“Schools Set for Carbon Zero” is the latest tagline flooding the education system when it comes to how teaching bodies can have a positive effect on the environment.
The ‘Let’s Go Zero’ campaign reaches far beyond the school gates; it calls upon teachers, students, governors, and parents to get involved, arming them with the knowledge on the sorts of changes they can make to help hit the government’s 2030 carbon-zero target.
There are over 32,000 schools in the UK which together create a significant volume of emissions between them. On the plus side however, these schools are also home to some 8.9 million of the country’s most inquisitive and influential minds. With the right education delivered via this campaign, today’s youth will be taught how to create a maintainable future, live sustainably, and seek more enduring jobs.
What is a carbon-zero school?
‘Let’s Go Zero’ defines a carbon-zero school as: “A school that, on its site and through all its activities and procurement, does not contribute to climate change through carbon emissions. Key impact areas include energy use, travel, waste, water, procurement, food and school grounds.”
As institutions of responsibility, it is likely these venues already are mindful of efficient energy sources, a sensible approach to school travel, reducing waste and water usage, efficiently maintaining the school grounds, and how they use and dispose of food, if only from a budgetary perspective.
The government defines sustainable procurement as not being purely about buying ‘green’ products, but it also considers the positive consequences of planning ahead to manage demand, effective ongoing contract management, and dealing with supply chain risks and impacts.
Procuring the Future is The National Action Plan created by the government to help determine true progress when it comes to sustainable procurement. This plan goes on to state that sustainable procurement “achieves value for money on a whole life basis in terms of generation benefits not only to the organisation, but also to society while minimising damage to the environment.”
Chris Howes, Group Chief Digital and Information Officer for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs highlighted in our recent event, ‘Sustainable Tech; The Future Reimagined’, the further benefits of sustainable procurement:
“Usually there’s very much a hand in hand twin benefit of being able to protect the environment and increase our sustainability contribution… and reducing our costs.”
Schools’ demand for sustainable and reliable computer technology is on the increase, as technology continues to further ingrain itself in our ecosystem; from staff requirements to computers capable of withstanding the most inquisitive minds throughout lessons. This is not to mention a further requirement for laptops for less fortunate children who do not have the means to obtain progressive technology to fulfil their homework needs.
But questions such as “how easy is it for schools to acquire the right technology?” and “what are the issues when it comes to public procurement?” have arisen with the government’s action plan. More specifically what are the constraints schools face when it comes to purchasing?
Firstly, schools are spending money from the public purse, so there are guidelines and regulations around how this has to be done. Schools are encouraged to use a framework tool where possible, to ensure they are selecting suppliers who are providing goods of a high quality, comply with the law and meet the right specifications.
Alternatively, schools can put out a request for bids, or quotes, but there is no guarantee of the afore mentioned benefits of buying through a framework if the buyer chooses to go out to the wider market.
Another significant issue around procurement for schools of course, is budget. Schools run to a tight budget, and are responsible for ensuring they are getting the best deals when they spend school funds. Lastly, schools are seeking to align with government sustainability agendas, therefore are looking for long-term, eco-friendly solutions.
Therefore, Circular Computing™ have proudly worked together with the government to get ourselves on the map – or at least in the framework – when it comes to businesses that are charged with spending public funds.
What has really allowed Circular Computing to get noticed in this competitive public procurement environment, is two key benefits:
- We can guarantee the quality of our products with the BSI Kitemark™ – a mark of trust, which states that all products are ‘better than new or as new.’
- Due to the unique laptop remanufacturing process, Circular Computing re-use the existing laptop parts, allowing us to produce truly sustainable laptops, ticking the sustainability box loud and clear!
Because we re-use the original components, our laptops on average cost 40% less than the ‘new’ equivalent. To crown this solution, our customers have stated they have managed to source laptops with better specifications than they could have had, if buying through the traditional new route.
Mordaunt said “governments around the world can’t do this by themselves […] if we have a clear vision, if we’ve got some really clear ambitions, we should be able to achieve them, but only if we ensure that all sectors are working together around that clear vision, and it is supported by government.”
Visit our Education page to learn more about how Circular Computing can help your school reach its sustainability goals for 2030.