Climate Masters at Work FAQ

• What is the Climate Master at Work™ program?
• What kind of activities are Climate Masters at Work trained to do?
• Why should my community start a Climate Masters at Work program?
• Where can we house the Climate Masters at Work program?
• How much staff time and what skills does it take to run the program?
• How much does the program cost?
• What kind of support can the Climate Leadership Initiative provide?

Q: What is the Climate Masters at Work™ program?  

A. The Climate Masters at Work program was developed to increase climate literacy, reduce carbon emissions at the individual and household level, and build public support for effective decarbonization technologies and policies. The program consists of an initial 20-hour, low-cost train-the-trainer program for small and mid-sized businesses that focuses on increased energy efficiency and use of renewable energy in facilities, packaging, materials selection, transportation and other topics that will reduce emissions while strengthening businesses’ economic standing. That training is complemented by one-on-one advising to support implementation of lessons learned throughout the training. Participants “pay” in part for this training by investing a minimum of 25 hours implementing the lessons learned in their own workplaces and through outreach to others.

Q: What kind of activities are Climate Masters at Work trained to do?



A. Participants are trained to compile a greenhouse gas emissions inventory, develop a plan for cutting those emissions, and to implement specific emission reduction strategies. Participants learn of financial resources to support their efforts and of means of shifting their workplace culture towards reduced emissions. Finally, the training covers educating others by sharing their experiences with co-workers and other businesses. This business mentorship may include speaking at a Chamber of Commerce or other business event, sharing successes and lessons learned in newsletters or other articles, or working with businesses along supply chains or within their sectors to increase efficiency and reduce emissions. This leadership component will expand the program impact though peer-to-peer education while promoting participants’ own work.

Q: Why should my community start a Climate Masters at Work program?



A. Global warming is the most pressing issue facing the world today. The latest report from the largest group of scientists ever to study an issue, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), states that greenhouse-gas emissions must peak by 2015 and decrease by 80 percent or more by 2050 in order to avoid dramatic temperature increases and the severe economic, social, and environmental impact that would accompany such increases. According to the IPCC, making this shift requires action within the next two to three years at all levels of society. Research released since the IPCC’s latest report points to a more urgent need for immediate action in order to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.

The Climate Masters at Work program has led to actions that successfully reduce businesses’ greenhouse gas emissions, including energy saving measures and waste reduction efforts. Some participants reported saving money on their utility bills and attracting more customers than their competitors who were not engaged in similar activities.  

Communities may benefit from decreased electric loads and traffic, reduced load on local landfills, an overall reduction in community greenhouse-gas emissions, and support for local policy aimed at combating climate change or preparing for impacts. The program may also result in an increased sense of community as a variety of people are brought together to tackle a common cause.

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Q: Where can we house the Climate Masters at Work program?  

A. Climate Masters at Work programs can be housed or hosted by a variety of entities, depending on the best fit for your community.  Programs may be hosted by business development centers, chambers of commerce, nonprofits, universities, community colleges, extension programs, a city sustainability office or other local government entity, a utility company, or even by an eager individual or groups of volunteers.

Program organizers do not necessarily need to have significant substantive knowledge of the topics discussed during the training.  More importantly, the organizer needs to have project management skills, along with the enthusiasm, willingness, and ability to make connections with individuals in the community that do have the knowledge to present to the class. If you are also not comfortable facilitating the trainings, a facilitator can be hired to run the classes.

To initiate your program, we recommend developing a steering committee. A steering committee can provide feedback and suggestions, and increase participant commitment at the members' institutions and within the community at large (particularly with public recognition for the committee). In addition, the steering committee may be able to recommend potential funding sources or provide sponsorships from their own institutions. Your steering committee may have links to other members of the community that would be able to deliver presentations in the class.

The facilitator’s role is just that: to lead the discussions that precede and follow the presentations and that support adults in integrating the materials presented in the class. The ideal presenter is an expert in the field and has experience speaking with the public. This person can present complex information in a straightforward manner and can adeptly field questions.

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Q: How much staff time does it take to run the program and what kind of skills does that person need to have?  

A. We estimate that, typically, the requirements for running this program involve approximately one dedicated fifth-time staff person to organize and facilitate the training course.

Tasks for the staff may include:

  • Establish program goals (with input from an advisory group or other stakeholders)
  • Adapt the materials to their community (the Climate Leadership Initiative will provide easily adaptable materials and can provide support on this task)
  • Gather resources and funding
  • Structure class and volunteer opportunities
  • Recruit participants
  • Run the program
  • Volunteer coordinating
  • Follow-up with households receiving consultations and with climate masters
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the program in meeting established goal

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Q: How much does the program cost?  

A. Unless you hire CLI for consulting purposes, described in the question below, there is no charge for the program. However, we do have some limited requirements (see last question).

We estimate that it will cost between $4,000-20,000 to set up a Climate Masters at Work program in your community. The costs are dependent on whether or not a facilitator is hired, whether you rely on staff or volunteer time, the amount of printing you plan to do, and the fee charged for participants attending the training. In general, most participants pay between $100-400 to participate in the class. If they do not fulfill their payback hours in the allotted time (usually between six months and a year), then they pay additional funds for the training.

Some other sources of funding for the program include: local business sponsorships for funds or in-kind donations; contributions from utility companies or public transportation systems, city or county governments; universities, community colleges, and extension programs; state or federal government grants; tipping fees from waste disposal; and foundations that support education, energy efficiency, pollution reduction or community building.

If you have limited staff time to commit to Climate Masters at Work or need technical assistance in designing or implementing the program (such as adapting materials to your community), the Climate Leadership Initiative is available for support. We would develop a plan of work and a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with your organization and be hired as consultants to your program. Please contact us at or call 541-744-7072 if you are interested in our services.

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Q: What kind of support can the Climate Leadership Initiative provide?

 A.  The Climate Leadership Initiative is currently developing the materials you need to run your training program, including:

  • a training manual for participants (For a file that can be easily made specific to your community, please contact CLI and we will send you the free file).
  • a handbook for program coordinators,
  • template PowerPoints
  • agendas for facilitators,
  • template pre- and post- surveys,
  • template publicity and outreach materials

Staff at the Climate Leadership Initiative are available to support you in adapting materials to your community, helping you brainstorm potential funding sources and types of speakers to invite to your training, identify approaches to soliciting participants, and developing public outreach opportunities.  Depending on the type and amount of support needed, we may develop a MOA and charge a consulting fee for the services.

We do require that those using our materials and/or program contact us to let us know your intentions, at which point we will discuss the minimum requirements, including: that you run the class as designed with 30 hours of training and at least 30 hours of volunteer payback; that you use the name and curriculum provided; and that you evaluate your program and provide us with the results so that we can continue to improve upon the program.

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