International House is protecting our planet

We are ambitious that all IH schools will take positive actions to safeguard our planet, and minimise the negative impacts we have on our environment. In February 2020 IHWO added environmental sustainability to its corporate strategy map: "Promote sustainability with best practice, resources & awareness raising".

It’s time for the whole IH network to show our students, our teachers, and the industry, that we are leading the way and making a real difference for the future. 

We may each only take small steps at first, but combined together this can have a big impact. If together 5000 members of staff and 200,000 students change just one thing – think what we can achieve!

Any school can do more of these six positive actions to have a beneficial impact on the planet, and change some of the six negative impacts they have on the environment. Follow our blog and social media for ideas which any school can implement - wherever they are in the world.

Positive contributions to promote environmental sustainability.

Minimising the negative impact we have on the environment.

  1. Educating students about environmental sustainability
  2. Encouraging sustainable behaviour
  3. Increasing community involvement 
  4. Setting a sustainable food supply policy
  5. Setting sustainability requirements for suppliers
  6. Managing a sustainability strategy
  1. Reduce travel and offset its negative impacts
  2. Reduce energy consumption
  3. Reduce use of consumables 
  4. Re-use & Recycle where possible
  5. Reduce water consumption
  6. Reduce the environmental footprint of new school buildings and facilities

Simply put, do more of the positive and do less of the negative.


Environmental Sustainability Review

Research shows that although saving our planet may seem an impossibly large task, even small steps toward making sustainable behaviour the default, and embracing a cycle of continuous improvement will have positive benefits. 

We encourage all IH schools to complete the IH Environmental Sustainability Review. This will encourage improvements around the many things which schools already do, and will provide examples and evidence that we can share with other IH schools, our clients and staff and the wider industry. 

The review is based on the 12 criteria above. If schools demonstrate positive actions in at least eight criteria - they'll be awarded this badge which can be used on all the schools' communications. 



The review will be time dated. Ideally, schools will complete the  every 2 years, to demonstrate further action and a commitment to continuous improvement. 

We know that some IH schools have embraced environmental actions for a long time, and have been doing more and more in recent years as awareness in the industry and with our students has been increasing. We want to give all schools the opportunity to reflect this in their audit. So, against every criteria you will be asked to describe whether you are at one of these four stages:

  • Intention – We plan to start in the next 6 months
  • Action – We've been doing things like this for a while
  • Ambition – We’re showing a determination to do more, and have increased our commitment in the last 2 years, introducing more quantifiable actions and measures
  • Strategy – Our whole school is involved with this, we have documented plans and we measure and report on their effectiveness.


What is involved?

  1. Schools will complete a self evaluation. Whenever you are ready - just go ahead! (Links below.)
  2. IHWO staff will assess your responses. Don't worry if not everything is perfect yet - we will follow up with you and may speak to stakeholders throughout your school, and ask for evidence where necessary, This may be documents, photos, videos, etc. (This will all be online - no travel is involved!)
  3. We, with you, will produce a short video or blog describing how the school is working hard to safeguard the planet, and highlighting their points of excellence. We recognise that schools in different countries and contexts will prioritise different actions - this is good, as there are no single perfect solutions.  
  4. We will shout loudly about our schools' achievements - within the industry and as widely as possible  - and we hope that schools will too!

The small print

  1. There will be no additional cost for the audit - this a beneft for all IH member schools, and for our planet. 
  2. The review will be voluntary, and not linked to the IHWO Quality Inspections scheme. It can be completed at any time of the school's choosing, 
  3. Schools will be encouraged to repeat the review every 2 years, so this becomes a system of continuous improvements, 

Complete Your Review Now!

Environmental Sustainability Review

Environmental Sustainability Review

The self-evaluation form to complete your school's environmental sustainability review.

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