This ethos extends to how we conduct our business at Orbital Education and in each of our schools. We do this for better environmental and societal outcomes and to set a positive example to our Orbital students and communities.
On this page, we explore several of the sustainability initiatives that help form our Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) policy, and we include a link to our policy.
We also have many initiatives going on across our schools and not everything is included on this page. You can find out more on each of the school websites where you’ll also find a link to each school’s Environmental Policy.
Orbital Education is committed to investing in a sustainable future for our group of schools. We encourage sustainable thinking at a group level and are delighted at the rigour with which our schools, including teachers, students, and parents, have developed their own commitment to sustainability. Promoting sustainability in education is crucial to developing environmentally and socially conscious individuals who can contribute positively to the world.David Pottinger CEO, Orbital Education Group
We have introduced solar panels at five of our schools to reduce our carbon emissions and therefore, our impact on climate change. The Orbital schools currently generating sustainable energy via solar panels are:
We are monitoring the impact of these solar panels and have plans to extend this initiative across other schools within the group.
Looking at the impact of these panel on electricity consumption, we are pleased to report the following results:
Comparing electricity use in Sa Porrassa in August 2022, when no solar panels were installed, with August 2023, which is a month after the solar panels were installed, electricity use has fallen from over 7500 KwH to under 2800 KwH. This equates to a 63% saving in electricity use.
Based on data since they were installed, solar panels in British school Quito are expected to permanently reduce the school's electricity consumption by 30% and to save seven tons of carbon dioxide annually. Plus, the school ensured that no child labour was involved in the production of the panels.
Three months' worth of data from the solar panels in Britannica International School Budapest has been analysed. Based on this data, the energy they anticipate they'll save annually equates to nine tons of standard coal, eleven tons of carbon dioxide, or planting fifteen trees.
Oryx International uses solar water heating panels to supply hot water for washing facilities and to heat the school's two pools.
The Orbital Education office and all six of the group's European schools operate with zero carbon energy. Many of our European schools generate their own electricity via solar panels, but after daylight hours, the electricity supplied is provided by companies using 100% renewable resources.
For the hosting of the Orbital Education website, and all our school websites, we have chosen a provider that only selects data centres using 100% renewable energy. Data centres account for around 2% of total global power consumption so this conscious choice makes a significant contribution to the reduction in CO2 emissions.
Britannica International School, Budapest and British International School of Ljubljana have partnered with Trutex to provide high-quality, carbon-neutral school uniforms.
As well as being carbon neutral, this school uniform provider also uses:
When uniforms are shipped from Trutex to the schools they use carbon-neutral and fully recyclable sugar cane materials for carrier and mailing bags and FSC-certified, carbon-balanced paper from the World Land Trust.
Finally, uniform items that aren’t sold are sent to ‘Giving World’, a charity which redistributes these garments to families in need across the world.
Orbital Education has partnered with Revive IT, a company that collects and recycles IT equipment that is no longer required. Revive IT is GDPR and WEEE-compliant and guarantees the destruction of data. Devices that have been successfully data sanitised will be reused. Faulty or obsolete devices will be physically destroyed and then broken down for zero waste to landfill materials recycling.
British School Quito, participate in the ‘Botellas de Amor’ initiative. Disposable, single-use plastic bottles are filled with clean and flexible plastic such as crisp packets. Once full, the bottles are collected to be melted and transformed into school equipment such as benches and slides for schools in need.
Oryx International operate a wastewater recycling initiative which involves siphoning wastewater for hygienic use at Hamad International Airport. Oryx also operate half-flush toilets, which keep things clean and sanitary whilst reducing excess wastewater to begin with. Oryx International have also successfully eradicated single-use plastics, which included wrapper-free lunches, biodegradable lunch cartons and utensils.
United School International has introduced water fountains with a piped drinking water supply, and they promote the use of these over single-use plastic bottles. And their large canteen only uses recyclable packaging, which is always recycled.
Britannica International School, Shanghai have a unique use for their rubbish. They host an annual 'trashion show', where students produce and model innovative garments made entirely out of rubbish or 'trash'. Not only does this help students hone their design skills, but it raises awareness in the school community and beyond, about recycling and waste reduction.
Oryx International School is a Green Flag School and Baleares International College, both the Sant Agusti and Sa Porrassa campuses, are working towards becoming Green Flag schools.
The Green Flag, Eco-schools programme provides a seven-step framework that empowers students to make a difference in their school and wider community. Students connect their activities and initiatives to three or more of the ten ‘Eco-school’ topics enabling them to apply for this prestigious award.
This initiative award focuses on climate change and sustainability but it’s also about connecting student to their community and encouraging an understanding of the power of their actions and their voice.
Britt Academy has adopted an innovative curriculum aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030. These seventeen goals, adopted by all United Nation Member states, provide a shared vision for peace and prosperity for people, animals and the planet. Work on the Knotion Education Platform has been developed to directly support and raise awareness of these goals. Students become aware of their role in the wider world and the difference they can make through ethical, sustainable, and society-focused practices.
British School Quito is the first school in Latin America to have UN Climate change-certified teachers. This UN-certified accreditation uses climate change material developed by the United Nations Training Institute to equip educators of all age groups with the knowledge to deliver lessons on climate change. British school Quito’s certified teachers use their skills to bring environmental thinking to school and to encourage the whole community to think and act responsibly.
