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Carbon Literacy Certificate

Certificate Leader:


Optional Certificate

Running three times per year in Term 1, Term 2, and Term 3

Weeks 2-7 (term 3)

This certificate will be delivered entirely online as an asynchronous programme.



The certificate is now full and does not admit more students for this academic year.

The Carbon Literacy Certificate is a Warwick Award-accredited activity. Undertaking this Certificate will contribute five points towards the Warwick Award.

The Warwick Award is free for all undergraduates and taught postgraduates. For undergraduates, the Award will appear on your Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR) transcript, while taught postgraduate students who complete the Award will be issued with a digital certificate by the Skills Team.

If you are a postgraduate research student, you can still undertake the Carbon Literacy Certificate, however, you are not eligible to undertake the Warwick Award. We will instead provide you with a digital certificate as proof of completion of the Carbon Literacy Certificate.

Principal Aims

This Certificate is the first step for students to become carbon literacy trainers or consultants. Students will learn to communicate about climate change, adapting their message to different audiences, and how to use tools to induce change for a more sustainable future, both individually and as part of collective initiatives. Learners will gain knowledge on how to take effective action to reduce carbon footprints in different spheres of life and in a variety of sectors. Students will reflect on how reduction of carbon footprints fits within the wider efforts to achieve a more sustainable future and decide how high a priority it should (or shouldn’t) be. They will also reflect on the consequences (benefits and disadvantages) of taking action to reduce carbon footprints for themselves, their immediate community and elsewhere, to discern why it is necessary that as a society we move towards carbon neutrality (or beyond). Another important element of reflection will be on how to achieve behavioural change (in themselves and others) for a more sustainable future. They will need to think first of what motivates them to take action to reflect on what can be the motivation for others.

Principal Learning Outcomes

On completion of this Certificate, students will be able to:

  • Understand the concepts of carbon footprint, carbon neutrality, greenhouse gas emissions and climate emergency.
  • Critically engage in the debates about the urgency of taking action, the dichotomy between international commitments and local actions, and the limitations of the current approaches to action.
  • Recognise the steps that as a society we need to take to reduce our carbon footprints and reach carbon neutrality, with its implications at the local, regional, national and international levels.
  • Communicate to different audiences the acquired knowledge about climate change, carbon footprints and the measures that can be taken to address the problem, in a manner that is convincing and encourages to take action.
  • Develop action plans to reduce carbon footprints in a variety of settings (private/professional) and activities (energy, transport, food, clothes, buildings), both individually and collectively.

Employability Skills

Completing the certificate will count towards the Warwick AwardLink opens in a new window. This is because the experience will allow students to develop several Core SkillsLink opens in a new window, including sustainability, problem solving, communication and problem solving skills, but also self-awareness, digital literacy, ethical values, intercultural awareness (looking into what is done in different parts of the world), professionalism and organisational awareness (with examples of different economic sectors and activities).


The content below is indicative. Topics to be covered may include, but are not limited to:

  • Week 1 (Week 3): Key concepts and international commitments. Carbon footprints in production and consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, climate emergency, carbon neutrality. Is Net Zero enough?
  • Week 2 (Week 4): From international commitments to local actions. Initiatives in the UK compared to other parts of the world. Limitations. Alternative approaches. Trade offs of taking action
  • Week 3 (Week 5): Taking action to reduce carbon footprints: Energy, transport, food, clothes, buildings
  • Week 4 (Week 6): Communicating climate change and the role of Higher Education
  • Week 5 (Week 7): Pledging to reduce your carbon footprints individually and collectively
  • Week 6 (Week 8): Assessment submission


In order to receive the Certificate, students will have to submit a 1,000 words written piece with a plan to reduce their own carbon footprint, whether in their personal or family life, their student life or professional life, if applicable. Full guidance will be provided during the course and will be available in the corresponding Moodle space. Additionally, students will need to engage in the weekly online discussions and other activities.

*Note: The information about this certificate may be subject to change.

Expression of Interest

If you are interested in undertaking the Carbon Literacy Certificate, please complete the online form. Please note, completion of the 'Expression of Interest' form does not guarantee you a place on this Certificate. You will be contacted via email after submitting the form with information on the availability of places.