In May 2023, Essex County Council unveiled the new Carbon Cutting Essex app, which will play an important role in helping Essex to transform to become a greener county.
Taking action on the global climate challenge is a key commitment for Essex County Council (ECC). Environment is one of the core priorities in ECC’s Everyone’s Essex strategy.
Embracing new technologies and ensuring that the county is a centre of innovation is a key aspect of the Council’s ambitious £250 million Climate Action Plan. In May 2023, ECC unveiled the new Carbon Cutting Essex app, which will play an important role in helping Essex to transform to become a greener county.
With increasing extreme weather events becoming more prevalent across the UK and globally, addressing the climate challenge remains an urgent priority for ECC.
In May 2020, ECC formed the Essex Climate Action Commission, an independent, body of experts to advise on reducing greenhouse gas emission and building resilience to our changing climate. In July 2021, the Commission released its Net Zero report: Making Essex Carbon Neutral , which provides over 100 recommendations on different themes and provided a roadmap on how the county can reach net zero emissions by 2050. In November 2021, ECC endorsed the report and unveiled a £200 million Climate Action Plan, which outlined how it was going to drive forward progress against the Commission’s recommendations. In July 2023, this was updated to a £250 million Climate Action Plan.
The climate action plan reflected the commitment in Everyone’s Essex to work with communities and businesses, providing advice and support to enable and empower local action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build climate resilience. As a council, we recognise that to achieve the organisation’s ambitious Climate Action Plan, it is vital that everyone gets involved.
On 22 May 2023, International Day of Biodiversity, ECC launched the Carbon Cutting Essex app. Designed for ECC by Greenredeem, the app enables users to keep track of their progress to reduce their carbon footprint. Through the app users can discover small and large changes which they can make to reduce their footprint.
The platform features a range of interactive activities such as quizzes, blogs, and bite sized videos where users can broaden their knowledge on climate action. Users can pledge to make positive environmental changes to their lifestyle. Each month, the app focuses on a different theme around climate action, including waste, energy, transport and food.
Users are rewarded with points for positive environmental action which can be used to enter prize draws to win vouchers from retailers or donated to a local cause. It is free to download from the App Store and Google Play.
Since the app was launched, there has been a total of 2,420 quizzes completed and 1,696 videos watched. A total of 2,472 pledges have also been made by users of the app. The carbon reduction pledges which were made through the app on the first 100 days after the launch in May have the potential to save up to 576kgs of carbon each year.
How is the new approach being sustained?
On 7 November, Essex County Council and Greenredeem unveiled a new Community Wall. The new feature on the platform gives residents the opportunity to share with others how they are using the app to take action on climate change. City, district, and borough councils will also have the option to have their own Community Wall and share examples of work taking place around climate action in their local areas.
ECC is involving local businesses who will be able to offer rewards from their shops in exchange for points from the app. In the future, users will have the option to donate their points to schools as well as local charities in Essex. Schools will be able to use the points to win a Schools’ Sustainability Kit. The kits will provide various educational items, such as bird feeders, outdoor and gardening equipment and activity books to teach young people about the environment and climate action.
ECC is continuing to work closely with developers Greenredeem to make improvements to the app’s features and ensure that the content on the app provides the most up to date advice. The Council listens to feedback from the app’s users to ensure that we consistently provide the best user experience of the platform.
To support with the launch of the app, the Communications Team hosted a virtual online event where residents and businesses were able to learn more about the app as well as how to make the most out of its features. Another important lesson is that developing social media assets such as videos, to showcase to users how the app works has been important for maintaining levels of engagement. The team also regularly attends events across the county to talk with residents about the app.
Further, working closely with stakeholders and town, parish, city, district, and borough councils has helped us to increase awareness of the app across their communications channels and has supported the roll out of the app.
The Carbon Cutting Essex app can be accessed on the Carbon Cutting Essex website and can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play. Please note, the content on the app has been tailored to Essex and users will need an Essex address to register. For those outside the county wishing to see the Essex content, please contact [email protected]