Climate Impact Update

Posted on July 13, 2022

At the end of 2021, The Friends’ School Board of Governors approved a Climate Impact Policy, and correlating set of Guidelines, to be developed. Since then, work has commenced on implementing this policy document, with a focus on the journey to become carbon neutral as well as ways to engage our students with the process.

The first step in becoming carbon neutral will be conducting a greenhouse gas (GHG) audit to calculate our emissions. All activities and sources of GHG emissions will be first identified and include sources which we have direct and indirect control over (e.g transport fuels, purchased electricity, waste generated in operations, school/business travel, and other purchased goods and services). Emissions factors will be used to convert these activities/sources into “carbon dioxide equivalents” or CO2e. From this, it will be possible to calculate our carbon footprint, which is the sum total of all carbon dioxide equivalents. The first year this is done will establish our “base year” to allow comparison over time. We aim to complete this baseline data assessment this year. This process is highly technical and requires the services of external consultants. At this stage, we have spoken with a number of consultants and are in the process of determining the best fit for our school.

Once we have established our carbon footprint, the process of reducing our emissions begins. This is not an immediate solution but will be an ongoing process – targeting those areas where we have the largest footprint and the biggest opportunity for reduction. This will involve a whole school approach and the progress will be shared with our community. 

The final step in the journey to become carbon neutral will be to purchase carbon offsets, however, this is not the focus of our actions. Whilst carbon offsets can be purchased to immediately claim carbon neutrality, it removes the emphasis on emissions reduction, which should be our primary aim. Carbon offsets will be investigated later in the process. 

In addition to the whole school commitment to carbon neutrality, we are also seeking student input into the changes they want to see to help our school become more climate friendly.  At the recent combined Clemes, High School and Morris Student Council meeting (organised and facilitated by Head Students Gryff Connah and Shriya Anil), the students were introduced to the Eco-Schools program. This is a UN-backed initiative run at thousands of schools worldwide and we are excited to announce that The Friends’ School has signed up to become an Eco-School. This practical, student-led initiative will be initially headed up by Gryff and Shriya before succession plans are established to ensure the work continues beyond 2022. Commencing in Term 3, the student committee will conduct an environmental audit of the school before deciding on an area to tackle. In each subsequent year, the student group can add further areas of focus to continue to make Friends’ a more environmentally informed school. Please look out for details of how to be involved and to hear about the progress made.

For more information, please contact Nicola Anderson – Environmental Science Teacher, Head of Science Faculty and Climate Impact Policy Working Group Convenor