CIS Abroad Blog

Announcing CIS Abroad’s Sustainability Committee

We are delighted to announce that CIS Abroad has formed a sustainability committee fondly and internally known as “Green Flags.” We are joining many other organizations in the education abroad field who are working to prioritize sustainability and climate action in our operations and programming abroad. 

To guide us in this work we are using the United Nations definition for sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” While many people know about the environmental aspects of sustainability, there are two other pillars also under that umbrella – social and economic sustainability. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) encompass these three pillars in their 17 calls to action and the CIS Abroad Sustainability Committee is excited to use the SDGs to guide our initiatives.

President and CEO, Kris Holloway shares:

The connection between human health and the health of our planet has never been more evident. I’m proud to join other international education organizations in raising awareness and committing to actions that lessen our impact on the world’s ecosystems. The issue of climate change and its harmful effects can feel overwhelming and make us turn away. But if every institution or organization commits to a few proactive steps forward, the cumulative effect of these actions can truly make a difference. Join us!


The Committee’s Current Priorities and Actions:


1. Green “Flagging” Our Programs

Our first actions have been to gather information from our site directors and overseas partners to understand which of our existing programs have a sustainability component. We broke this down into two categories, now searchable on our website!

  • We now have Sustainability as a searchable academic focus. This category is SO vast and encompasses everything from environmental studies to environmental law and sustainable tourism.
  • Green Campuses Abroad features our top 5 university partners who are committed to sustainability and climate action.Stay tuned for another blog post with more information on these 5 campuses and what they’re all about! 

2. Making Commitments to Sustainability and Climate Action

CIS Abroad is proud to have recently signed the CANIE Accords. CANIE, otherwise known as the Climate Action Network for International Educators, is a volunteer-run organization looking to further action and commitment in the industry. The Accords are a list of 70+ action items that organizations in the industry can take to commit to sustainable and decarbonizing actions.

One of CIS Abroad’s commitments is to create a climate action plan and we are looking forward to working on this and using it as our guide for future short- and long-term goals and initiatives. A few of our other commitments include:

  • advocating for climate action within our organization
  • collaborating on global data collection and surveys relating to climate action in the field
  • replacing print and shipping materials with digital
  • when catering, using plant-based local products and eliminating single use plastics.
  • promoting and commemorating Signatory’s commitment to this Accord.
  • encouraging and supporting personnel to take advantage of climate action events resources provided by CANIE and other organizations
  • making proprietary resources (e.g. articles, white papers and conference sessions) freely available to all in the sector when they pertain to climate action in international education

We hope you’ll join us in our excitement and progress toward sustainability on this Earth Day!