EPALE discussion: Environmental Impact Protocol
Erasmus Plus and mobility projects can be an extremely valuable way to travel, know people, visit new cultures. But, at the same time, travelling means contributing to pollution... How can this intrinsic contradiction be solved? Jump to Job partners decided to commit to minimizing the pollution generated by the project and signed together with the Project Environmental Impact protocol. Small measures that will help make Jump To Job! a project that not only supports people with disabilities employment but also respects the environment as much as possible.
- The project will take into consideration waste reduction, reuse and recycling, energy efficiency, mobility for every action we undertake. Waste recycling and near sourcing are very important, which means that we use products that are produced in our local environment. This reduces the impact of transport, resulting in fewer carbon emissions. As we know emissions of pollutants from the exhaust of vehicles are major causes of air and water pollution. Transport also allows urban expansion and damages natural habitats. International transportation of goods can allow new organisms to enter a region and increase the risk of diseases. Disposal of vehicles after their service life, disposal of spilt oil, disposal of parts of vehicles or any other disposal is the biggest challenge as far as our environment is concerned.
- Reduce food waste. An estimated 1/3 of all food produced globally is lost or goes to waste. We all have a part to play in reducing food loss and waste, not only for the sake of the food but for the resources that go into it. Food that never gets eaten also represents a waste of resources, such as land, water, energy, soil, seeds and other inputs used in its production, increasing green gas emissions in vain. At meetings or other different events and training, it’s a good idea to check the members' preferences for food and drink. This is the way to order and prepare the exact amount of food and avoid wasting it.
- Choose sustainable options for conference venues (considering energy efficiency, etc.), catering and training/meeting packs or freebies. We need to be careful to look at the quantity and material of promotional material in a project, as we quickly forget about unnecessary environmental pollution with pens, tote bags etc. Also, when planning the project’s communications materials, give preference to online publications.
- Opt for online meetings and webinars, reduce the number of physical meetings. Travelling across the country in hours or across the world in a day is wonderful. However, it takes an unbelievable amount of jet fuel to get a plane up into the air. The environmental impact of aviation occurs because aircraft engines emit heat, noise, particulates and gases which contribute to climate change and global dimming. Despite emission reductions from cars, the rapid growth of air travel in the past years contributes to an increase in total pollution attributable to aviation.
- Even if we meet in other countries, consider what method of travel has the smallest impact, within our budget and time constraints. Use public transport to travel around the city, as this distributes the emissions generated by vehicles. Of course, cycling and walking are still most recommended for all kinds of transportation. For journeys below 4 hours, we’ll prioritise travel by train and local bus once at the destination.
- Book accommodation close to the meeting/training venue to reduce the use of transport and use Ecolabel tourist accommodation when possible.
MEETINGS AND TRAININGS
- If available, book sustainable catering services or choose a sustainable restaurant which reduces packaging and single-use plastic items. Buy products (e.g. tea and coffee) in bulk to reduce packaging.
- Avoid plastic cutlery, plates and glasses when possible. Switch bottled water by providing tap water in glass jugs. Make sure bins for separate collection (for recycling purposes) will be available.
- When possible, order the vegetarian menu, it reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
- Be careful to only print what is vital and reduce paper use (print on both sides and/or multiple pages per sheet). Strive to digitize the documentation. Not only is it a deforestation problem, but it also consumes a lot of energy and water.