As more people recognise the importance of addressing climate change and developing business practices that promote environmental sustainability – so too have academy trusts.

While budgets remain tight, there are many cost-effective ways to promote sustainability/working towards net zero within educational institutions. This blog will explore several ways through which academy trusts can achieve sustainability in the schools/academies they oversee.  

  

Encouraging environmental sustainability in schools 

There are many ways an academy trust board can promote and encourage conversations around the environment in individual schools and academies. These may include: 

Discussing key topics such as climate change in schools 

Incorporating sustainability into the curriculum is essential for fostering environmental awareness among students. Getting students excited and interested in the environment can lead to student-led extracurricular activities that help the local community. You may want to develop environmental education programs, including outdoor learning, conservation projects, and sustainability-themed classroom activities. Focusing on the environment in this way will equip the next generation with the knowledge and skills needed to tackle environmental challenges. 

Implementing student-led initiatives to get pupils engaged 

Once students feel interested and empowered, they may develop their own projects. Supporting these initiatives, such as school gardens, energy audits, and waste reduction campaigns, can be impactful. These projects not only enhance sustainability efforts but also build leadership and problem-solving skills in students. You can also work towards awards such as the Woodland Trust’s Green Tree School Award to reward students for thinking in an environmentally friendly way. 

Promoting/implementing recycling initiatives in schools 

Effective waste management is crucial for achieving sustainability in schools. Academy trusts can implement comprehensive recycling programs to minimise waste. This may include introducing recycling stations in schools and encouraging students to actively participate in sorting and recycling used goods. This initiative helps reduce landfill waste and educates students on the importance of recycling. 

Encouraging walking and cycling to schools

Encouraging students and staff to walk or cycle to school can significantly reduce carbon emissions. Setting up a ‘bike bus‘ program in primary schools can be a great way to encourage students towards greener habits. This involves encouraging pupils to cycle to school while surrounded by adults. Such initiatives not only reduce traffic and pollution, but also promote physical health and wellbeing. 

 

Strategic changes to support environmental sustainability

While the above suggestions for environmental sustainability all focus on encouraging initiative within the student population, academy trusts can also make meaningful changes to their practices. 

Cutting down on single-use plastics within schools 

Reducing single-use plastics is an impactful strategy academy trusts can undertake in schools. Why not launch a campaign to eliminate single-use plastics in school cafeterias? By replacing plastic cutlery and containers with reusable or biodegradable alternatives, you can significantly reduce plastic waste and promote a more sustainable environment. 

Engaging community to support local projects 

Community involvement is crucial for the success of sustainability efforts. Academy trusts should be regularly engaging with parents, local businesses, and residents in their sustainability projects. This community-centric approach ensures broad support and creates a shared sense of responsibility for environmental stewardship. 

Collaboration with local authorities and organisations within the local community can also amplify the impact of sustainability initiatives. Academy trusts/individual schools can work closely with local councils to access potential grants and expertise for their green projects. This collaboration enables academy trusts to undertake more significant projects, such as energy-efficient building upgrades and community recycling programs. 

Looking at capital projects through a lens of environmental sustainability

When planning construction projects, opting to adopt a more sustainable option for materials over traditional solutions can go a long way to promoting sustainability. This could involve looking for more sustainable heating systems, introducing green solar panels where possible, as well as purchasing from B corps that place a focus on environmental sustainability. 

 

Interesting in finding academy trustees for your trust?

Our dedicated Trustee Recruitment Service team are always here to help with any questions you may have about registering your trust with us. Feel free to email them at [email protected].

Alternatively, why not check out our pages detailing the process of registering your academy trust? This resource is designed to guide you through the process. If you’re ready to register your vacancy, check out our register your trust vacancy page.