Making carbon personal? A snapshot of community initiatives

Examining the role of community initiatives in mobilising individual behaviour change

Project duration: December 2006 to May 2007

The purpose of this report is to provide a snapshot, as at May 2007, of UK initiatives that are seeking to explore individual carbon reduction within communities (of interest, location or organisation), with a view to understanding how close to (or far away from) individual carbon trading they might be.

Twenty-four initiatives were identified through an extensive web search and by talking to individuals who were working in the field. The information gleaned from these sources was combined with a more in-depth study of five of these initiatives, based on telephone interviews with representatives and participants.

The project comprises of a report commissioned by Defra from the Centre for Sustainable Energy as part of its project examining the role of community initiatives in mobilising individual behaviour change.

This snapshot reveals that community-based initiatives using carbon footprinting and trading to engage people with reducing their carbon emissions are rather less well developed than some of the 'hype' that surrounds either them as particular programmes or the issue in general would suggest. The majority of initiatives reviewed for this study have not considered the use of personal carbon trading.

There is a large number of initiatives in existence in the UK that are aiming to engage individuals in carbon reduction through communities, either within existing communities or by creating a community of people who have come together specifically to tackle carbon reduction. Although there is less trading happening than expected, many of these initiatives could conceivably incorporate personal carbon trading in the future.

We conclude that it would be unhelpful for the Government to fund or encourage a wide range of trials of individual carbon trading until it has first established and codified into guidance (and potentially useable web-based tools) a workable and easy-to-use scheme.

A list of the communities and initiatives included in the study: Ashton Hayes Going Carbon Neutral | Blewbury Energy Initiative | The Bollington Carbon Revolution | Brilley Mountain Eco-Group | Cambridge Carbon Footprint | Carbon Neutral Biggar | Carbon Neutral Newcastle | Carbon Neutral Ipswich Town FC | Carbon Rationing Action Groups (CRAGs) | Church of England Shrinking the Footprint | CRed | Echo Action | Fair Shares, Fair Choice | Global Action Plan | Global Cool | Going Carbon Neutral Riverside | Go Zero Chew Magna | I Count | Low Carbon Wolvercote | Manchester is My Planet Pledge Campaign | North Leigh Energy Efficient Village | RSA Carbon Limited | Transition Towns | Wasteless Society

For further information contact:

Simon Roberts OBE | 0117 934 1441

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