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Environmental responsability

Environmental responsibility is one of the three pillars of CSR. It can be defined as a business duty to mitigate the environmental damage that comes from business operations, or find innovative ways to drive positive, environmental change. Environmental responsibility is a complex issue that can be declined in many ways, especially depending on the type of company: it can generally range from the existence of pollution reduction programs, the extent to which an organization conserves natural resources, involvement in voluntary environmental restoration activities, eco-design practices or the systematic reduction of waste and emissions from activities (Kathy Babiak and Sylvia Trendafilova, 2011).

Is this a point of interest for VET organisations?

It is because…

Develop methodologies for elaboration of school policies on environmental responsibility and strengthen the collaboration among all members of the school community – school leaders, teachers, non-teaching staff, students and stakeholders – is crucial. In the following list we present a selection of suggestions we collected by the medium of the survey and the face to face interviews with VET head masters, teachers and students.

All these topics will be discussed in more detail in the The CSR2VET Ambassador course

Tips we collected (tips transversal to all the three pillars)

  • Design your organisation’s policy on environmental responsibility.
  • Share the objectives of the organisation’s policy on environmental responsibility among all the members of the school community.
  • Develop learning modules for strengthening the competencies of teachers and for non-teaching staff on ethical, economic and environmental responsibility.
  • Include, transversally, ethical, economic and environmental responsibility issues in the curricula.
  • Select your supply network consistent with the principles of environmental responsibility.
  • Organise lessons for your students inviting companies at the local level that are developing good or best practices on environmental responsibility.

Tips we collected (specific on Environmental Responsibility)

  • Involve students in practical actions to improve their environmental responsibility behaviour (for example use of reusable water bottles)
  • Create protocols of use for teaching and non-teaching staff (reduction of printing; reduction of cleaning products, etc.)
  • Monitor the quantity of food waste in the school canteen.
  • Involve your students in Service learning projects on environmental responsibility.

Best practices suggestions

To enrich your experience in this section we suggest you to explore the website ECESP The European Circular Economy Stakeholder platform. In the platform a section is dedicated to Best Practices that includes relevant practices, innovative processes and ‘learning from experience’ examples. In particular we suggest you to read about the following practices:

  1. Nos collèges engagés dans la lutte contre le gaspillage alimentaire” Three pilot colleges in the Lozere Department eradicate food waste from the menu. | In 2014-2015, the Department de la Lozère supported three secondary schools involved in the fight against food waste (Saint-Chély – Langogne – Le Collet de Dèze): a waste diagnosis, weighing of catering waste, working meetings and steering committees in each school, development of 15 action sheets presented to the schools to support them in their choices. In 2016, the Department organised training on this topic for the cooks of all the public secondary schools. Within the framework of the ZDZG project (“Territoire Zéro Déchet Zéro Gaspillage”), it is planned to support 3 secondary schools per year in the fight against food waste and to lead a project team per school. The format can be exported within all the educational organizations that have a canteen service.
  2. Ristorazione Sostenibile 360° (360° Sustainable Catering Services) | Ristorazione Sostenibile 360° (or 360° Sustainable Catering) is the first voluntary certification programme for regional catering, suitable for any type of restaurant in the Emilia-Romagna Region (IT). It is called “360°” because it factors in the environmental, economic and social aspects of catering and gives a broad and holistic view of sustainability. The certification is based on a technical specification drawn up within the project and containing guidelines, indicators and evaluation sheets. When a restaurant owner/manager undergoes the evaluation and is certified, he/she undertakes to abide by sustainable principles. Preventing food waste and embracing circularity are part and parcel of the general concept of sustainability. The format could be a source of inspiration for organisation that operate in the CVET sector.
  3. E-waste Race: school-based collection of old electronic devices | The E-waste Race is an educational competition between primary schools to collect old electronic devices. Participants of the project get an introductory lecture about recycling and the valuable materials electronic devices contain. Then they start collecting e-waste and the school who collects the most e-waste wins an educational and fun school trip. The project was initiated in 2014 with four races and currently (2022) more than 30 races annually are organised. The format of the activity can be exported within different educational context.

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