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Get involved: staff

Carbon Literacy Training

Carbon Literacy training is designed to support your understanding and learning about decarbonisation. You'll be joining over 32,000 people who have been certified as Carbon Literate by the Carbon Literacy Project.
The course is a total of 8 hours online learning made up of:

  • four hours of self-study activity
  • four hours of interactive training
  • a final evidence task which leads to Carbon Literacy certification.

We run the course twice a week on Tuesday mornings and Wednesday afternoons. Other days can be made available upon request including Saturday afternoons.

Sign up for Carbon Literacy Training in English here or in Welsh here.


The Open University has membership of the EAUC – the Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges which is the Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education.

Membership is open to all OU students and staff with benefits including a monthly newsletter, excellent online resources and communities of practice, as well as regional meetings.

The EAUC also holds an annual conference and hosts the Green Gown Awards - if you have ideas to share in a collaborative workshop at the conference, or a poster session, or a project to enter in the Green Gown Awards, please let us know. Previous award winners can be found here.

Four nations EAUC meetings

If you are based in one of our four Nations and are passionate about sustainability, we would love to hear from you.

We are seeking a member of the OU family able to attend EAUC regional meetings (Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Midlands etc.) and feed back from them. If you are interested, please email us on and seek your line managers permission. It’s a great way to learn about sustainability and be part of an inspirational network.


The Open University is a member of the UK Universities Climate Network (UUCN), a network that enables collaboration across the UK academic sector to advance climate action nationally and internationally. Membership is open to all OU staff and we encourage academics to use these resources in their teaching and learning, or contribute any of their own resources to the network which meets online monthly.
Visit our internal UUCN page to find out more and to join the network.

Working towards Net Zero

Working towards net zero is a priority for The Open University in Wales. We've set up a Net Zero and Digital Transformation pilot, so that we can work with our staff, students and other universities in Wales to help achieve it.
The pilot will include:

  • training sessions
  • free online learning
  • tailored resources

Find out how you can get involved on the Working Towards Net Zero intranet page.

Sustainability Planning, Action & Reporting Kit (SPARK)

At the OU we are committed to working together to identify the sustainability impacts of our work and to prioritise activities that will have the greatest positive impact – for our students, staff and for society. Our strategy, “Learn & Live”, demonstrates our commitment to social and environmental justice. This aims to embed sustainability through all that we do, making sustainability everyone’s job.
SPARK was developed to support impactful and effective delivery of our sustainability ambitions across the whole University enabling us all to live the OU values to be inclusive, innovative and responsive. SPARK supports Unit Plans to integrate sustainability actions, ensuring we reduce our negative environmental impacts and increase our positive activities.
SPARK was developed collaboratively with colleagues across Units and all can input into its continuous improvement. SPARK enables teams across the OU to create a tailored sustainability action plan, provides resources to engage all staff in its delivery and is a place to gather evidence of actions as they happen. It integrates engagement data to inform a wide range of internal and external sustainability monitoring and reporting including Responsible Futures, People and Planet and Net Zero compliance across the four nations.
Visit our internal SPARK page to find out more and to attend one of our Lunch & Learn sessions on Tuesdays from 12pm-1pm on the following dates:

  • 16th May: SPARK Lunch & Learn – Introduction
  • 23rd May: SPARK Lunch & Learn – Research & Innovation
  • 13th June: SPARK Lunch & Learn – Teaching, Learning & Assessment 
  • 20th June: SPARK Lunch & Learn – Societal Impact & Engagement  
  • 4th July: SPARK Lunch & Learn – Procurement & Resource 
  • 11th July: SPARK Lunch & Learn – Buildings & Workspaces 
  • 1st August: SPARK Lunch & Learn – Travel & Hybrid Working


Warp-It is designed to support the reuse and redistribution of surplus assets within the University, reducing carbon emissions and waste, and achieving financial savings by offering items for free. View the savings Warp-It has made for other universities so far.
For access and details of our pilot, visit our internal Warp-It page.

Responsible Futures (A framework & accreditation mark for embedding sustainability in learning)

Responsible Futures is a whole-institution supported change programme and accreditation mark by SOS-UK to embed sustainability across all aspects of student learning.

The externally assessed accreditation mark (audited by students) assists tertiary education institutions in helping students gain the skills and experience needed to thrive as global citizens. The OU became a member of the Responsible Futures Programme in 2022, as this framework maps out the organisational innovation and enhancement required, spanning top-down, middle out and bottom-up level change, to achieve whole institution engagement with sustainability learning.

If you are interested in finding out more about Responsible Futures, please email 

Open Account

We are keen to amplify the voices of colleagues working, researching, and running projects or initiatives that relate to the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - Please take the time to complete this form and determine which SDG's your work relates to. You will be asked to select a primary SDG that the work feeds into. The form will take you through the SDGs in order, so please only select 'yes' for the relevant goals.

Sign up and join the OU's team on Giki Zero (carbon footprint calculator)

Giki Zero is a free, fully interactive carbon footprint calculator designed to help you to understand, track and lighten your footprint on the planet. You can join the OU's Giki Zero team, and colleagues can work together to lower our individual carbon impacts. Sign up for free and join the OU's GIki team here: 

Join our LinkedIn group

To respond to your requests for more opportunities to discuss sustainability, we have set up The Open University Sustainability Network LinkedIn Group. This network is for the whole OU family - our students, staff, alumni, and wider audiences of The Open University with an interest in sustainability. We would love for you to join the conversation.

Share your sustainability story, big or small!

Do you have an interest in sustainability? Environmental or social justice? 

Perhaps you have set up a volunteering group for your local area; have an eco-project you undertake in your spare time; like to help those in need in your community or further afield; or you studied a sustainability course a while ago and have always had an interest.

We want to hear from colleagues who have a link to sustainability. Please complete this short form to tell us your story no matter how 'big' or 'small'.

Visit our internal Go Green pages

Go Green is an OU-wide initiative to reduce our impact on the environment. Fronted by our mascot Neville, the Great Crested Newt, we aim to achieve environmental and financial savings across the University by empowering staff to take action on energy, waste, water and travel. The Go Green Team leads and supports the activities of the Go Green Champions who are volunteers from the Faculties and Units across the University. This is a staff-led programme, creating a community for staff that want to make a difference. Visit our internal Go Green pages to find out more.

Join Go Green Yammer

The Go Green Yammer group is a space for people to share, discuss, ask, etc. about anything 'Green' or sustainability related. Be it a tip for being more sustainable at home, sharing an interesting article you found or asking for advice about something. The group is open to everyone, so please connect, share, and enjoy.

Volunteering in the local community

Colleagues have the opportunity to Volunteer during working hours. Volunteering activities should provide recognisable benefits to the volunteer and the University, as well as benefits to the community. Although much volunteering falls outside working hours, there may be occasion to request release from University duties to volunteer (for example to attend meetings held during the normal working day). As a general guideline, it is considered reasonable for a member of staff to take up to 5 days paid leave per year (pro rata for part-time) for volunteering activities. Staff should discuss any proposal with their line manager and approval is entirely at Head of Unit discretion. The Sustainability Office encourages colleagues to think about utilising this allowance to undertake volunteering activities with colleagues in charities or other social and environmental justice practices. This could be in team building or  'away day' setting.