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Supporting Scotland's vibrant voluntary sector

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations is the membership organisation for Scotland's charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. Charity registered in Scotland SC003558. Registered office Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh EH3 6BB.

Climate Emergency Training:  How Scotland’s voluntary sector is rising to respond to the risks, responsibilities and opportunities ahead

Following the SCVO Gathering, Katie Murray, Environment and Place Services Manager for environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful, reflects on the importance of Climate Emergency Training to the third sector, and the passion we have for supporting our colleagues working in the sector. 

We were delighted to have two of our Training and Accreditation Officers attend the SCVO Gathering on 7 November, and host a table at the Speed Networking Session. The session focused on support to help the third sector tackle climate change, and we were inspired to see so many people attend, and to answer questions about our Climate Emergency Training. As our range of Climate Emergency Training expands, we thought it only right to acknowledge the huge role the voluntary sector has played in this training and how it’s helping to empower the sector on the path to net zero. 

We’ve been delighted to provide support for the voluntary sector to take action on climate change since 2008, and when our Climate Emergency Training commenced in 2016, it was designed exclusively for communities.  Initially, this training was provided though our management of the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund (CCF), but we’ve refined and expanded our range of training over recent years. 

As an experienced training organisation, we bring partners together to provide the tailored support you need to understand and respond to the environmental challenges ahead of us. Our training helps the third sector and a variety of businesses, organisations and individuals across Scotland to understand the climate, nature and litter emergencies and respond to the risks, responsibilities and opportunities ahead. 

Scotland’s voluntary sector has a huge part to play in the transition to net zero. In addition to reducing greenhouse emissions at our own organisations and adapting to climate and policy impacts, we need to be ready to support our clients and communities to do the same. 

It’s also important to remember that reducing greenhouse gas emissions will not only help prevent catastrophic climate change - it will bring a long list of other benefits  such as more cost-efficient buildings and energy, less air pollution, more equitable access to resources, greener urban spaces and improved health and wellbeing. Many of these co-benefits are things that we are actively striving to achieve through our work as voluntary organisations. 

A survey by SCVO and SENScot in 2021 identified many non-environmental voluntary organisations want to do more to tackle climate change, but don’t know where to begin. That’s why we were so delighted to form a partnership with SCVO in 2022 to offer fully-funded Accredited Climate Emergency Training for organisations in Scotland’s third sector. Our Accredited Training consists of eight hours of learning, including live sessions and self-study. Representatives from a myriad of third-sector organisations took advantage of the training, and almost 100 received a certificate to confirm their ‘Carbon Literacy’, after gaining knowledge of the carbon costs and impacts of activities and successfully identifying practical actions to tackle them. 

Out with our partnership with SCVO we have reacted to the needs of the voluntary sector by revamping our Accredited Climate Emergency Training for Communities, which is available for commission.  

In addition, we offer Accredited Climate Emergency Training every quarter that has a more general focus, and which anyone can sign up to attend. We’ve been extremely pleased to see a variety of representatives from voluntary organisations across Scotland accredited as Carbon Literate though this training, many giving fantastic feedback on the course. 

We have also ensured that organisations and individuals taking their very first steps in finding out more about the Climate Emergency are catered for, by expanding our Introductory Training, which includes an 

e-Learning Module and online webinars and workshops. This training can be completed in as little as 60 minutes! 

Before I go on, I’d like to explain what our training involves and why it’s important, as these are often the first questions I get asked!  

Our training: 

  • is tailored to the Scottish context;  
  • covers climate science and causes of climate change;  
  • cuts through the jargon to explain the meaning of terms like ‘net zero’, ‘global warming’, ‘climate change’ and ‘carbon footprint’; 
  • explores how you and/or your organisation will be impacted by climate change in terms of climate impacts, changing legislation and client expectations; 
  • explains efforts to tackle and adapt to climate change; and 
  • explores practical actions you can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and help future-proof your organisation, community and homelife. 

Additionally, our Accredited Training gives you a chance to become certified as Carbon Literate, after gaining knowledge of the carbon costs and impacts of activities, and successfully identifying practical actions to tackle them. 

As we have developed our training, we’ve also worked hard to continually develop our skills and experience as an organisation. We are proud to be the only Carbon Literate Training Organisation in Scotland, and the only Scottish organisation to have attained Platinum Carbon Literate Organisation status. We’re also the official partner in Scotland for the award-winning Carbon Literacy Project who ensure all our Accredited Training goes through a rigorous independent assessment process. 

As an environmental charity we’re proud to be part of Scotland’s voluntary sector and we invest any profits generated from the sale of our services, including Climate Emergency Training, to further our charitable activities to enhance Scotland’s sustainability.  This includes combating climate change, tackling litter and waste, restoring biodiversity and nature and improving places.  Working with us is a positive way for you to enhance your social and environmental impact. 

We’ve been passionate about the role the voluntary sector plays in tackling climate change for 15 years. I invite you to find out more about how our Climate Emergency Training can help your organisation tackle greenhouse gas emissions and work towards many of the positive outcomes that Scotland’s voluntary sector is committed to delivering.  

Find out more about Climate Emergency Training on our website here.  

Last modified on 13 March 2024