Shadow of a tree at the National Botanic Garden of Wales

The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide.

To deliver the best in cultural relations we focus on programmes in three core areas:

  • Education and Society
  • English
  • The Arts

Our business operations and activities have an impact on the environment. We are deeply concerned about the impact of climate change, and the over-consumption of natural resources, on prosperity, social justice and quality of life. In line with our corporate values and those of our partners, we commit to minimising our environmental impact while inspiring and supporting positive change in the way people view and interact with the natural world. 

Our Environmental Management System (EMS) first achieved ISO14001 across the UK estate in March 2011. Our environmental management plan sets targets for reducing our carbon footprint. We use this data to report to government. By 2012–13 we reduced our UK carbon emissions by 30 per cent against the baseline year of 2009–10. 

We use our Environmental Framework Tool (EFT) to manage our environmental impact across our network of over 100 countries.

We commit to minimising our environmental impact by:

  • understanding and measuring the environmental impacts arising from our activities
  • ensuring we comply with all relevant environmental legislation
  • setting environmental objectives and targets for activities with significant impact, mindful of the aspirations of our partners 
  • ensuring this policy is understood and implemented by everyone in the organisation and is supported by appropriate training for all staff 
  • communicating our progress in reducing our environmental impact to internal and external stakeholders and partners
  • reviewing and maintaining this policy to reflect changes in the organisation, government targets or significant external factors.

Our current focus is:

  • to ensure the growth of our organisation is sustainable and that the environmental impacts of our work are assessed alongside social and economic considerations
  • to reduce our consumption of energy and water, and the resulting carbon emissions
  • to reduce waste by embedding the waste hierarchy of ‘reduce, re-use and recycle’
  • to choose sustainable options when procuring goods and services
  • to monitor and reduce the environmental impact of our business travel and explore innovative mechanisms to continue to deliver our cultural relations work effectively
  • to use our creative skills and strengths as a global organisation to promote sustainability by engaging with the climate change agenda and incorporating sustainable development themes across our portfolio of activity.