Over the last decade, the Canadian International School of Hong Kong (CDNIS) has been recognised by Hong Kong’s Environmental Campaign Committee as one of the greenest schools in Hong Kong. We find out more about the school’s sustainability pledge, and how it’s preparing the next generation of environmental leaders.
How sustainable are Hong Kong schools?
Ponder this question: what is your school’s impact on the physical and social environment, and the wellbeing of students and staff? Is it a good community member? And how is its leadership and board accountable in these areas? These are relatively new questions for parents to ponder, but powerful ones.
At the Canadian International School of Hong Kong (CDNIS), parents are able to answer in detail, thanks to the school’s Education for Sustainable Development (ESG) Report. Thumb through the report and you’ll get an understanding of the school’s aspiration as a leader in this space, its willingness to assess its impact, and the sustainability goals it actively works towards.
Head of School DR JANE CAMBLIN says, “We’re taking these goals of being a sustainable and contributing member of Hong Kong society seriously – and it’s possibly something new for parents to consider when thinking about enrolling children in schools. However, if you think about the world in which we live, and the necessity for us to take the future of the planet, sustainable energy, the preservation of flora and fauna very seriously, this is an important part of a child’s K-12 experience.”
The sustainable student experience
Dr Camblin observes that while Hong Kong parents can be very focused on academics, the power of these sustainable schooling experiences shouldn’t be overlooked – especially for senior students.
“When universities are interviewing potential undergraduates, they’re looking for people aware of the world around them – both locally and internationally. They’re looking for those who want to make a difference and take leadership roles in these areas. It has pragmatic, positive outcomes for students in their future careers.”
One such recent experience was the Hong Kong SDG Summit 2020, organised and led by the CDNIS Global Goals Clubs Council. At this free event, participating students from CDNIS and participating schools around the globe heard from a panel of industry experts on “Collaboration: The Magic Ingredient for Impact” and took part in NGO workshops, talks, simulations and discussions, led by 12 of HK’s most impactful organisations.
CDNIS students collaborated on Hong Kong case studies, working across schools, organisations and age ranges to design an action plan focusing on one of the “5 P’s”: peace, planet, prosperity, people and partnerships.
The CDNIS student experiences are married to systems and physical experiences crafted to ensure the school is impacting its environment and community in positive ways. This approach expands beyond the school gates, permeating its supply chain from the cafeteria to transport systems.
The school has long been known for its innovative physical campus too. A few years back, it famously installed the city’s second-largest photovoltaic solar installation (349 panels), an investment that’s set to pay for itself within six years.
Even in high-density Aberdeen, students and staff are afforded the sanctuary of a green roof. The native garden is thriving thanks to a steady supply of fresh compost, one of the school’s many waste-reduction initiatives. The space works hard as both a learning environment where kids get their hands dirty and a natural oasis that attracts butterflies and other native fauna.
Read more on these sustainability initiatives at cdnis.edu.hk
This article first appeared in the Summer 2021 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.