Today, The Herald extends an open invite for businesses to join our new Climate Solutions initiative in order to empower employees with the facts on climate change 

THE climate emergency is all around us. It now influences our thoughts and actions in innumerable ways, so it is essential that we are properly informed about it. The more we understand, the more we can do to combat it.

Learning is the key to this, and it’s an area in which Scotland is emerging as a global leader. Today, The Herald is launching an exciting and empowering new programme that aims to bring climate change discussion and solutions to individuals and organisations everywhere – not just in this country, but around the world.

Our Herald Climate Solutions initiative is linked with Climate Solutions Network, a pioneering new initiative developed by The Royal Scottish Geographical Society in association with the Institute of Directors (IoD), Universities of Stirling and Edinburgh and Jump Digital.

This ground-breaking project offers two compelling courses allowing participants to learn about the climate crisis and how they can help to address it. 
One is the Climate Solutions Professional., which consists of four easy-to-follow web-based modules and an online workshop. It will help time-poor managers to understand climate issues and their relevance to their organisations and personal lives.

The second is Climate Solutions Accelerator, an express online learning programme which teaches the basics in vital areas such as climate science and policy legislation and offers ideas around solutions in just 90 minutes.

Both courses feature highly motivational materials as well as contributions from some of the world’s leading figures in the fight against climate change.

Those featured include global campaigner Greta Thunberg, former Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, ex-Irish President Mary Robinson, former Norwegian Premier Gro Harlem Brundtland and recent UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

The programmes are the brainchild of Mike Robinson, CEO of the Perth-based Royal Scottish Geographical Society and a veteran climate change and sustainability campaigner.

HeraldScotland:

In 2006 he helped found, and chaired, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, the largest civil society coalition ever formed in this country. 

What drove him to launch this new programme? “It became obvious to me that far too many people still didn’t understand the relevance of climate change to their businesses and they didn’t have the time to sort that out”, he explains. “I realised I had built up a lot of knowledge in this area and that there wasn’t anything out there that could teach people what they could do. So I got together with the IoD and Edinburgh and Stirling Universities to produce this course.”

The full four-module course has recently been launched and contains some 20 hours of online learning as well as the two workshops. “There is a lot of expertise crammed into it. We had already had about 300 people subscribe to it, including 100 in the Scottish Government.

“It’s aimed at people who are managers, directors or board members – anyone who wants to have a robust organisation. We’ve got people signed up from a whole range of sectors and I think that is part of its appeal. The point is that climate change is now pervasive. It goes beyond the Sustainability Officer or a single department. 

“It’s going to impact every aspect of organisations, so it’s really important that everyone from the board through to Finance Directors through to those in personnel, HR, purchasing and other areas has a better and more rounded understanding of where this is all going.

“We do touch on the science, though that has been settled for quite a long time and we only tell people what they really need to know. Then there’s another part that is about the inevitability of the direction of travel.

“People need to realise the ways things are going on this – the forthcoming COP26 conference in Glasgow later this year is a case in point. International commitments on climate change are ramping up year on year.”

The shorter, single session Climate Solutions Accelerator programme offers the basics in an easy-to-digest fashion. Several organisations have signed up to put their entire senior management, and in some cases their entire workforce, through one or other of the two courses.  And this appeal is global.  

“One major US company enrolled some of its Scottish staff in an early session of the full course and quickly decided that the learning and knowledge gained needed to be rolled out to all its staff globally, more to follow on this. We’re getting a sense now that there is a really strong appetite for this sort of thing – businesses really want to understand the issues and get on top of them quickly. 

“The global names we’ve brought in on both of the programmes to help convey the message have helped with the content and to make it clear why people need to wake up to this issue.”

Although the courses are attracting interest worldwide, Mike Robinson says that they are unapologetically Scottish. “Countries are at different points and there’s no question that Scotland is well ahead of the rest of the world on this journey.

“No-one is perfect in this, but the UK is the leading country on addressing climate issues in the G20 and Scotland is the leader within the UK, with much more stringent commitments than the other parts. That means that we have a responsibility, but there is also an opportunity for us in terms of leadership. It’s about helping people understand the whole of the debate so they can be better informed and better prepared. I hope that by taking the courses, they will be better able to build change and deliver the future.”

  • The Climate Solutions Programme is currently available at an early bird discount of £300 per participant, while the Climate Solutions Accelerator is £120 per participant, with bulk discounts on request. View more details at www.climatesolutionsnetwork.com