Summary of Leicester Business Festival Session

Today The Sustainability ROX team, in conjunction with Professor Christine White from De Montfort University, held a Carbon Literacy session as part of Leicester Business Festival.

The digital event was attend by people from a vast array of backgrounds and industries and was a great opportunity for attendees to hear more about the impact we’re all having on the planet and understand how Sustainability ROX can help.

Here’s an overview of today’s session, as well as the slides explaining more about what was talked about in the session.

Carbon Literacy training and an introduction to Sustainability ROX

What is Sustainability ROX?

Sustainability ROX will build a force for change – a community of academia, industry, innovators and business.

We are producing a series of live events looking at different sectors and areas of business: what needs to be addressed? What needs to change?
What research and findings can help to solve current problems being faced?
Crucially, Sustainability ROX will be looking at Carbon Literacy; helping small businesses, through a practical, stage-led workshop, to look at their Environmental, Social and Governance plans. This will in turn help to ready their business for fast-approaching policy updates on carbon footprints, to maintain current contracts and win new ones.

You can find out more about Sustainability ROX here on our website.

Carbon Literacy training

Christine ran a great session making it completely interactive for the audience.

She began with a few questions which was really insightful.

What’s the Carbon Footprint of Coffee? The carbon footprint of coffee varies depending on the specific stage of production and the methods employed. However, on average, it is estimated that one cup of coffee produces about 0.7 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e).

What’s the carbon footprint of a banana? On average, one banana has a carbon footprint of about 0.5 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e)

What’s the carbon footprint of a Google search? The carbon footprint of a Google search is estimated to be 0.2 grams of CO2 per search.

What’s the carbon footprint annually of a person living in the UK? The average carbon footprint of a UK person annually is around 8 tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent).

What’s the carbon footprint annually of a person living in the USA? The average carbon footprint of an individual in the United States is around 17 tonnes per year. This is compared to the average person in South East Asia which is nearer 2 tonnes per year.

What’s the worlds carbon footprint annually? The world’s annual carbon footprint is estimated to be around 36 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide (GtCO₂) in 2023. This represents a slight increase from previous years, but it is still far below the levels needed to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.

The questions generated some great discussion and led to everyone thinking more about their individual impacts and how businesses can support employees making smaller changes to contribute to a bigger change overall.

Attendees then had an opportunity to ask questions.

A discussion took please on how you monitor your own usage in terms of footprint? And Christine talked about some great resources to look at:

She also talked about the Carbon literary calculator, developed by Michelle Lee, who worked in Silicon Valley, she decided there was a problem with what was being developed and therefore produced:

Christine also talked about the Carbon literacy programme and training at DMU, if you’d like to find out more please speak to Christine at DMU.

The discussion then moved to the difficultly in understanding our carbon footprints and how there needs to be a level of knowledge there to make real change. Therefore more focus needs to be on socialising the message far wider through education, simplicity and pace of change.

For example the plastic bag was created for convenience and to decrease forestation, however it became a commercial driver and essentially damaged the environment more. There needs to be more understanding around what you’re responsible for, you’ve got to change and think differently when you design something

The conversation then turned to the fact there is a lot of information on items about health warnings, but no sustainability messages on packages – with a message that this needs to change to be able to understand what you’re responsible for

Finally the discussion turned to digital footprints and how digital passporting for goods, including fashion – in the form of a tag, would be a positive step forwards that showing what the product has in so it can be reused of recycled appropriately.

The last comment came in regards to the impact of ‘fast fashion’ on the world – for example how second hand clothing has decimated the textile industry in Ghana and other nations.

To close the Sustainability ROX team talked about their Sustainable Podcast and asked anyone interested in being featured to get in touch.


Christine did a great job signposting people to some wonderful resources:

Carbon Footprint Quiz – Calculate Your Footprint!

Cradle to cradle by William McDonough
Donut economics by Kate Raworth

You can access the slides here: LBF2023 Presention SROX-compressed