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AFS to offset school exchange travel emissions

AFS Intercultural Programs has announced it will fully offset travel emissions of its flagship AFS high school exchange programs from 2021 onwards as standard practice.

Photo: AFS

The program enlists approximately 12,000 participants a year across its network of national AFS organisations in 60 countries in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe.

“It is not an option for educational, mission-driven organisations like AFS to sit on the sidelines of this conversation”

It is believed to be the first global-scale international education organisation to make such a commitment.

“Climate change is widely acknowledged as the single most pressing issue of our lifetime,” Daniel Obst AFS president & CEO said.

“As we saw just two weeks ago in the historically unparalleled – youth-led – Climate Crisis March involving millions worldwide, it is not an option for educational, mission-driven organisations like AFS to sit on the sidelines of this conversation,” he added.

“As an organisation that both builds active global citizens and is made up of active global citizens, we must model our values.”

Operating more sustainably is a “multilayered, multistep undertaking”, Obst noted.

“It will involve a carbon assessment, reduction, replacement, and neutralization (offset) strategy as well as changes in our attitudes and behaviors. There are no quick fixes, but addressing our carbon impact is something that is both ‘doable’ and needed.”

AFS’s largest programs include to and from Argentina, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Thailand, and the USA.

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