IATEFL and the climate emergency

25th October 2021

Statement from IATEFL:

IATEFL acknowledges that we are facing a climate, ecological and planetary emergency that is impacting our most precious natural resources, exacerbating social inequalities and damaging human health.

Coronavirus has highlighted that drastic action is possible by Governments and organisations worldwide.

IATEFL is committed to reviewing how it can reduce its own carbon footprint, and also to using our voice and our influence with partners, suppliers, members and supporters to inspire the action needed to tackle the urgent crises we face.


IATEFL actions:

In addition to the previous commitments and actions IATEFL has taken itself, which can be reviewed here, we will also now be:

1.  Monitoring and reducing our digital carbon footprint.

“If the internet was a country, it would be the 6th largest polluter.”
How will we be doing this?

  • Having 6-monthly purges to archive and take off-line anything which is no longer required.
  • Storing digital data off-line wherever possible, rather than on web servers in the cloud.
  • Compressing recordings to reduce their online footprint and streaming requirements.
  • Raising awareness among staff and volunteers.

2.  Reducing our staff and volunteer carbon footprint from travel.

How will we be doing this?

  • Continuing to run meetings online, instead of face-to-face, in the short term. We will then move to a mix of face-to-face and virtual meetings in the longer term so as to reduce our carbon footprint significantly, but also maintain some opportunities for networking in person.
  • IATEFL has introduced a partial working from home policy for staff members which aims to reduce travelling to work by at least a third.

3.  Continuing to reduce the carbon footprint of our annual conference.

How will we be doing this?

  • Evaluating the environmental impact of each aspect of the conference, and looking for more sustainable options whenever and wherever we can.
  • Ensuring our venue is committed to reducing its own carbon footprint and not increasing ours.
  • Encouraging, challenging and celebrating the actions of our partners and stakeholders.

4.  Reducing, reusing and recycling wherever possible.

How will we be doing this?

  • Sorting Head Office waste and repurposing or recycling wherever possible.
  • Continuing and increasing the off-line digitisation of paperwork in order to continue to reduce printing and paper usage, but without increasing our digital carbon footprint.

5.  Encouraging others, and learning from them.

How will we be doing this?

  • We hope the initiatives listed above, as well as those we have already committed to (see link above) will encourage others to think about what they can do too.
  • If you have any good ideas which you’ve taken up yourself and think we could do too, just let us know. Please email your idea to: [email protected] with a subject of ‘Green Idea’.


Jon Burton, IATEFL Chief Executive:

Sustainability is one of IATEFL's key strategy focuses, and has been for several years. The climate emergency needs us all to take individual responsibility and individual action, and clearly organisations of all kinds also have a vital role. Together we can make change, share knowlegde on how to make change, encourage others, and celebrate what we achieve.