United in our commitment to nature
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United in our commitment to nature

John Chivall

We’re proud to be part of the Outward Bound International Environmental Charter.

Since our first steps in Aberdovey in 1941, Outward Bound has grown into a global community of Schools spanning 34 different countries. Together, under the Outward Bound International (OBI) umbrella, we uphold the highest standards of safety, adventure, and impact, working with our siblings around the world to enrich our approach to outdoor learning. Now, our attention must to the environment...

Our Connection to Nature's Classroom

Immersing in nature and the outdoors is a profound part of any Outward Bound course. Bringing with it a deep sense of responsibility, that has inspired us to commit to Net Zero by 2035.

Our friends around the world are also making inroads in this respect, engaging more in environmental stewardship, from sea turtle conservation in Costa Rica to teaching Leave No Trace principles in Taiwan's mountains.

The Charter: A Blueprint for Sustainable Action

The OBI Environmental Charter isn't just a set of guidelines; it's our collective voice for environmental consciousness. Tailored to the diverse environments and cultures we operate in, the Charter aligns us in seven key areas:

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  1. Education: Strengthen participants’ understanding of and connection to themselves, each other, and the natural world. Empower students towards positive behavioural change.
  2. Field operations: Evolve our “tread lightly” principles to ensure our field operations are environmentally and culturally sustainable
  3. Carbon: Reduce and where possible offset carbon emissions.
  4. Energy: Explore opportunities for energy efficiency and reduce overall consumption across operations
  5. Waste: Reduce, re-use and re-cycle as much waste material as possible across our operations. Look to integrate circular economy principles where possible.
  6. Water: Conserve water and adopt geographically appropriate and responsible methods of wastewater discharge.
  7. Supply chains: Work with our partners and suppliers to help us achieve the above goals, and to promote sustainable practice in relation to their operations.
Continuous Progress and Learning

In many respects we have made significant progress towards these areas, particularly in matters like energy management, achieving ISO 50001 certification. But we acknowledge there is always more to be done.

The Charter also goes beyond operational practices; it's about the young people we inspire. It strengthens our environmental education, ensuring that our courses are at the forefront of connecting participants with nature and inspiring them to cherish and protect it.

Living by Kurt Hahn’s Philosophy

Every action we take is a reflection of Kurt Hahn’s enduring philosophy: “To serve, to strive, and not to yield.” This ethos resonates more than ever as we navigate our environmental responsibilities and the legacy we leave for future generations.

Together, we're not just teaching outdoor skills; we're nurturing a generation of environmental stewards. As we continue to forge this path we commit ourselves to greater care of the planet and a spirit of adventure that honours our connection to nature.

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Further Reading