10 August 2022

Going green - someone has to be the first, right?

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As part of our new Green Skills hub, this is my first WYCC ‘green’ blog. I won’t be the only blogger in the team, but someone has to be the first, right?

That’s one of the key messages we (WYCC) want to convey over the coming months; everyone has to start somewhere and, as an organisation based on collaboration we want to help and support businesses to start and grow on their journey to sustainability.

How would the world ever evolve if there was never a first?

The first electric vehicle was believed to have been made in 1832. The first Greggs vegan sausage roll was launched (with surprising success and extensive PR!) in 2019. They all started somewhere, and some things can take longer than others to become the ‘norm’!

At WYCC, we have already made a start with a collective pledge to deliver greener events; reducing paper, waste and unnecessary carbon emissions, encouraging sustainable behaviour through our own practises. We are working towards more sustainable operations and have made a strategic decision to align our organisation goals with carbon reduction.

When the whole WYCC team undertook Carbon Literacy training earlier this year, we took our commitment to the next level. We made individual pledges including eating less meat, using less energy at home and taking public transport more often. But we also pledged professionally, as a team to develop sustainable policies, practises and ways of working, like events for example.

Like many others, we’re on a journey towards a more sustainable business model and reducing our carbon footprint. But we’re also very keen on increasing our carbon handprint. The carbon handprint is the influence we can have on others around us to support their green journey and help to change behaviour.

And so, at the Sustainability Through Skills Conference in Leeds last month, it goes without saying that we wanted to run the event sustainably. However, we wanted to use the opportunity to share some of our green plans for skills projects, as well as sharing some of the good practice and initiatives our colleges have already put in place.

Now we want to build on this with our partners and contacts, and develop our green role within the business and education community of West Yorkshire.

Looking through a host of interesting examples sent to us by our colleges, it was really encouraging to read about

  • Vegan Week,
  • litter picks,
  • green space improvements,
  • using rainwater to flush toilets,
  • crisp packet recycling into blankets,
  • sustainable fashion shows,
  • Meat Free Monday,
  • and green teams taking action in West Yorkshire colleges.

But a huge turning point is that sustainability is becoming a fundamental part of college strategy and long-term planning. Colleges are involving staff and students, influencing college operations and curriculum planning, developing a green thread through everything they do.

Over the next few months we’ll be announcing some key, funded projects, events and services that can support the green skills agenda in this region. But we hope to do more than this, and provide a hub for information, resources, ideas and events to link businesses, educators and other key organisations together to help the journey to carbon reduction.

This month we’ll be launching our #GreenWY campaign to celebrate and share examples of green initiatives, places or ideas in West Yorkshire. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter for some visual inspiration from around the region and please contribute your #GreenWY pictures, examples and ideas using the hashtag!

We’re starting now. Are you coming along?

Author: Lucy Davies, Marketing and Communications Manager


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