Photo: The first-ever Let’s Go Zero Climate Action Advisor team, back from left, are Jo Petiffer, Cindi Blunt and Jasmine Newhouse; front are Jelly Moring, Sarah Mills and Rosie Pincott.
UK schools are preparing to leap forward in their sustainability thanks to the arrival of a new Climate Action Advisor team.
The Let’s Go Zero campaign, which unites UK schools working to be zero carbon, has recruited its first raft of Climate Action Advisors to lead the UK’s schools in creating and embedding zero-carbon practices.
This will result in the UK’s schools benefiting from improved energy management and sustainable behaviours, greater health and wellbeing for students and teachers, and lower school running costs.
The first of three teams of advisors gathered by Let’s Go Zero to work with schools, colleges and nurseries across England, has been launched in the Midlands, helping embed sustainability practises, in the face of the government’s apparent U-turn on its net-zero pledges. There are more experts in the pipeline for the South East, South West and London in April, and Yorkshire and Humberside, Anglia, North West, and North East by August 2024.
Climate Action Project Manager, Lucy Archer, who put the team together, said: “From helping embed a sustainability lead, to drawing up a climate action plan or carrying out a zero-carbon audit, our Climate Action Advisors can support as much as you like. If you’re taking your first steps in your shift to zero carbon, or are ready to raise your sustainable journey to the next level, our Climate Action Advisors will be by your side, all the way.”
Jo Pettifer, Let’s Go Zero’s first-ever Climate Action Advisor, and a 2023 DofE Sustainability Award winner, said: ”Having been both a school leader and a sustainability coordinator, I know first-hand how keen schools are to reduce carbon, cut costs and improve staff and pupil wellbeing. What they desperately need is the specialist expertise to help them do this and that’s exactly what this role offers them. I love it!”
The Climate Action Advisors are a unique offer for school decision-makers to access unbiased guidance on climate action. This helps school leaders understand impact and differentiate quick wins from more intensive actions. This support couldn’t be more timely, linking to the latest Department for Education Climate Action Plan guidance and reporting requirements.
Head of Let’s Go Zero, Alex Green, said: “The government appears to be back-peddling on climate initiatives to transition away from fossil fuels, yet it’s not stopping schools from taking action. Schools across the UK are leading the way by showing their intent and ambition to reach zero carbon by signing up to Let’s Go Zero.
“There are now over 2,590 schools, colleges and nurseries signed up to the Let’s Go Zero campaign, which supports schools to reach zero carbon by 2030. This proves to government that demand for a zero-carbon society is growing day by day.”
Let’s Go Zero is calling for the government to commit to all UK schools being zero carbon by 2030, to announce long-term and consistent policies and funding to enable this, and to invest in adapting and retrofitting the school estate.
Mrs Green said: “So many schools tell us they are eager to decarbonise further but lack the support and investment to do so. This project sparks action in schools across the country – as well as creating impact at a national level.”
The Climate Action Advisors will offer hands-on help to fast track decarbonisation changes in schools, such as creating more energy-efficient buildings and on-site energy generation, improved green spaces, and reduced waste – all steps that lower emissions and inspire pupils and teachers. Recruitment for the London, South East and South West Climate Action Advisors is currently underway, with the rest of England covered by summer 2024, bringing the total of advisors to 30.
Schools, community groups and local authorities who would like to book a chat with a Climate Action Advisor about their transition to zero carbon can contact them here.
The Climate Action Advisors are funded through a £10 million partnership between Green Future Investments Ltd (GFIL) and Let’s Go Zero that also helps schools unlock finance at scale from the public and private sectors.