We are part of a sector that revolves around travel and thereby generates substantial carbon emissions. This fact makes it particularly critical to be intentional about our sustainability efforts, focusing on the capabilities of DIS as a Scandinavia-based, non-profit study abroad organization, to make the most meaningful impact we can.
A Strong Scandinavian Foothold
Sustainable development, and particularly the climate crisis, is the key global challenge of the 21st century. Tackling the crisis requires acknowledgement of the global equity and fairness dimensions of climate change and fundamentally rethinking energy infrastructure, transportation, agriculture, industrial production – and consumption. The Nordic region has consistently ranked high on sustainability achievements globally, making it a unique place to learn about transformations for sustainability (see for example the Sustainable Development Report 2022).
Working Towards a More Sustainable Future
Our ambition for a more sustainable future is threefold:
Reducing our Carbon Footprint: 2025 Reduction Target
The vast majority of emissions caused by DIS activities stem from study tours and staff travel. We have set a target to reduce emissions from study tours by 10% in 2025 by using less carbon emitting transport when possible, and are committed to compensate for the emissions caused by study tours and staff travel through impactful climate investments starting 2025.
Enhancing our Carbon Handprint: Preparing Students for a Carbon-Constrained World
Our biggest opportunity to positively impact the climate and environment is through the minds and actions of our students.
DIS offers students a strong curriculum on climate, environment, and related topics, and a unique opportunity to experience sustainable infrastructure and lifestyles in Scandinavia. We also want to support students in making sustainable choices outside the classroom, like using a bike for their local commute, embracing a green lifestyle in DIS housing, and finding alternatives to flying for independent travel.
Collaborating with Peers: Accelerate the Field’s Response to the Climate Crisis
In collaboration with peers, DIS was part of the work group to develop guidelines for Advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals through Education Abroad. DIS has also joined the Climate Action Network for International Educators – CANIE, in recognition of the need to strengthen and accelerate the response of our sector to the climate crisis.
Executive Director of DIS, Malene Torp talks about the sustainability pillars of DIS with faculty member Emmanuel Gentil, who teaches courses on sustainability and renewable energy systems.
Creating a Carbon Literate Institution
Carbon Literacy is the knowledge and capacity required to create a positive shift in how we live, work, and behave in response to climate change. All DIS staff participate in a one day Carbon Literacy Training, to gain the inspiration and dedicated time to identify actions that contribute to our goal of being carbon neutral and to strengthen students’ awareness and skillset for more sustainable lifestyles.
Courses Focusing on Climate and Sustainability
The DIS curriculum captures many different aspects of climate and sustainability. These are some of the courses we offer: