-Departmental Public Bodies*.

The course is a day’s worth of interactive training, designed to be delivered using an online video conferencing platform such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. However, with minor changes, the materials can be delivered in a face-to-face training environment.
You can choose to deliver the whole course in one day or split the delivery of the modules over several sessions.

*The Toolkit can be customised to suit any department. We can support you in the development of customisable content to suit your specific audience.

Produced in partnership with
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
The Carbon Literacy Project

Course development funded by
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA)

Course Overview

"We need to face up to this major challenge, partly because of the health and quality of life of our own residents. We want to clean up the air that they breathe, we want to reduce the use of plastic that's cluttering our rivers and our green spaces. We want to put Greater Manchester in a position of leadership on this crucial issue that will shape the 21st century, but if we are to succeed it does require radical action now."

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester

“All staff must receive Carbon Literacy training. It is relevant to every single job role and net zero will not be achieved by anything less than everyone playing their part.”

The Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education

“The training will help us all understand our impacts on the environment, our individual and collective carbon footprints, and the actions we can take to reduce these at work and at home. It will help educate, inform and inspire us to make better decisions and change our behaviours – and to influence others to do the same.”

Shelly Beckett, Strategic Planning Manager at Environment Agency

“One of our biggest priorities is to boost Carbon Literacy within the government property profession and deliver a learning and development programme for the thousands of property professionals working on property in government.”

Dr Janet Young, Government Head of Property Profession at Cabinet Office

Request a Course

To request the available course for the Civil Service, please Contact Us listing ‘Civil Service Toolkit’ as the subject. Please include the following:

  • A civil service organisational email address
  • Why you are interested in this particular sectoral course?

If you’d prefer not to use the contact form, please email us at

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