Below are some good examples of how different ELT organisations are meeting their environmental responsibilities and responding to the ecological crisis.
If you would like your organisation to be included on this page please let us know what you are doing. We would love to hear from publishers, administrative bodies, agents and conference organisers as well as schools.
IH – International House – wide ranging encouragement to environmental sustainability through its ‘Protecting our Planet’ badge.
Discovery Summer: will offset carbon emissions on flights in and out of the UK for all residential students and staff.
ECS – English Country Schools: wide-ranging commitment to zero-carbon, environmentally responsible operation through reductions, carbon compensation and influencing.
EC English: “Reduced their carbon footprint by 52 per cent over the last eight years, with offsetting investments in hydropower plants, deforestation programmes, tree-planting schemes and solar power projects. EC’s UK operation is carbon neutral, with long-term plans to expand this to all territories.” (Study Travel Network)
The London School of English – see policy #15 – is one of a few schools that actually have an environmental policy, with a designated Environmental Officer who reviews performance and seeks to make further improvements.
Liverpool School of English have been running a Green Group since January 2020 to ‘collectively take action so teachers and English language learners work together to make our school, local area and shared lifestyles more sustainable.’ You can read a full description here.
A couple of schools have written almost apologetically to detail the discreet actions they are taking. No need to apologise! Everything adds up and these all send a powerful message to students and staff. For example Regent London School of English:
- has replaced all plastic soap containers with soap bars
- has banned plastic folders, sleeves, lamination, ‘gift pens’ in the office.
- buys no more office equipment – like staplers or scissors – that have plastic.
- allows no plastic or paper cups in catering: glass or ceramic only
- provides veg or vegan choices only in catering. Seasonal if possible.
- has a policy of lights off until needed in all rooms
- turns heating off in unused rooms
- discourages airport transfers (we’re in London, and don’t have groups)
- uses peer pressure to buy reusable coffee cups and water bottles
- has reduced data storage: eg. by deleting emails and other data asap
- uses freecycle for old unwanted stuff
- composts coffee grounds and fruit peel (no green waste collection in Westminster)
- provides lots of info and influencing in lessons
Similarly Nile ELT is reducing its carbon footprint as follows:
- Putting green issues and wellbeing on the staff agenda to keep it in everyone’s mind
- Having a ‘green lead’ member of staff
- Providing free water bottles to participants and staff to eliminate need for disposable plastic ones and cups
- Providing subsidised bamboo cups to participants and staff to eliminate need for disposable ones (manufacturers plant one tree for each cup purchased)
- Negotiated discount in local shops for getting coffee in our bamboo cups instead of disposables
- Replacing plastic pens with ones made of recycled cardboard
- Ordering milk from the milkman to reduce plastic use (glass bottles)
- Using Ecosia on all student computers (trees planted with search advertising revenue)
- Changing sleep settings on all computers to save energy
- Using lower emission taxis when taxis are needed
- Arranging skype meetings where possible rather than travel
- Considering other alternatives to travel and making all staff aware of minimising carbon footprint of flights (eg direct flights)
- Offsetting staff flights where there is no alternative
- Working on inviting participants to offset their flights
- Moving over to electronic payslips
- Introducing more green plants around the centre
- Installing different recycling bins for different waste
- Cutting down on hand-outs – uploading more to Moodle.
- Recycling and/or using recycled: paper, toners, pens, batteries
- Installing LED lightbulbs
- Collecting up and storing equipment and stationery to avoid unnecessary purchasing
- Changing course-folders to a smaller one more likely to be kept and reused
- Influencing students/teachers, i.e by sharing a digital list of teaching materials about the environment with trainers. See ELT Footprint
- Initiating a book swap “library” for staff and participants
- Offering surplus books for free to participants
- Planning our upcoming conference mindfully:
- Minimising giveaways and paper handouts (digital preferred)
- Giving carbon offset information
- Using only local suppliers for food, etc
- Encouraging use of ‘Boris’ bikes (actually called Beryl Bikes)
- Looking at alternative name badges (plastic free and possibly seeded!)
- Sharing information about our green initiatives