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Schools' carbon footprint pilot: Final report

Rachel Bolstad

Auckland Council’s Sustainable Schools team supported ten Auckland schools to pilot a school carbon footprint calculator between June and November 2021. NZCER carried out research for Auckland Council, to build knowledge about how schools can use a school carbon footprint calculator, and what support, advice, and resources schools need to use it effectively.

Although the pilot period was affected by COVID-19 lockdown, the findings of this pilot suggested that:

  • there is interest and appetite within schools to do carbon footprinting to support student learning and action-taking.
  • school staff could see how its use could be integrated with school-wide environmental and sustainability activities led by students.
  • some schools were more ready than others to connect a carbon calculator to their existing school-wide practices or classroom curriculum.
  • some initial support is needed to build staff confidence and capability to use a calculator.
  • schools benefit from access to additional guidance and on-demand support for some of the technical details for data entry and making sense of data outputs.
  • experienced environmental and sustainability education advisors and facilitators also need initial support, guidance, and encouragement to understand how to use a carbon calculator, and to see how this connects with areas they are already highly experienced in facilitating.

Future research should build on the findings of this pilot to examine the teaching and learning practices that can be built around school carbon footprint calculation in diverse New Zealand schools, the impacts of these learning experiences for diverse students, teachers, and communities, and the extent to which these can support local, regional, and national climate action and sustainability goals.

See also: Schools’ carbon footprint pilot project report - Knowledge Auckland

Auckland Council Education for Sustainability: Education for sustainability (

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Research report
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