Case Study on Reducing The Hidden Carbon Costs of Training

Case Study on Reducing The Hidden Carbon Costs of Training

Recently, we worked with a client who was interested in cost-saving within their training environment. They realised they hadn’t tracked the cost of travel previously for the training sessions and often those costs were absorbed into personal or departmental cost codes. Tracking the true costs associated with training for them was time-consuming and odious.

For our client, beyond the learning, the main area of focus was financial cost and yet, they had never previously considered the one associated with their carbon footprint. This particular client otherwise had a superb track record of being carbon-focused in their very significant supply chain areas but had never been focused in the same way on their staff training. With the rise in global carbon emissions, they thought of giving virtual training a try in order to become more carbon conscious.

So, let’s get into the details of

What we did to reduce the carbon costs of training...

Problem statement

“Reducing the costs associated with employee training and carbon footprint.”

Let’s first talk about a f2f workshop we delivered. The workshop was on Time Management lasting 3 hours, in Peterborough, a city in the middle of the UK. It was delivered on a Monday morning, incurring significant costs due to participants having to stay overnight the night before.
14 participants came together from all over the UK from as far as Edinburgh and Exeter.

The following is a breakdown of the carbon created from their journeys. (Note: all journeys have been calculated as returns). Three of the participants were residents of Peterborough with the rest coming from the following locations:

Liverpool to Peterborough – 12.58 kgs
Newcastle – 66 kgs (for 2 participants)
London – 26.24 kgs (for 2 participants)
Tunbridge Wells – 19.34 kgs
Edinburgh – 49.16 kgs
Exeter – 43.49 kgs
Birmingham – 15.8 kgs
Lincoln – 9.42 kgs
Bristol – 29.55 kgs
Total Carbon Usage = 271.58 kgs

That’s enough CO2 to fill a double-decker bus! Or to provide energy to an average house for 7.63 days. This huge amount of carbon could have been saved by using Virtual Training rather than f2f.
For participants travelling overseas, it gets even worse. For example, for a European based training session held midweek in Amsterdam with 14 participants, the carbon cost reached a staggering 3,922.02 kgs just in flights.That’s enough carbon used to get participants to a single training session to provide the energy for a house for 110 days. Carbon costs for a workshop held in Chicago with participants from all over the USA work out even higher.



Carbon costs like these are mostly unnecessary when Virtual Training is an option. We were already running virtual workshops for our client, normally when they don’t feel they have enough people to warrant a f2f workshop.

When introduced to the true carbon costs, they decided to run the future workshops virtually. Learners logged in from varying locations for a 100-minute workshop, covering all of the original content and they observed that virtual learning is indeed equally effective as f2f.

No travel, no hotels, vastly less carbon, and just quality learning. The feedback from the learners was equal to previous f2f sessions and comments were made of the convenience and quality in a Virtual Training session.

Do you know the true carbon costs of your training? Need help in reducing them? 

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