Our schools understand the importance of raising awareness around environmental issues and the importance of making sustainable choices for younger generations. Many of our schools have set up student committees to focus on these important issues, and several successful school initiatives are student-led so they have a voice, a choice and participate actively in sustainability-focused initiatives.
For example, British School Quito have a ‘Student Sustainability Committee’ that works with outside agencies, including the World Food Program, the United Nations, and ‘Botellas de Amor’ to develop the sustainability of the school.
United School International and Britannica International School Budapest have both enjoyed a visit from Dr Jane Goodhall. In both schools, younger students had the opportunity to speak with Dr Goodall about the environmental projects they’ve been working on in their classrooms. Some of the older students also heard Dr Goodall speak about her life’s work and her Roots and Shoots programme, which supports the next generation in understanding the power and influence of their voice and actions to create change. Students were able to ask Dr Goodall about her life's work and her extraordinary career.
Secondary Students at United School International were so inspired by this visit that they have set up their own ‘Roots and Shoots’ environmental program in school.
Many of our schools carry out environmental clean-ups in their local community. These excursions clean up vast amounts of litter, largely around coastal areas. It is said that 5.25 trillion pieces of waste are currently in the ocean and 60% of water pollution is caused due to littering. They also encourage an awareness of students of the impact they can have within their local community fostering an understanding of the importance of community.
Orbital Education shares the same values as each of our schools:
Excellence, Respect, Responsibility, Integrity, Compassion
These values underpin everything we do, defining how we work as a group and enabling us to develop students who are valued members of their communities, and the world more widely with moral grounding and an innate kindness to others.
70% of people in Madagascar live in extreme poverty. Sadly, this means that over 50% of children under the age of five suffer from malnutrition. Only 46% of people have access to clean drinking water, and 85% don’t have access to adequate sanitation.
Education is one of the few roots out of this poverty but only 36% of children make it through Primary school, and those that do are taught in schools where only 15% of teachers are trained.
Our chosen charity partner, Money for Madagascar (MfM) directly addresses these issues. Their mission is: 'To enable Malagasy people to reduce poverty and protect the environment through sustainable, community-led initiatives.'
Schools participating in the programme receive support to strengthen their infrastructure including basic amenities such as safe classrooms, clean water and sanitary washrooms.
In MfM's education programme, all teachers are formally trained. They learn pedagogic skills, with an emphasis on ‘child-friendly’ teaching methods and crucially, teachers are equipped with essential educational resources including text and reading books.
These books are essential teaching tools, and they give the children the opportunity to access stories and expand their knowledge of the world beyond Madagascar. Some schools also receive solar panels and tablets to experiment with the benefits of online learning opportunities.
A kitchen garden is established in each school, providing nutritious food that is essential to enable children to concentrate and retain information.
As well as providing food, the kitchen garden provides an educational opportunity as students, parents and teachers are trained in organic food production, a skill that gives them a potential source of increased income.
Population growth is putting enormous pressure on Madagascar’s precious rainforest. More than half has disappeared. Climate change has also been responsible for causing terrible famine. Malagasy people depend on natural resources for survival therefore, education in this area is vital.
Students, parents and teachers receive an environmental education, raising awareness of global, national and local environmental issues. Topics include living sustainably, climate resilience, waste management, and sustainable agriculture with a focus on avoiding deforestation.
Parental involvement is key to long-term success. With no government provision, parent committees are responsible for maintaining school buildings and resources, managing the school library, managing the kitchen garden and canteen, and providing staff salaries.
Therefore, training parents in sustainable agriculture, health and hygiene, nutrition, and income-generating activities is crucial. MfM provide literacy training for parents in the context of teaching these practical skills, so parents can support the school, improve their living conditions, and assists their children with schoolwork.
We are proud to support the unparalleled work delivered by MfM. Over the two years that we have been supporting the charity, our donation has enabled the training of sixty-six teachers.
This number, and a number of other initiatives, will grow as we continue to support this marvellous charity year-on-year.
Britannica Budapest started to reduce its carbon footprint in 2021 by becoming a partner of the ELMŰ-ÉMÁSZ Zöld programme. This ‘Green Partner’ programme certifies that the school’s energy supply comes entirely from renewable sources. This was the catalyst for their introduction of solar panels.
Students at British School Quito undergoing a gruelling clean up of the Rio San Pedro. These regular, Sunday morning clean up involve dislodging and collecting, litter, fabric and other debris with a pick axe.
Oryx International worked with DEAP Qatar to clean up the Fraiha Archaeological site and Al Khor. Across the two sites, students removed 550 kilos of litter
United School International was built with the environment in mind. Motion detectors ensure that lights aren’t left on. Air conditioning is controlled room-to-room so there is no waste, and it’s supplied by a company committed to sustainable energy use. Windows are set in from the facade to reduce the amount of direct sunlight in classrooms, keeping them naturally cooler.
British International School of Ljubljana's commitment to sustainability is led their Principal, Mel Hitchcocks. Mel possesses a profound passion for the environment and endeavours to instil this passion in all students.