Sustainability and IATEFL in 2023

26th January 2023

With sustainability being one of IATEFL's main strategic focuses, we include environmental impacts in all areas of decision-making and planning within the association.

Here's what IATEFL is currently doing to address the impact of the association on the environment. We share this information, and encourage additional ideas and suggestions, in order to give other organisations and individuals ideas of what they might do, and also to learn from others ourselves.

Practical initiatives IATEFL has taken as an association

  1. We have significantly reduced the amount of paperwork, forms and letters we print and post to members.
  2. All committee meetings are run online, or face-to-face at the annual conference. This reduced the amount of IATEFL-related travel, as well as making the most of the opportunity presented by the annual international conference.
  3. We have very significantly increased the ratio between our online events and our face-to-face events throughout the year.
  4. We have introduced digital versions of most of our publications for those who prefer this format.
  5. Almost all members join and renew their membership online, without the need for the printing and sending of paper forms.
  6. Delegates and exhibitors register for IATEFL events online.
  7. The printing we still do is on forestry commission assured sustainable paper and using natural (as opposed to synthetic) inks.
  8. The use of fully biodegradable polybags for the postage of membership publications.
  9. Members not requiring a membership card can opt out of receiving one by post, and instead have all their membership information sent only by email.
  10. We have a programme of regularly reviewing our online and digital footprint, and removing from the internet and archiving content and files wherever and whenever possible.

Practical initiatives taken at IATEFL Head Office

  1. Head Office staff have moved to partial working from home. This has substancially reduced the carbon impact of travelling to work, as well as energy usage at Head Office.
  2. We use one communal printer/photocopier at our Head Office for the limited printing we do, rather than individual printers each with their own consumables.
  3. We have an ongoing strategy of digitising information and data wherever possible, to avoid printing and unnecessary use of paper.
  4. Old computer equipment is donated to relevant charities.
  5. We recycle paper, boxes, containers and food waste, with our shredded organisational paperwork being used locally as beddings for animals.
  6. We use tea towels, Tupperware pots and plates, cups, glasses and cutlery to avoid disposable and throw-away alternatives.
  7. Our heating is set on timers to ensure no energy is wasted overnight, on working from home days, at weekends, and in areas of the building and times of the year when heating is not required.
  8. Our staff car share and use public transport for work travel where and whenever possible.

Practical initiatives at IATEFL's annual international conference

  1. Our delegate badges are printed on hard-wearing paper cards, without needing clear plastic badge holders.
  2. We have recycle bins for delegate badges and programmes, as well as around the venue for all other waste.
  3. We use recycled cardboard signage for delegate information where appropriate / possible.
  4. We have reusable cups for delegates, replacing the previous reusable bottles so that they can be used for both hot and cold drinks.
  5. We ensure there are water stations at the venue for delegates to refill their own cup or container.
  6. We distribute IATEFL pens made from recycled cardboard.
  7. Our printed conference programme is supplemented by a more comprehensive digital version (session abstracts, speaker bios etc.) thus reducing the impact of printing, transporting and distributing a larger, heavier printed programme.
  8. We promote the use of public transport (negotiating discounts for delegates wherever possible) and car shares as ways for delegates to travel to and from the conference.
  9. We encouraging speakers to share their handouts and PowerPoints online, rather than printing out lots of copies in order to give to delegates.
  10. We encourage exhibitors to think and be more environmentally aware, celebrate the steps they have taken, and share our environmental objectives with them.
  11. We have a ‘Sustainability partner’ to champion delegate engagement on how, they too, can make a difference.
  12. Our delegate bags are made of cloth, rather than plastic, which can then be folded up and reused as a shopping bag.
  13. We use suppliers close to the conference venue wherever possible to reduce the impact of transportation, including the printing of our conference programme.
  14. Delegates can download their certificates from their 'dashboards' rather than us printing one for each delegate or sending them out afterwards by post.
  15. We engage with the venue to identify their sustainability credentials, making clear this is part of our decision-making process. We share and celebrate where significant steps have been taken.

If you have an idea or suggestion for how IATEFL can further reduce it's carbon footprint please email your idea to:

[email protected]