Over the last two years, a group of ESF secondary school students has worked together on an ambitious plan to help shape sustainability for ESF, focusing on areas including solar energy, waste reduction, biodiversity and clean air advocacy.
Despite the prolonged challenges posed by Covid-19, Ankita Joshi and Taylor Chung (both Year 13) of ESF Renaissance College (RCHK), as well as Zareen Tasnim and Ernest Yip (both Year 12) of ESF King George V School (KGV), launched numerous projects across the school network as well as continuing with their studies.
Their efforts were not only recognised by the ESF community, but also led to the four students being put forward for the prestigious CLP Smart Energy Awards in late 2020.
One of the main projects was a large-scale solar panel network across eight ESF schools that provides the equivalent electricity needs for 110 four-person households in Hong Kong and reduces almost 280 tonnes of carbon emissions.
Other initiatives included increasing the biodiversity of plant species in the KGV campus, installing tetra-pak recycling bins, the establishment of a Clean Air Committee at Island School and reducing food waste with ESF’s school food caterer, Chartwells, at RCHK.
Several of ESF’s existing sustainability teams were closely involved in the project and offered guidance and resources for the students.
“While regular teaching and learning in all of our schools had to adapt to changing circumstances, the scheduled work on sustainability by students and staff members also faced uncertain interruptions and logistical challenges,” said Kenneth Tam, ESF’s Health & Safety and Sustainability Manager.
“Against all odds, our students were still able to take steps to implement the strategy by bringing actions to reality. Sustainability typically encompasses the concept of the “Triple Bottom Line” – environment, social and economic considerations. For ESF, as a world leading institution, we are well aware of our “Fourth Bottom Line” – the education of our students; to inspire and let them be the best they can be.”
At the CLP Smart Energy Awards ceremony on Friday, 9 July 2021, several of ESF’S management team came together to congratulate the students.
“It is vital for students to be at the forefront of driving sustainability as they are the generations who will inherit the planet and its numerous environmental challenges,” said Stewart Redden, ESF’s Learning and Teaching Advisor.
“It was a natural step for our students to be responsible for developing the organisation’s sustainability strategy and remain accountable for its Annual Review. The strategy serves as the framework for each school to develop their own sustainability targets while drawing on the expertise and experience of the whole organisation. It is through this agency that ESF students have developed the capacity and agility to make a difference,” he added.
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In the photo from left to right: Ernest Yip, Ankita Joshi, ESF CEO Belinda Greer, Zareen Tasnim and Taylor Chung