At ECS we care deeply about our pupils and the world they will inhabit in the future. We want our courses to have a net positive impact. That is why we put sustainability at the heart of everything we do.
In recognition of this we have been awarded our industry's first externally validated marque of environmental responsibility that you can see here. The procedure is rigorous and as an accredited member of Green Standard Schools we make the following commitments:
- Reduce the amount of energy consumed in the school and switch to sustainable energy suppliers where possible
- Reduce the amount of water consumed in the school
- Reduce the amount of paper consumed and move towards a paperless operation
- Discourage the use of pointless plastics by all staff, students and suppliers
- Reuse and recycle everything brought into the school that can usefully be reused or cycled
- Reduce the environmental impact of purchases e.g. by using local supply chains
- Reduce the environmental impact of all marketing activities
- Compensate for the carbon generated by students and staff travelling to the school – especially international students
- Encourage providers of accommodation services to adopt sustainable practices
- Include activities that benefit the environment in the school’s programme of social activities
- Ensure that all staff and students are aware of the school’s environmental policies
- Systematically include environmental issues in the teaching curriculum
We enact these commitments as follows:
Most pupils travel to ECS by plane. This has an environmental impact which we compensate by offsetting the carbon cost of the flights of every pupil and member of staff attending ECS. We invite parents to match our donation at a cost of around £5. The proceeds help to pay for UN sustainable development CO2 reducing projects chosen by pupils and staff. In 2019 we supported CO2 reduction projects in Uganda, India and China. You can view our 2019 carbon offset certificate here.
We also offer the following travel advice to parents and pupils:
- Take direct flights if possible. Take offs and landings cause most of a plane’s carbon emissions. Sometimes a flight connection is unavoidable and we will take this into account when we calculate the carbon cost of the journey.
- Choose UM. If there is a choice between travelling in the care of the airline (UM) or travelling with an adult relative, choose UM. It’s safe and better for the environment.
- Fly economy. We understand that you sometimes prefer to fly in more comfort especially if you have a long journey but this contributes to a much larger carbon footprint. Our flight offset calculator takes into account how you choose to travel.
- Pack light. Refer to our clothes list. Think carefully about what you really need to bring and leave out or replace the heaviest items.
AT THE SCHOOL
Attending a residential summer school like ECS is relatively environmentally friendly. This is because everyone lives together in boarding houses instead of separate residences; and on campus there is no need for further travel except to go out on excursions.
To further encourage sustainable living we will:
- Try to arrange the most environmentally friendly form of travel for pupils in the UK. We will arrange train journeys where possible or coach journeys with the most environmentally aware operator we can find. When we have to use taxis we will try to arrange shared journeys in fuel-efficient vehicles.
- Find out what the host school is doing to reduce CO2 emissions and encourage environmental awareness. Communicate this to our pupils and staff.
- Deepen our pupils' connection to nature and environmental awareness through our choice of teaching materials and activities such as countryside walks, nature photography workshops, nature projects and nature documentary screenings.
- Encourage staff to reduce paper photocopying.
- Provide reusable water containers to avoid the need for plastic bottles and single use plastic cups.
- Provide drawstring backpacks to avoid the need for pupils to accept shop bags on excursions.
- Provide a vegetarian alternative at every meal and encourage pupils to try alternatives to meat.
- Encourage pupils and staff to turn off lights and reduce water consumption.
- Encourage pupils to avoid food waste.
- Encourage pupils to explore and enjoy the natural surroundings of the school campus.
- Encourage pupils to keep their surroundings clean / discourage litter.
- Encourage pupils to label and look after their possessions in order to reduce lost property waste.
- Consult pupils and staff in order to find new ways of reducing our impact on the environment.
PUPIL ADVICE DOCUMENT
Our advice document for older pupils on environmental responsibility - 'Get Real!' - is available here.
ELT Footprint UK
Chris Etchells, Co-director of ECS leads an initiative that aims to encourage environmental responsibility in UK English Language Teaching. Further information at http://eltfootprint.uk