Tong Garden Centre 14062023

Yorkshire garden centre group first in UK to accredit its own sustainability training

The team at a Bradford-based garden centre group is celebrating after becoming the first garden centre group to accredit its own Carbon Literacy Training.


The team at Yorkshire Garden Centres have developed the training programme in conjunction with the award-winning Manchester charity, The Carbon Literacy Project in order to equip its 509 employees with the skills to contribute to becoming a carbon-neutral business.


The Carbon Literacy Project is based on the premise that, in order to cut carbon emissions by the kind of reductions demanded by science, then the culture needs to change alongside technology.


Yorkshire Garden Centres’ Sustainability Lead, Steph Bates said: “We plan to roll out the Carbon Literacy workshops to all of our employees, ensuring everyone has the opportunity to learn and embrace positive changes to reduce their carbon impacts. The aim is to create more awareness of the environmental costs and impacts of greenhouse gas emissions through our everyday activities and to inspire people to reduce emissions on an individual, community and company basis.


“The project is one of many of our sustainability initiatives and will see our whole team do the training and make over 800 carbon-reducing pledges by December 2024. Once made, these pledges have the power to save the equivalent energy to power 1500 homes each year. It would take approximately 132,000 trees 10 years to capture this level of emissions.”


Organisations that have a Carbon Literate workforce can be accredited by the Carbon Literacy Project team as a ‘Carbon Literate Organisation’ (CLO). Yorkshire Garden Centres is on target to achieve a Bronze Accreditation by the end of June 2023.


For every pledge made by its team, Yorkshire Garden Centres are donating £5 to support Carbon Literacy Education in Schools and Community Groups.


The Carbon Literacy Project was recognised by the UN at COP21 as one of the 100 worldwide Transformative Actions Programs and has certified over 60,000 learners worldwide.


The Yorkshire Garden Centres (YGC) group comprises Tong, Tingley, Otley and Bingley Garden Centres. Otley and Bingley were known as Stephen H Smith’s before they were acquired by YGC in 2022.