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 climate clause

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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.

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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

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

Option 1 may send a more direct message to the Employee than Option 2 about the importance of attending the training. 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.

1. 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 to take part in any assessment of understanding that the Employer may conduct 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 of, the content of or to withdraw any such training. 

2. Attendance at the Environmental and Sustainability Training Programme (in place from time to time) may be taken into consideration as part of the Employee’s annual performance review (subject to any reasonable adjustments). 

3. 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 the workplace from time to time which apply to the workplace environment (which have been communicated to the Employee as being applicable to the Employee’s role).     

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

During the Employee’s employment, they may be provided with training by the Employer, including in relation to the Employer’s [Environmental and Sustainability Training Programme] in force from time to time. The Employee should refer to [the Staff Handbook / other relevant document / the Employee’s manager] for details of the training that is available to the Employee and for details of the training that the Employee is to complete. The Employer reserves the right at any time to change the details of, content of or to withdraw any such training.

Additional Definitions

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

  • latest climate science (including the projected impacts of global warming of 2°C above pre-industrial times 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); 
  • climate change policy and relevant legal context (including core terms of the Paris Agreement and any national implementation measures);
  • the economic and social (e.g. health) benefits to the Company in reducing the workplace’s environmental impact and Organisational Carbon Footprint;
  • 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: 

  •  details of the Company’s own public and contractual commitments, targets and governance in relation to climate change and sustainability; 
  • extreme weather events and other climate change impacts and adaptation strategies;
  • climate change and immigration;
  • protection and enhancement of biodiversity and ecosystems; 
  • low carbon technology innovations; and 
  • other topical climate and sustainability issues,     

provided always that the frequency of the training, the details of the training, the content of the training may change from time to time.

As part of this programme, the Company will (at least annually) publish metrics internally (based on quantitative data) on, at a minimum: 

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

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

1. In performing the Services, the Supplier is required to comply with the Customer’s:

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

Or 

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

2. Failure to comply with the above clause [insert reference] 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 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). Accordingly, we require all of our Suppliers to commit to providing an Environmental and Sustainability Training Programme to your 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 programmes will cover, as a minimum: 

  • latest climate science (including the projected impacts of global warming of 2°C above pre-industrial times 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); 
  • climate change policy and relevant legal context (including core terms of the Paris Agreement and any national implementation measures); 
  • the economic and social (e.g. health) benefits to the Company in reducing the workplace’s environmental impact and Organisational Carbon Footprint; 
  • 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: 

  • details of the Company’s own public and contractual commitments, targets and governance in relation to climate change and sustainability; 
  • extreme weather events and other climate change impacts and adaptation strategies; 
  • climate change and immigration; 
  • protection and enhancement of biodiversity and ecosystems;
  • low carbon technology innovations; and 
  • other topical climate and sustainability issues. 

There are many ways to structure your programme and it might include, but is not limited to, 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 movie; 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 demonstrate compliance.


Amendments to other relevant TCLP clauses:

Frank’s Clause (Green Investment Obligations)

Green Investing Requirements – may be added, with the definition of Environmental and Sustainability Training Programme, as a new clause 4.3.2.8 of Frank’s Clause (Green Investment Obligations) under the heading ‘Sustainable Promotion of the Company’s Business’.

4.3 The Founders and the Company undertake to procure, in so far as it is in their respective

powers to do so, that the Company shall:

4.3.2 as soon as reasonably practical and no later than 12 months after Completion:

4.3.2.8 develop and implement an Environmental and Sustainability Training Programme.

Jessica’s Clause (Carbon Performance Clauses)

Project Specific Training – may be added, with the definition of Environmental and Sustainability Training Programme, as clause 1.3 of Jessica’s Clause (Carbon contract clauses for environmental performance, and associated incentives and remedies) under the heading ‘Climate and Ecological Impacts under this Agreement’.

1.3 The Supplier agrees that its personnel, and its contractor’s personnel, performing the Services shall, upon request, attend the Customer’s [Environmental and Sustainability Training Programme [relating to the climate [and ecological] impacts applicable to the performance of this agreement]*]. Such training may be repeated on an [annual] basis and shall be held at the project site (or virtually, as required). 

* [Drafting note: Second option to be included in public procurement agreements where the purchaser should restrict itself to the application of policies as they apply to the delivery of the contract itself, not to the supplier’s wider practices.]

Owen’s Clause (Net Zero Target Supply Chain Cascade) 

Net Zero Targets – may be added, with the definition of Environmental and Sustainability Training Programme, as clause 8.1 (i) to Owen’s Clause (Net Zero Target Supply Chain Cascade Clauses).

8.1 The Supplier acknowledges and understands the Customer’s Net Zero Target. Accordingly, the Supplier shall:

i) as soon as reasonably practical and no later than 12 months after [the date of this Agreement] develop and implement an Environmental and Sustainability Training Programme. 

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