eBay UK launches carbon academy to help small businesses reduce their carbon footprint and engage customers on climate action

Last updated: 10th May 2023

eBay UK is aiming to tackle the skills gap that SMEs clearly say is holding them back from taking action to reduce their carbon emissions, with the launch of the Carbon Academy.

Delivered in partnership with climate solutions organisation Climate Partner, the series of interactive training modules are designed to equip businesses with the skills to reduce the carbon impact of their operations. The programme is available through eBay’s online academy, making them easily accessible to eBay sellers, who can complete each module at their own pace. 

The training will cover seven modules, with topics including climate strategies for businesses, carbon accounting and communicating climate action. 

Module 1: Climate action in 3 essential steps

Module 2: Climate strategies for businesses 

Module 3: Carbon accounting

Module 4: Carbon reduction

Module 5: Circular economy

Module 6: Carbon offsetting

Module 7: Communicating climate action

Businesses will also have the opportunity to purchase Climate Partner’s carbon impact report at a discounted rate, which will break down the impact of the products each seller lists on the marketplace and provide tangible steps to reduce it. 

Eve Williams, General Manager at eBay UK said: “Most small business leaders know that reducing their carbon impact should be a priority; becoming a more environmentally conscious business will ultimately help all businesses to become more commercially sustainable in the long run. But in reality, when you are a small team, it can be really difficult to know where to start and to navigate some of the jargon. The Carbon Academy has been designed for small and medium businesses to help them overcome these challenges by providing practical guidance and bitesize modules to get them started on their climate action journey.  

“Small businesses have the potential to make a huge impact. After all, 99% of businesses in the UK are SMEs, so they have a critical part to play when it comes to reducing carbon emissions. We see our role as an enabler, to support small businesses to build the skills and knowledge they need to take action. We all know that driving the change we need to see in our economy is going to take all of us and with over 200,000 small businesses using eBay in the UK alone, we can drive significant impact.”

eBay has been a pioneer in the circular economy since it launched over 25 years ago. The business has set an ambitious greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) through which it aims to reduce its own scope 1 and scope 2 emissions by 90% by 2030 (from a 2019 base year). The Carbon Academy forms part of its efforts to go further, supporting the wider small business ecosystem on the road to net zero.  

The sustainability initiative follows the creation of eBay’s Circular Fashion Innovator’s Fund in partnership with the British Fashion Council in 2022. Earlier this year, the fund awarded £100,000 to six businesses developing pioneering innovations in sustainable fashion solutions. 

Case study 

Ian Montgomery, Managing Director of XS Items, which sells refurbished goods via the eBay platform, took part in the Carbon Academy pilot programme earlier this year.

“Sustainability has always been front of mind, but the Carbon Academy was the catalyst for us to further develop and enhance our current proposition.

“We’re a team of 50 people and operate across two warehouses and a head office, so given our growing footprint, we were keen to review all of our operations. From the lighting we use, to our energy consumption, transport, and logistics, we’ve now got plans in place to run our business more efficiently. For example, we’re looking to convert to solar energy at our warehouses, make the switch to LED lighting in our office space, and remove plastic from the packaging we use.

“The training modules are easy to follow and the checklists were particularly useful for us – and inspired many of the changes we’re making to our own sustainability plan.”

?Businesses interested in joining eBay’s Carbon Academy should head to: https://www.ebay.co.uk/sellercentre/grow-your-sales/carbon-academy/

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