IH schools - you can do this! 

All students and all staff in IH schools around the world are aware of the need to protect the environment. We know that all IH schools are already taking many actions to protect our planet, and want to do more. It’s time for the whole IH network to lead the way and making a real difference for the future - think what we can achieve!

Here is a useful framework for schools to plan how to take actions in more areas. Many of these are straightforward, with no cost. 

Why should IH schools do this? 

  1. It's the right thing to do - we all need to protect our precious planet.
  2.  If you communicate all the ways that your school is acting to protect our precious planet, you will tap into a subject which teenagers and young adults are particularly engaged with. 
  3. If you complete actions across eight categories, and complete the IHWO Sustainability Review, IHWO will give a formal acknowledgement in the shape of a digital badge that you can use on your website, social media, in school, and on marketing publications, 

Complete the review now!!>>

Positive contributions to promote environmental sustainability

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

We encourage all IH schools to make these positive steps to protecting our planet.

Positive 1. Educate students about environmental sustainability

Add environmental topics into the curriculum, either occasionally, or across a series of lessons, or start projects with an environmental focus.  You will find some general guidance in this introductory blog, and

Positive 2. Encourage sustainable behaviour

Create an expectation in your school about making sustainable behaviour the norm.  You could have notices around the school about recycling, and introduce more recycling bins, or you could recommend students use sustainable transport.  There is some general guidance in this introductory blog, and 

Positive 3. Increase community involvement

Where people care about their local community, they are more likely to care about the wider environment.  Most IH schools are very well rooted in their local community, especially where you teach local children.  There is general guidance in this introductory blog

By participating in local social projects, perhaps through charity initiatives, both teachers and students will contribute to develop a socially responsible behaviour. 

Postive 4. Source food sustainably

Food production, and food miles, are one of the world's largest contributors to global warming. Read here about the hidden costs of food production

If you provide food in school cafe's or welcome overseas students to your city, think about the actions you can take. Source responsibly and encourage students to try local produce which has less food miles. 

Positive 5.  Set sustainability requirements for suppliers

You can have a positive effect on the environment by choosing to buy from suppliers who have a sustainability policy, or by lobbying them to commit to one, Read the background to this in this general blog

Positive 6. Manage a sustainability strategy

It would be wonderful if every International House school committed to involve every member of staff and every student in making a material difference to protecting our planet by setting a strategy and managing it just like any strategic plan for the school.

Miniminsing the negative we have on the environment

There is no doubt that human activity, consuming stuff and travelling around, has a detrimental impact on the environment. We need to do less of the bad stuff.

Minimise negative 1. Reduce travel 

To halt global warming we all need to cause less carbon emissions, and for most people in the developed world travelling less will have the biggest impact

Minimise negative 2. Reduce energy consumption

Using energy to heat and cool our homes and places where we work, often means burning fossil fuels which are significant contributors to global warming. Read general information here about how to ease up on the heating and air conditioning. Taking simple actions like replacing light bulbs with low energy LEDs, insulating buildings, and switching off heating and ar conditioning when its not in use are important. 

Minimise negative 3. Reduce use of consumables

Consuming anything has an environmental cost; in its production, delivery, and disposal. Reducing use – where we can – is the most effective thing we can do to help the environment. Read guidelines for using less stuff here. 

Minimise negative 4. Re-use and re-cycle

If we can't reduce what we have to buy, re-using and re-cycling are the next best things to do. Read some general ideas here. 

Minimise negative 5. Reduce water consumption

Even if you are not in a country where there is a drastic scarcity of water, taking water out of the environment to pipe into our homes means it’s not there to flow down rivers and support the flora and fauna which grow naturally and provide a rich diversity of wildlife. Cutting back on piped water consumption, such as adding a dual flush to toilets, and ensuring taps are not left running will minimise this negative effect. 

Minimise negative 6. Reduce environmental footprint of new buildings

It doesn’t happen very often, but sometimes schools move premises, open a new branch, or open new student accommodation. If you are in that position, take a moment to think about the environmental footprint of the new building you are choosing to ensure you're doing as much as possible to protect our planet. You can weigh these up alongside the other criteria that you have for building choice, like location, size, cost, etc.

The IH Sustainability Review

If IH schools are taking actions in eight of these categories above, IHWO will give you a formal acknowledgement in the shape of a digital badge that you can use on your website, social media, in school, and on marketing publications, 

Complete the review now!!>>

IHWO Environmental Sustainability Policy 

At IHWO we are ambitious in our contributions to the safeguarding of our planet and in minimising the negative impacts we have on the environment. We have made seven commitments in our policy <<here>>

For all the activities that IHWO undertook during 2020 and 2021, we were delighted to have been highly commended in The PIEoneer Awards 2021, in the Sustainability International Impact Award category.