The Green Action ELT Pledge

We need widespread, collective action to address the climate and ecological crisis. But it can be hard to turn good intentions into action. That is why we developed the Green Action ELT Pledge – to guide and strengthen environmental action in language teaching.

The need for environmental action is clear and the language teaching profession understands the need to play its part. 

We need to take action across every aspect of our operations. To help make this easier we have created The Green Action ELT Pledge.

The Pledge sets out a comprehensive range of action that all schools, service providers, consultants and freelancers can take to improve their environmental impact and collectively green our sector.

With three levels of action in different areas of action, the Pledge is both accessible and ambitious. Organisations with different scopes and at different stages of environmental action can take part, following the suggested steps and working towards increasingly impactful commitments.

We warmly invite you to demonstrate your commitment to and leadership in environmental responsibility in language teaching by taking  the Green Action ELT Pledge.

Why does the language teaching sector need a planet pledge?

Many organisations across the language teaching sector have started taking environmental action and see sustainability as a clear part of their remit as educators and investors in the future. Sustainability can be viewed as a way of safeguarding future generations.  

But current action is disjointed and disparate. There are few guidelines for action in the sector, nor do we know how widespread action is in our industry.

By creating a free, accessible scheme that everyone in our profession can sign up to, we will not only gain a clear picture of action across our sector but also provide a clear pathway to improving our environmental impact. 

It is inspiring to see more and more schools taking environmental action. We need to seize and strengthen this momentum to build collective, more widespread action for a safer, greener future. Together we can have a real impact and help address the climate and environmental crisis.

Why should I take the Pledge?

Not only will taking the Pledge help structure your environmental action, but it is also a great way to show your students, staff, partners and investors that you are committed to helping create a better future.

The need for action and global awareness about environmental impact has never been greater. People are looking for more responsible, ethical options and organisations that reflect their values. By taking the Pledge and  fulfilling your commitments, it will be clear to everyone that you are serious about running a responsible and compassionate organisation.

What’s more, by taking the Pledge you will join and support sector-wide change. Leading by example, your action will help shift the sector and wider community, encouraging and strengthening action beyond your organisation.

Once you have signed the Pledge, you will receive a media kit to help you demonstrate  your commitment to environmental action.

How does the pledge work?

The Green Action ELT pledge has 99 commitments across the nine areas listed below.

  1. Make a commitment
  2. Energy
  3. Materials and consumption
  4. Travel and transport
  5. Engagement
  6. Events and catering
  7. Marketing and communications
  8. Collaboration and influence
  9. Positive impact

You can view the pledge commitments in detail here.

Within each area, pledges are organised in three levels: bronze, silver, gold. This means the scheme will be accessible to different types of pledge taker, at different stages of implementation, with different scopes for action. For example, summer schools may have little control over the energy source of rented premises, but can still demonstrate commitment by encouraging pupils to use less energy.

This graded approach also demonstrates the breadth of action available to us and recognises that, while important, commitments like reducing single use plastics and recycling paper are only the first steps on the road to more sustainable practice. We can and must go further to achieve real and impactful changes to protect our organisations from greenwashing.

To be considered a pledge signatory, your organisation must commit to most of the basic steps in each area. You can answer “Yes”, “No”, or “Not Applicable” to each of the commitments listed. Once you have submitted your form our team will review your pledge and list you on our signatories page. You will then receive a marketing toolkit full of assets, like social media posts, to help you promote your commitment to environmental action. After 12 months you will be invited to renew your commitment.

Who can sign?

The Green Action ELT Planet Pledge is open to everyone in the language teaching sector – from schools to service providers to consultants:

  • Language schools of all languages in any country
  • Individual freelancers in the language teaching sector (such as materials writers, teacher trainers, researchers, consultants, graphic designers etc.)
  • Associations, membership organisations and unions
  • Event organisers
  • Service providers
  • Agents and travel abroad advisors

The individual who signs the Pledge must have authority to do so, for example they must be the director, chief executive, owner or chair of the organisation. The Green Action ELT Pledge  is tailored to the language teaching sector. If your organisation is in international education but does not focus on language teaching, you may prefer to sign the CANIE Accord, which has been designed for higher education providers. The CANIE Accord invites signatures from heads of higher education institutions, associations, institutes and departments to make a commitment to environmental action.

What am I commiting to?

By taking the Green Action ELT Pledge, your organisation is making a public commitment to fulfil the actions you selected.

The Pledge is not an environmental accreditation and there are no reporting requirements or formal audits. Green Action ELT is a small volunteer-led organisation without the capacity to prove or verify that you are taking the actions in your pledge, so to some extent these must be on trust

But  you will be held accountable to your commitments by your students, staff, partners and stakeholders. The Green Action ELT team may look at your website and ask for more information about your actions. We reserve the right to remove signatory status if we have good reason to believe that you are misusing the Pledge.If you are looking for externally audited environmental accreditation for your language school, visit Green Standard Schools. You can take the Pledge and be a Green Standard School at the same time.

Is there a fee?

There is no fee to become a Green Action ELT Pledge signatory.

Is there a deadline?

You can take the Green Action ELT Pledge at any time. Once you sign your pledge, it will last until the renewal date one year later. We will then ask you to renew your commitment and encourage you to take new, more comprehensive actions each year.

This is to help ensure that your commitment is active and expanding, and not just a check box that can be forgotten.

How can I support Green Action ELT and the pledge?

Green Action ELT is a small group of volunteers working in the language teaching sector. We give up our time to run this project and are very grateful for all the support we receive.

The best ways you can support our work and the Pledge are:

  • Tell your colleagues and industry contacts about our events, campaigns and the Pledge – you can forward our emails, post on social media with #GreenELT, raise it in a staff meeting, add it to your newsletter or ask your association to do the same.
  • Like, comment and share our social media posts – this helps them reach more people
  • Become an ambassador or volunteer