Examples of sustainable project management
Personal encounters lie at the very heart of international education partnerships and projects. Before any trip, however, you should carefully consider what kinds of personal meetings are absolutely necessary. Is it possible to prepare a face-to-face encounter using online tools? Can individual contributions to a conference be incorporated via video messages? If air travel is necessary, you should always book direct flights wherever possible and avoid feeder flights. For domestic travel, you should try to use public transport wherever you can. Should this not be possible, use the services of regional transport providers, such as shared taxis, carpools, etc. You can also offset the CO2 released during travel with payments to support climate protection projects. However, it is always better to avoid greenhouse emissions than to offset them!
When looking for a suitable location for events and meetings, you should not only consider accessibility, space and costs, but also various sustainability aspects. These include the energy and water consumption of the venue, the design of buildings and rooms, waste management and the possibility of using organic and fair-trade catering. In addition, you should also check whether the chosen venue ensures the participation of all persons/groups (e.g. in terms of accessibility and diversity, wheelchair-accessible toilets and accommodation, barrier-free arrival and departure, etc.).
The production of food naturally involves the consumption of resources. The environmental impact of the use of chemicals and the working conditions of producers and farmers worldwide also need to be taken into account. You can act sustainably by choosing the right kind of food: the production of meat, for example, is much more harmful to the climate than that of vegetables. If meat is offered, it should not come from industrial livestock production. You should focus on short transport routes and the use of regional products. Even in the case of products that cannot be sourced locally, you should ensure that fair and sustainable production conditions are observed. Avoiding packaging and food waste also contributes to greater sustainability.
Teaching and learning materials
Communication and joint learning can be supported by distributing informative materials at educational events. However, handouts, event documents, flipcharts and presentation cards all consume resources and generate waste. You should therefore carefully consider which copies, printouts and materials are really necessary without compromising the quality of the educational activity. If possible, use 100% recycled paper.
For many participants, attending an educational event outside their home town or country is a good opportunity to explore the surrounding area. Restaurant visits or cultural and sightseeing activities can be part of the official programme or take place outside of it. Regardless of whether you or the participants themselves organise these activities, it is worthwhile to check which sites, places of interest, cultural events, cafés and restaurants might be of particular interest from a sustainability perspective. Draw up a list with relevant information that you can also make available to the participants and involve local partners in the design of the supporting programme.
The term diversity management refers to measures for promoting and addressing diversity in relation to ethnic origin or nationality, gender, sexual orientation, ideology, age, disability, social origin, etc. An event that pays attention to the needs of different people points the way forward in terms of sustainable development. Check whether anyone within your educational partnership or project is disadvantaged or excluded due to group affiliations and develop strategies for counteracting this. Use gender-sensitive language and avoid discriminatory wording and stereotypes. If possible, provide information about the events within your educational partnership or project in simple language that can be understood by all target groups. Make sure you have a balanced selection of speakers and invite guests of different ages, genders and origins. Design the event in such a way that it is sensitive to discrimination and does not leave any room for racism and sexism, for example by agreeing on a code of conduct from the outset and providing a contact point for anyone affected by discrimination.
The following sources offer additional information about sustainable event management:
Guidelines to prevent harassment, sexual harassment and discrimination: