Sustainability in education

The education industry has a critical role to play in tackling the climate crisis. In addition to providing direct training and education for the growing number of green jobs, as well as integrating environmental knowledge in curriculum at younger years, the education sector has an opportunity to lead by example and reduce their own carbon footprint.

Charlotte Cameron
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A wider awareness of sustainability is vital for climate action in wider society. Educational institutions can foster this culture among staff, students and other stakeholders by embedding sustainability and environmental knowledge into the curriculum and day-to-day running of the institution. This can be embedded through all year levels, beginning with understanding our own personal impacts on the planet and society. Incorporating topics of sustainability and climate change at younger levels should empower and inspire students rather than overwhelm or frighten them.  

The education sector also has an exciting opportunity to provide direct training and education for the growing number of jobs in sustainable, forward-thinking industries. This is particularly true for the tertiary sector which will need to adapt traditional models to incorporate emerging industries, technologies and systems as a result of climate change. 

This sector is presented with the opportunity to lead by example, by not only empowering future generations with the knowledge and skills to tackle issues of the climate crisis but also taking significant actions to measure and reduce the carbon footprints of schools, universities and childcare facilities.  
Like the digital revolution before it, the sustainability revolution is rapidly altering the business landscape. And it’s not just our planet that will reap the benefits. Reducing carbon means reducing energy and consumption, finding efficiencies that save money and improve your bottom line. It can also mean attracting and retaining the right talent in teaching positions, particularly as younger generations are increasingly looking to work for employers who focus on their environmental and social impacts. 

Cities, businesses and governments are embracing the net zero revolution. Businesses that are net zero are measuring their scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, reducing their scope 1 and 2 emissions to zero, and scope 3 as close to zero as possible while offsetting any residual scope 3 emissions. The UK has set a net zero carbon target for 2050 and while 45 per cent of companies have committed to achieving net zero by 2050 or sooner, it is estimated that only eight per cent of all UK companies have set any carbon reduction targets. To achieve the target of a 1.5°C limit on global warming set in the 2015 Paris Agreement it is critical that businesses and cities embrace net zero targets.  

Planet Mark works with businesses in the education sector, across the entire supply chain, not only supporting them to measure and reduce their carbon footprint and achieve net zero targets but also to help integrate sustainability knowledge into the school and higher education curriculum.  

In 2021, Planet Mark are embarking on an eight-month physical and virtual Zero Carbon Tour to take the net zero carbon message to communities across the UK and beyond in support of the UN-backed Race to Zero campaign. The Tour will highlight how businesses can set their own net zero carbon targets and implement strategies to achieve them. It will also highlight the incredible innovations and solutions Planet Mark members and the wider business community is taking to tackle the climate crisis.  

Our first digital stop on the Planet Mark Zero Carbon Tour will be hosted by University of Greenwich on 12 May and will look at the importance of businesses in the education sector throughout the entire supply chain committing to net zero targets. By collaborating with forward-thinkers across the education industry we can show that with enough ambition and active collaboration we can solve one of the most pressing challenges of our time.  

University of Greenwich has set an ambitious climate change agenda and has joined other leading institutions by setting a net zero carbon target by 2030. They have also announced a new course on climate change, Climate Change BSc that is designed to provide scientific knowledge and a practical skillset around climate mitigation and action.  

You can find out more about these digital events with University of Greenwich and sign up below:

Race to Zero and Sustainability Action Open Mic

University of Greenwich Net Zero Essentials Workshop