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UK ELT & the Environment: a Report

Chris Etchells recently shared this very comprehensive report with us on the ELT Footprint Facebook group. I'd like to share some extracts from the foreword and the background as an introduction. And I'd also like to thank Chris and the team for sharing their work with us on behalf of everyone at ELT Footprint.
Chris Hastings 1


IF YOU THINK YOU CAN IGNORE the impact of climate change on your English Language Teaching operation you may want to think again.

We have already witnessed strong feeling around the world among people concerned about climate change. ​Greta Thunberg​ articulates this beautifully and we have seen children in many different countries joining school strikes. When these young people make a choice about coming to the UK to study English, they will be looking for schools that understand their environmental responsibilities and are demonstrably taking action on them.

It’s not just Greta and her friends. The worldwide Extinction Rebellion protests have drawn widespread public sympathy and encouraged at least one government – in the UK – to declare a climate emergency. Young people, parents and grandparents are worried about the future. As the effects of climate change become more marked and public awareness grows, businesses that cannot demonstrate environmental responsibility are likely to be overtaken by those that do.


In the context of increasing concern about climate change the idea for this report came from a question on the English UK discussion in April 2019 about the impact of ELT on the environment, with particular reference to student flights. That led to the formation of a working party to look into and advise on how different areas of UK ELT can act in an environmentally responsible way. In the short time since then things have moved on quickly with the UK government declaring a climate emergency in May 2019 and the Prime Minister (Theresa May) committing the country to zero climate emissions by 2050. While many of us do what we can personally to reduce our impact on the environment, as an industry we can do much more. This report aims to facilitate that process.

To find out you can follow this link to download the whole report. We have also added the link to our Useful Links tab at the top of the page.

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