Our organisation acts to ensure a positive relationship between its work and the world it seeks to sustain, to enable sustainable action by and resilience within local communities and partners, and to support volunteer roles that take account of their impact on the natural world and minimise any negative impact. 


8.1 Our programmes and projects are based on an analysis of the challenge of ecological sustainability and are tested at design and review stages for their impact on ecological sustainability.

Suggested evidence (some evidence is mandatory) – Copies of/extracts or screenshots from/links to:


  • