Sustainability is one of the four key strands of IATEFL’s development strategy, but there’s no point having a sustainability strategy if you don’t actively do things to make a difference. Below are some of the practical steps we have taken. We’re proud to say we’ve been doing a lot of these for many years, but we’re actively looking at additions to this list.

Practical initiatives as an association

  • We have significantly reduced the amount of paperwork, forms and letters we print and post to members.
  • We have introduced digital versions of most of our publications for those who prefer this format.
  • This also extends to the percentage of members who now join and renew online, without the need for the printing and sending of paper forms.
  • The printing we still do is on forestry commission assured sustainable paper and using natural (as opposed to synthetic) inks.
  • The use of fully biodegradable polybags for the postage of membership publications.
  • 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.

Practical initiatives at Head Office

  • We are working from home whenever appropriate and possible.
  • 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.
  • We have an ongoing strategy of digitising information and data wherever possible, to avoid printing and unnecessary use of paper
  • Old computer equipment is donated to relevant charities.
  • We recycle paper, boxes, containers and food waste, with our shredded organisational paperwork ending up being used locally as beddings for animals.
  • Our heating is set on timers to ensure no energy is wasted overnight, at weekends, and in areas of the building and times of the year when heating is not required.
  • Staff car share where possible.
  • We use tea towels, Tupperware pots and plates, cups, glasses and cutlery to avoid disposable and throw-away alternatives.

Practical initiatives at our annual international conference

  • Recycle bins for delegate badges and programmes, as well as around the venue for all other waste.
  • The use of recycled cardboard signage for delegate information where appropriate / possible.
  • Reusable cups for delegates, replacing the previous reusable bottles so that they can be used for both hot and cold drinks.
  • Water stations at the venue for delegates to refill their own cup or container.
  • IATEFL pens made from recycled cardboard.
  • Delegate badges without needing clear plastic badge holders.
  • A PDF version of the conference programme for those who would rather not have a programme.
  • Encouraging speakers to share their handouts and PowerPoints online, rather than printing out lots of copies in order to give to delegates.
  • Encouraging exhibitors to think and be more environmentally aware, and sharing our environmental objectives with them.
  • Having a ‘Sustainability partner’ to champion delegate engagement on how, they too, can make a difference.
  • Delegate bags made of cloth, rather than plastic, which can then be folded up and reused as shopping bags.
  • Delegates can download their certificates from their 'dashboards' rather than us printing one for each delegate or sending them out afterwards by post.