3Ci & Ashden LESS CO2 Programme: Using our skills to make an impact

Created in 2013, the Carbon Credentials Charity Initiative (3Ci) is our workplace volunteering and charity fundraising scheme, set up and run by Carbon Credentials employees.

As a professional services firm in the sustainability sector, we at Carbon Credentials are keen to have an impact across the three pillars of sustainability: environmental, economic, and social. Our vision with 3Ci is to showcase the role businesses can play in tackling global issues and delivering sustainable transformational change.

Ashden is a charity that champions and supports sustainable energy innovators to accelerate the shift to a low carbon world through increasing the take-up of sustainable energy. This mission is closely aligned with our own – to enable a global low carbon economy. Because of this, 3Ci has partnered with Ashden to donate our consultants’ skills and expertise to support the charity in its work.

The LESS CO2 sustainable schools programme is a free, energy efficiency programme created by Ashden that is available to any UK school, including academy, council-run, or independent schools. The three aims of the LESS COprogramme are to work with schools to:

  1. Reduce energy usage
  2. Save money on bills
  3. Lower COemissions

Through a series of workshops, peer mentoring, expert advice, and resources, school staff are empowered and equipped to make changes and improvements to their school with the help of the LESS COprogramme.

To date, the LESS COprogramme has worked with 269 schools, reaching 135,800 pupils. Where data was available, the programme managers could identify that participant schools had seen significant monetary savings. However, because of the limited size of the dataset they were using, they wanted to gain a clearer picture of the programme’s impact.

Our data scientists offered to help. We used the open access database of display energy certificates (DECs) to create a greater sample size of schools and energy consumption data. Using this larger data set, we were better able to analyse any changes in consumption that had occurred due to the LESS COprogramme.

The infographic Carbon Credentials designed based upon the analysis we provided for the LESS CO2 programme highlighting the key impacts and savings the programme brings to schools

The outcome was both clarity and confidence for Ashden on the impact of the LESS COprogramme. We turned the results into an infographic that demonstrates typical programme savings. This was used as a display for the programme at the annual Ashden awards and can be seen above.

According to a report entitled “Low Carbon Behaviour Change”[1], experience suggests a well-executed employee engagement campaign can achieve savings of up to 10% on energy. With an overall energy saving of 13% as shown above, our analysis demonstrated that the LESS CO2 programme has been particularly effective in having a significant impact on the schools it works with in terms of energy, emissions, and monetary savings.

“Carbon Credentials’ evaluation of the impact of our LESS COprogramme for schools will be an invaluable tool for Ashden. Their expert and in-depth analysis of our data has resulted in a set of metrics that are robust and externally verifiable. This in turn will help Ashden convince funders and partners that LESS COis making a demonstrable difference in helping schools save carbon and save money. A massive thanks to Carbon Credentials for all their hard work on Ashden’s behalf.”

Ed Dean, Ashden Head of Development.

We are so pleased that the time and skills donated by Carbon Credentials through 3Ci has provided value to the LESS CO2 programme. We hope that by demonstrating the impact of their programme in a more robust manner they can keep on saving kilowatt-hours, pounds, and tonnes of CO2 at even more schools around the country!

If you know of a school that would be interested in taking part, spread the word on the Ashden LESS CO2 programme! Click here to register your interest and a member of the LESS CO2 team will contact you with further information.

Find out more about 3Ci here.

Emma Watson, Consultant


[1] https://www.carbontrust.com/media/434481/ctc827-low-carbon-behaviour-change.pdf