We're the first study abroad provider to carbon offset student travel for every single USA to UK/IE roundtrip flight in 2020.
As is the nature of studying abroad, we believe that flying and travel are a necessary component of becoming an informed global citizen. But we have to balance this with the effect we know it is having on the environment. So for every flight our 2020 and beyond students take from the US to the UK or Ireland, we’ll offset the carbon it produces from the fuel used, by investing in carbon-reducing projects.
Our partner in this initiative, ClimateCare, has a wide portfolio of programs that range from the planting of trees to the production of alternative energies. We know that carbon offsetting is only a small step we can take while new technologies are developed. But at the moment, we believe it is the best way to reduce the carbon footprint of our activities.
What is carbon offsetting?
Carbon offsetting is the reduction of emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere in order to compensate for emissions made elsewhere. This means making sure that for every tonne of CO2 emitted by our student's flights, there is one tonne less in the atmosphere. We can do this by investing in projects through ClimateCare which physically removes CO2 from the air such as planting more trees or protecting against deforestation. Carbon can be offset in this way because one tonne of CO2 has the same climate impact wherever it is emitted.
What this means for you
As a student or a university partner, what this means is that if you do choose to study abroad with FIE, you are making a more sustainable choice. Our student fees are not increasing, but rather FIE is making the deliberate decision to donate to this practice because we believe strongly it is the right thing to do.
We provide sustainable alternatives to travel once students have arrived in London or Dublin (such as taking the Eurostar vs flying to Paris) in our student newsletters and social media posts. We strongly encourage energy-saving actions through the NUS Student Switch Off or trying plant-based recipes to observe Meat Free Mondays. The handy ClimateCare Carbon Calculator is also a tool provided to our students to help them think more sustainably about their actions while studying abroad.
How is FIE working with ClimateCare?
FIE partnered with ClimateCare in 2012 to offset the business travel of our staff from inside the US, to UK, Ireland, and Jordan. Since then, FIE has offset over 320 tonnes of CO2 by giving to a mixed portfolio of carbon-reducing projects. FIE consciously attends fewer overseas conferences and events, instead looking for ways to use video conferencing or staff based in a particular location to represent FIE as a whole.
In 2020, FIE’s development of offsetting all transatlantic student travel – a major factor in the study abroad industry – is something we hope will inspire partners and colleagues in the field.