Climate clause

Employee Climate Engagement Provisions

Athena's Clause

A clause in employment contracts requiring the employer to provide, and the employee to participate in, a range of climate education and awareness-raising interventions.

This is a net zero clause

This clause aligns with Paris Agreement goals, Race to Zero requirements and the Oxford Principles for Net Zero Aligned Carbon Offsetting. For tools and support to use this clause, use our toolkit or join one of our events.

Skip to clause

Why use this?

Training for company employees (and for the company’s suppliers’ employees) that empowers employees to participate and actively engage in the climate ambitions and net zero targets of their employer.

Disclaimer - please read

The clauses on this website (and published in our Climate Contract Playbook) have been prepared in good faith on a pro bono basis and are free to download and use. The clauses have been drafted and edited by a variety of lawyers and, as such, the approaches to drafting may not conform to any particular drafting norms. We acknowledge this as a consequence of the collaborative drafting process.

The clauses on this website (and published in our Climate Contract Playbook) are provided on an ‘as is’ basis and without any representation or warranty as to accuracy or that the clauses will achieve the relevant climate goal or any other outcome.

This website (and the Climate Contract Playbook) does not comprise, constitute or provide personal, specific or individual recommendations or advice of any kind, and does not contain legal or financial advice. The clauses are precedents for legal professionals to use, amend and negotiate using their professional skill and judgement and at their own risk.

While care has been taken in the drafting of these clauses, neither The Chancery Lane Project nor any of its contributors owe a duty of care to any party in relation to their preparation and do not accept any liability for any errors or omissions, nor for any loss incurred by any person relying on or using these clauses or any other person. Users should use their own professional judgement in the application of these clauses to any particular circumstance or jurisdiction or seek independent legal advice.

At present, all the clauses are based on the laws of England and Wales. We encourage the conversion of these precedent clauses for use in other jurisdictions.

The clause

Athena’s Clause Part A: Employee engagement and training on sustainability in the workplace in employment contracts

Additional Definitions for Part A

[Drafting note: Definitions can be used in Options 1 and 2.]

Carbon Footprint means the total annual GHG emissions of the Employer.

Environmental and Sustainability Training Programme means a programme of training, provided (from time to time) on a regular basis (at least [insert frequency]) for employees, personnel and contractors during their usual working hours (and online as required) which will cover, as a minimum:

(a) the latest climate science (including the projected impacts of global warming of 2°C above pre-industrial levels versus 1.5°C, the rationale for the target of reaching net zero by 2050, key components of the concept of net zero and an outline of the transition pathways required to reach net zero by 2050);

(b) climate change policy and relevant legal context (including core terms of the Paris Agreement and any national implementation measures);

(c) details of the Company’s own public and contractual commitments, targets, offsetting activities, governance, lobbying, leadership and public policy positions and its pursuit of a just transition in relation to climate change and Sustainability;

(d) the economic and social (e.g. health) benefits to the Company in reducing the workplace’s environmental impact and Carbon Footprint;

(e) Sustainable lifestyle changes and issues relating to the workplace such as energy efficiency, digital meetings, food and travel choices, renewable energy and smart waste management,

and may cover without limitation: 

(f) extreme weather events and other climate change impacts and adaptation strategies;

(g) climate change and immigration;

(h) protection and enhancement of biodiversity and ecosystems;

(i) low carbon technology innovations; and

(j) other topical climate and Sustainability issues, 

provided always that the frequency, detail and content of the training may change from time to time. As part of this programme, the Employer will (at least annually) publish metrics internally (based on quantitative data) on, at a minimum:

  • the Carbon Footprint; and
  • behavioural changes and any avoided emissions, for example from travel or utilities and resource use. 

GHG Emissions means the Employer’s emissions of GHGs from all sources (including value and supply chains), categorised as scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions by The Greenhouse Gas Protocol: A Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard, Revised Edition 2015 as updated from time to time. [Drafting note: Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions are defined on page 27 of the GHG Protocol.]

Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) means the natural and anthropogenic gases which trap thermal radiation in the earth’s atmosphere and are specified in Annex A to the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) [or otherwise specified by the UNFCCC at the date of this contract], as may be amended from time to time. [Drafting note: See TCLP Glossary: Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) for definition options and explanatory notes.]

Net Zero Target means both a reduction of GHG Emissions overall and a removal of GHGs associated with Offsets acquired to address the Residual Emissions of the Employer by [INSERT DATE/ 2050 or sooner] to achieve a balance between the Employer’s sources and sinks of GHGs in a calendar year and for each subsequent year thereafter, and to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Offset or Offsetting mean the purchase of carbon credits from a project:

(a) that has been verified in accordance with [insert name of voluntary standard] or under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) clean development mechanism (CDM) [or [successor/ equivalent] UNFCCC mechanism];

(b) where the emissions of GHGs* avoided, reduced or removed by the project are additional;

(c) that, in relation to GHG removals, employs long-lived storage methods that have a low risk of reversal over millennia;  

(d) that prioritises the removal of GHGs from the atmosphere rather than avoids or reduces third party emissions of GHGs; and

(e) that takes account of a just transition and addresses wider social and ecological goals. 

* [Drafting note: The reference to “emissions of GHGs” here is to GHG emissions generally. The defined term GHG Emissions is not used because in general, the defined term relates to the emissions of a party relating to a particular agreement or transaction.]

Residual Emissions means the GHG Emissions that are emitted from all operations of the Employer after all reasonable efforts have been made by the Employer to reduce GHG Emissions. [Drafting note: See TCLP Glossary: Residual Emissions for definition options and explanatory notes.]

Sustainability or Sustainable means or describes initiatives and practices that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, including the conservation of resources, all of which are assumed to be finite.

Part A – Option 1: To incorporate the training requirement directly into the employment contract

[Drafting note: Option 1 may send a more direct message to the Employee about the importance of attending the training than Option 2. However, Option 1 may provide an Employer with less flexibility to change the training programme and adapt the training requirements in future, as the term has been expressly written into the Employee’s contract. Should greater flexibility be preferred, then Option 2 may be appropriate.]

Additional Recital 

(A) The Employer has [signed up to the Race to Zero and] set a net zero target that aligns with the objectives of the Paris Agreement, in particular pursuing efforts to limit global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, halving absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions every decade and achieving net zero or net negative emissions by 2050 or sooner.

 

Additional Clauses

1. The Employee will carry out their work in a manner that aligns with and directly contributes to the Employer achieving its Net Zero Target and interim targets. The Employer will provide, and the Employee will participate in, training so that the Employee is aware of the Employer’s interim targets and the Net Zero Target and what is required of the Employee to carry out their role in a manner that aligns with such targets. 

2. Subject to where [the Employee’s manager] requests otherwise, the Employee is required to attend the Employer’s Environmental and Sustainability Training Programme (in place from time to time), which shall be provided by and paid for by the Employer [during the Employee’s usual working hours], and take part in any assessments of their learning the Employer may carry out as part of that programme. The training may be provided virtually, as required. The Employer reserves the right at any time to change the details or content of, or to withdraw, any such training. 

3. The Employee’s attendance at the Environmental and Sustainability Training Programme (in place from time to time) may be considered during the Employee’s annual performance review (subject to any reasonable adjustments). 

4. The Employee agrees to use reasonable endeavours to implement (and/ or support the implementation of) any recommendations and improvements generated from the Environmental and Sustainability Training Programme (in place from time to time) which apply to the workplace environment and which have been communicated to the Employee as being applicable to the Employee’s role.    

Part A – Option 2: To incorporate the training requirement into an employee policy, which is cross-referred to in the employment contract 

1. During the Employee’s employment, the Employer may provide training, including in relation to the Employer’s Environmental and Sustainability Training Programme (in place from time to time). The Employee shall refer to [the Staff Handbook/ other relevant document/ the Employee’s manager] for details of the training available and whether or not it is mandatory or optional. The Employer reserves the right at any time to change the details or content of, or to withdraw, such training.

