For more information about the training scheme, please contact:
Dr Thom Bunting
Tel: 01225 386 311

For press enquiries, please contact:
Claire Hornshaw
Tel: 01225 386 319 or 07966 341 431

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Over the past 18 months, there has been rapid growth in web searches and news stories about 'carbon footprint' questions
© Jen & Mike, flickr
Businesses are starting to provide more information to help shoppers make informed choices about environmental impact of personal shopping habits

Press Release - 09 April 2008

University to help South West firms work out ‘carbon footprints’ for their products

Consumers are increasingly interested in understanding the ethical and environmental impact of their personal shopping habits.

Businesses are starting to react by providing more information to help shoppers make informed choices. To help with this, regional firms are to be trained in new skills.

A new training scheme, being developed by the University of Bath, will help companies based in the South West move towards calculating the ‘carbon footprints’ of their products. This development aims to help businesses respond to calls for ‘carbon labels’, which will guide shoppers in selecting products that have low impact on global warming.

The University’s Department of Chemical Engineering has been awarded a grant to enable them to develop the training sessions, designed so that employees can efficiently develop ‘carbon footprint’ skills at work.

Director of Studies for environmental management courses, Dr David Hicks, explained: “We would all like to know more about how to reduce our personal impact on global warming. One way is by making the right choices when we shop. To do that, we need to understand how different products contribute to global warming. That is why there is so much interest now in ‘carbon labelling’ to help consumers make the right choices.”

“The new training will help firms understand how their products affect global warming and acquire the skills they need to do their own carbon labelling assessments in-house, which could save companies a lot of money. It is likely that most firms will see savings in energy use too because the assessments will show up where the worst impacts of the operations are concentrated – global warming ‘hot-spots’ – in their operations.”

Regional firm Yeo Valley Organics has agreed to help develop the initial stage of the training scheme, starting in June. Duchy Originals and other regional firms have expressed interested in later collaborations, planned for early 2009.

The training development is funded by South West Higher Skills Project, a pilot funded by the Higher Education Funding Council of England. The project aims to up-skill the workforce in the region by providing employer-led, innovative training aimed at improving business performance.

In awarding the funding, South West Higher Skills Project Manager Shamala Govindasamy praised the proposal: “The project fulfils the urgent requirement to demonstrate individual products’ carbon footprint, has backing from industry, and represents very good value for money.”

Project leader, Dr Thom Bunting, said: “This funding enables us to work closely with regional firms, concentrating on what they actually need to do in helping their employees and their customers understand the carbon footprint of products. This should help all interested parties become more aware of environmental factors and reduce the impact of products on global warming.”

Companies interested in helping to develop and pilot ‘carbon footprint’ training in this twelve month project are invited to get in touch with project leader Dr Thom Bunting, contact details above.

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