Green is the New Black: Integrating Environmental Sustainability with K12 Education

Environmental Sustainability is no more a luxury to be discussed over a glass of wine in air-conditioned living rooms. The fallout of global warming, poisonous haze that engulfs our cities, the diminishing fresh water per capita, the greenhouse effect of modern-day tools of convenience is something we witness as part of our daily lives.

Like the wise men say, “Course correction needs fundamental changes at the very root”. At Crimson we are fortunate to be working with children who define the very root of change that we want to be. It is therefore our endeavour to convert our “learnings” into “experiential teachings” as we embark on a journey from Healthy Bottomline in our Education business to a Sustainable Bottomline. Yes, we are embarking on path and to us, “Green is the new Black”

Often, new initiatives are met with cynicism because they tend to challenge comfort zones. The most well-intentioned ideas do not see the light of day, sacrificed to alters of lazy questions like, “It will hurt the bottomline!”, “The payback period may not work with the investors!”, “It is not value accretive!” the list goes on.

However, a deeper look with the integrity of intention often leads to surprises and we have witnessed them as we embark on key environmental goals for our Crimson Ecosystem.

To start with, we are acutely cognizant of the fact that any action that does not involve our most important stakeholder, our students would be valiant yet short lived. Hence whatever initiatives that we embark on, the intention always is to make them experiential for our students so they can carry the torch far and wide and multiply the effect manifold in the future. Yes! Our most important task here is to create positive thinking, well meaning “Eco Warriors” by integrating our ESG related work into our curriculum. This will help make each Crimson Knight a thought leader in this domain and use our fledgling initiatives that he/she experiences every day they come to the school as springboards to take the light far and wide.

“Giving is the new Taking”

We are using this mantra as we think off Greening all our school buildings. The efforts start from as small an initiative as changing all light sources to LED so they consume less electricity, to designing buildings with natural light and ventilation; from using plants in the indoors and outdoors and implementing “Organic Farming” as part of curriculum, to utilizing and recycling water; from storm water harvesting to generating our own renewable electricity… the list continues to grow. What is more satisfying is that the net impact of these initiatives is accretive to the bottom-line as well… Yes, Black is the colour of profits in financial parlance, but the Green only adds to this while laying the seeds of change where it mattes the most, in the young hearts and minds that will inherit the world from us. Our mission is to make our schools Net Zero… meaning they will not take water, food & electricity from the grid but add to it and that too, by using sustainable and renewable sources.

Our Buses as Change Agents

School buses with their quintessential yellow are the major source of red when it comes to environment. The fossil fuel guzzling fleet often is taken as a necessary evil and forgotten. We are on a mission… to move away from fossil fuels for our buses and move to “Electric”. In addition, we will equip all our schools with charging stations not just for our fleet but for community use as well and the icing on the cake, “Our electricity will come from our own solar rooftops and not the grid”

From the big picture to the small consumable

I have often seen environmentally friendly packages arriving nicely packed in single use plastics…the irony is not lost on us. While we endeavor to make our buildings green and focus on conserving or generating our own resources… we continue to keep our focus on those consumables that our students use as well. Right from the uniforms to the shoes, from water bottles to the bags, from the books to the stationery… we will be constantly on the lookout for environmentally sustainable materials and innovative products while working frugally to ensure re-usability to the largest extent possible.

We are “All In” and we will paint the town “GREEN”