The Girls’ Day School Trust has celebrated Earth Day 2022 as a CarbonNeutral® organisation for the first time in its history.
The family of 23 independent girls’ schools and two academies has achieved the certification by reducing its emissions internally and supporting four emission reduction projects around the world, to offset its carbon footprint in accordance with The CarbonNeutral Protocol. These include clean cooking using biomass in India, land restoration using funghi in Chile, improved water infrastructure in Africa, and protecting rainforests in Indonesia.
The projects have been carefully selected in partnership with climate impact company Natural Capital Partners to ensure that they align with GDST’s emerging sustainability strategy. The strategy has been shaped by those UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) most closely related to the Trust’s ethos and mission: Good health and wellbeing, Quality education, Gender equality, Climate action, Responsible consumption and production.
The certification will provide a route to take immediate action and is a first step towards achieving the Trust’s long-term aspiration to reduce carbon emissions by 42% by 2030. It will also be a stepping stone to reaching the net-zero carbon target by 2050.
The Brookings Institution identified girls’ education as one of the best and most cost-effective investments against climate change. Therefore, the GDST aims to show its commitment to Earth Day 2022’s ‘Invest In Our Planet’ theme by continuing to educate girls to ensure they are involved in finding solutions to climate change.
GDST will also be unveiling its new mantra for sustainability to help emphasise the urgency and importance of the climate challenge, now and for the future. The “One world. One future. One chance.” is an encapsulation of our world, with an urgent call to action to use this one chance still available to us to protect the future. It will be used across all of the GDST’s sustainability-related activities.
Cheryl Giovannoni, Chief Executive, GDST, said: ‘At our 25 schools all across the country, girls are applying their ingenuity and passion in their commitment to sustainability. Every year group, no matter how young, contributes to their individual school’s sustainability programme.
‘Whether they are organising litter picking committees or making ‘pledgehogs’ to make their individual commitments to climate change action, our girls believe that they have the power to make a difference. And they are holding us to account as an organisation too.’