The Digital Gene, a sustainable web and software development agency, proudly announces the launch of their accredited Carbon Literacy training course tailored specifically for the digital and tech industry. As the first of its kind, this innovative program aims to equip professionals with the knowledge and tools needed to significantly reduce their carbon footprint and promote digital sustainability.

Co-founded six years ago by Sharon Sinclair-Williams, The Digital Gene has evolved into a purpose-driven company dedicated to sustainability. Drawing from her rich background in the digital and creative sector, Sharon has guided the organisation to a path where technology meets environmental responsibility.

Recognising a gap in Carbon Literacy training for the digital and tech sector, The Digital Gene has taken the initiative to create a specialised course. Certified by The Carbon Literacy Project in November 2023, Sharon successfully trained her first cohort in January 2024.

It was The Digital Gene’s own journey towards becoming Carbon Literate that underscored the importance of understanding climate science and implementing actionable steps towards sustainability. This commitment led them to draft their own sustainability pledge, which continues to grow and evolve alongside the company.

Carbon Literacy is defined by The Carbon Literacy Project as ‘an awareness of the carbon costs and impacts of everyday activities and the ability and motivation to reduce emissions on an individual, community and organisational basis.’

Sharon explained: “We are on a mission to tackle the hidden environmental cost of companies’ digital presence by building sustainable websites in light of our own sustainability journey. It has come to our attention that the technology we rely on daily is responsible for almost 4% of global greenhouse emissions, which surpasses aviation emissions. While the focus is often on reducing air travel, the importance of decreasing our digital consumption is often overlooked.

“Our business model is driven by technology that benefits both the planet and the people who use it. Having recognised the benefits of our own training, I was keen to develop something specifically for our own sector. The course provides participants with a robust understanding of climate change science and practical strategies to make impactful changes both personally and professionally.

She added: “The business benefits of Carbon Literacy training are vast and there is a growing need for professionals knowledgeable about digital sustainability and climate change. The training supports existing sustainability strategies and increases employee awareness. Businesses learn to improve decision-making related to digital sustainability, with the Carbon Literacy Project estimating a 5-15% reduction in CO2e emissions per individual completing the training and fulfilling their pledges.”

As well as delivering their own accredited course for the digital and tech sector, The Digital Gene offers custom content tailored to various sectors, including senior management, marketing teams and agency teams. They provide sector-specific training utilising Carbon Literacy toolkits for sectors such as local authorities, sports, social housing, and universities and colleges. Future specialisations will target the legal sector, fashion, ecommerce and HR professionals.

In their own quest to mitigate environmental damage caused by CO2 emissions, The Digital Gene has developed a climate-first approach in all their projects, this includes designing energy-efficient, A-grade websites.

Sharon said of the business benefits of their updated way of working: “Designing websites with sustainability in mind not only preserves our environment but also elevates the quality of the final product, making things quicker and slicker, for clients, visitors, management and maintenance. One of our recent projects involved launching website pages that are 89.99% smaller than the average web page. Now this doesn’t mean smaller in the eye of the user or sacrificing any visual aspects, it simply means we design and code with a less is more approach to ensure digital sustainability, benefiting all parties involved.”

In Q1 of 2024, The Digital Gene has trained nearly 100 individuals across multiple sectors. They have been invited by The Carbon Literacy Project to take part in a focus group to help shape new toolkits and have been successful in projects with the Tees Valley Combined Authority and North East and Yorkshire Net Zero Hub, certifying 65 learners.

For more information on taking part in the course, contact: [email protected].

Kirbie Bestford

Author Kirbie Bestford

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