[Drafting note: Insert paragraphs 1 to 4 from Option 1 here as appropriate so that Employees are aware of the Employer’s commitment to achieving its Net Zero Target and what is expected of Employees in terms of training and their role to ensure that the Employer meets the Net Zero Target and interim targets.]


Athena’s Clause Part B: Environmental Training and Engagement for Suppliers’ Employees

Additional Recitals

[Insert Eddie’s Recitals (Climate Recitals) here.]

 

Additional Clauses 

[Drafting note: To be combined with clauses that require GHG emissions reductions.]

1. In performing the Services, the Supplier shall comply with the Customer’s:

  • [Insert all relevant company policies][; and 
  • Environmental and Sustainability Policy.]

[OR]

1. In performing the Services, the Supplier shall comply with the Customer’s Supplier Code of Conduct.

2. Failure to comply with [clause 1] above will allow the Customer to terminate this agreement for a material breach in accordance with clause [insert reference to material breach clause].

To be inserted in the Supplier Code of Conduct or Environmental and Sustainability Policy:

We recognise that all organisations have a part to play in reaching the UK Government’s commitment to bring all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to net zero by 2050 pursuant to the Climate Change Act 2008 (or such other date as shall be agreed by the UK Government). We are committed to achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement, in particular pursuing efforts to limit global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, halving absolute greenhouse gas emissions every decade and achieving net zero or net negative emissions by 2050 or sooner. 

Accordingly, we require all of our Suppliers to commit to providing an environmental and sustainability training programme (the Environmental and Sustainability Training Programme) to their employees, personnel and contractors on a regular basis (at least six sessions per year [or, for Suppliers with less than 10 employees, at the start of the contract and every year thereafter for the life of the contract]) paid for by the Supplier. Such programme will cover, as a minimum:

(a) the latest climate science (including the projected impacts of global warming of 2°C above pre-industrial levels versus 1.5°C, the rationale for the target of reaching net zero by 2050, key components of the concept of net zero and an outline of the transition pathways required to reach net zero by 2050); 

(b) climate change policy and relevant legal context (including core terms of the Paris Agreement and any national implementation measures); 

(c) details of the Supplier’s own public and contractual commitments, targets, offsetting activities, governance, lobbying, leadership and public policy positions and its pursuit of a just transition in relation to climate change and Sustainability;

(d) the economic and social (e.g. health) benefits to the Supplier in reducing the workplace’s environmental impact and carbon footprint; 

(e) Sustainable lifestyle changes and issues relating to the Supplier’s workplace such as: energy efficiency, digital meetings, food and travel choices, renewable energy and smart waste management,

and may cover, without limitation: 

(f) extreme weather events and other climate change impacts and adaptation strategies; 

(g) climate change and immigration; 

(h) protection and enhancement of biodiversity and ecosystems;

(i) low carbon technology innovations; and 

(j) other topical climate and Sustainability issues,

where Sustainability or Sustainable means or describes initiatives and practices that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, including the conservation of resources, all of which are assumed to be finite.

There are many ways for Suppliers to programme and structure their training. Some of the ideas [the Customer has/ we have] considered and adopted for [its/ our] own training programme include: 

  • presentations from climate scientists, engineers and other similar experts;
  • reports from NGOs working in communities facing extreme and adverse weather events or wildlife conservationists;
  • an update from management on the Company’s net zero/ environmental/ carbon neutral strategy;
  • internal presentations of interest from staff on Sustainable lifestyle changes;
  • hosting an environmental film screening; and/ or 
  • guest Q&As from Sustainability experts and leaders in your industry. 

We may request information on your Environmental and Sustainability Training Programme on an annual basis, or as reasonably necessary, to understand how you are complying with this requirement.

Join hundreds of lawyers fighting climate change

Help us and take part