Press release: International House World Organisation leads IH network to “Protect our Planet”
Saturday 10th October 2020
We all know that the activity of us human beings has a significant impact on the environment.
We are polluting the atmosphere and rivers and seas, cutting down forests and ruining unspoilt habitats, dumping plastics into the oceans and causing climate change through the generation of greenhouse gasses. The effect of all this is the extinction of countless species of flora and fauna, extreme weather events causing forest fires and severe flooding, and increasing sea levels which threaten the homes and livelihoods of billions of people around the world.
We all accept that something must be done. It’s the right thing to do.
Because of this, International House is urging all staff and students in schools around the world to “Protect our Planet”. We are proud to launch the IH Environmental Sustainability Scheme.
Many IH schools are already taking positive actions, such as encouraging sustainable behaviour among their staff and students, reducing waste by introducing reusable alternatives, and mitigating the polluting effects of travel. We welcome and acknowledge this and challenge ourselves to go even further.
We have come up with 12 themes that schools can follow to become more environmentally sustainable and help to protect our planet. There are six positive actions to bring the topic higher up our agenda and six ways to reduce activities which have a negative impact on the environment.
The six positive actions for IH schools to embrace are:
- Educating students about environmental sustainability
- Encouraging sustainable behaviour
- Increasing community involvement
- Setting a sustainable food / materials supply policy
- Setting sustainability requirements for suppliers
- Putting a sustainability strategy in place and managing it
To reduce the negative effect we all have on the environment, IH schools are encouraged to:
- Reduce travel and offset its negative aspects
- Reduce energy consumption
- Reduce use of consumables
- Re-use and recycle where possible
- Reduce water consumption
- Reduce the environmental footprint of new school buildings and facilities
Launching on Saturday 10th October 2020, the IH Environmental Sustainability Scheme is designed to encourage all IH schools to embrace these 12 themes. We are providing academic resources, ideas and suggestions centrally, and will be sharing innovative initiatives amongst all our schools. All IH members can take part in this scheme – and any actions any of us take will be worthwhile.
If an IH school can demonstrate that they have taken significant action across the 12 themes, they will be awarded the badge below. This will be assessed through the newly launched IH Sustainability Review. This is a thorough assessment of the steps which schools are taking, and how much sustainability is integrated into the strategic management of the school.
This badge is an explicit communication to teachers, students, and other stakeholders that their school is serious about doing what it can to look after our planet.
Beccy Wigglesworth, Director Member Services and Client Experience at IHWO, said, “We are ambitious that every International House school, and the staff and students in them, will go further than they ever have before to take positive steps to incorporate environmental sustainability in their everyday behaviour. It is our intention that ‘Protecting our Planet’ will become synonymous with IH around the world.
“As Greta Thunberg says, ‘No one is too small to make a difference’. The International House network has over 5,000 teachers and over 200,000 students around the world. We are big, and we can make a difference.”
We are ambitious for the role that International House will have within the languages industry, and we are looking forward to making a difference.
We are doing our part to do the right thing.