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Aus: Industry sustainability effort launched

A campaign to reduce international education’s impact on global warming and include students in finding a solution is underway by education consultancy Pomegranate Global.

8.5 million trees would need to be planted to offset just air travel for Australian intled, according to research. Photo: Jordan Sanchez8.5 million trees would need to be planted to offset just air travel for Australian intled, according to research. Photo: Jordan Sanchez

Institutions run lights and air conditioning within office spaces outside of regular office hours

The campaign, led by Ailsa Lamont, Pomegranate’s founder and director, seeks to increase institutions’ awareness of their impact on global warming and highlight ways to tackle the problem.

“The parents in India want to see a hard copy? Where’s the proof?”

“What I’m trying to do is keep highlighting the issue,” Lamont said.

“Not just to make [institutions’] own operations more sustainable but also that this is really an incredible opportunity to bring students in, and to help them develop skills and make local connections as part of efforts to solve this problem.”

Lamont told The PIE News her decision to advocate for institutions offsetting their carbon footprint came after a colleague’s research indicated flights for students and staff in Australia’s higher education alone were having a significant impact on carbon emissions.

“In 2014… air travel emitted almost 1.5 million carbon dioxide equivalent tons, and you’d need 8.5 million trees planted to offset just the air travel for those new higher education international students alone,” she said.

While many institutions have developed sustainability precincts or moved to offset their emission through other means, Lamont said often there was a disconnect within institutions.

She noted many institutions ran lights and air conditioning within office spaces outside of regular office hours and printed materials remained a norm within the industry, despite digital options.

“Forever it’s been a thing in the industry that people say, ‘Let’s go paperless in our brochures’, and others respond, ‘No, we can’t because the mum [and] dad in India want to see something [in] hard copy’,” she said.

“But where’s the proof of that, is that even true anymore?”

Additionally, Lamont said there was an opportunity for institutions to include their students in tackling global warming.

And research conducted between Pomegranate and Study Melbourne showed students were interested in ensuring their institution was taking action.

She said she hoped further global research would be conducted to identify key areas for improvement.

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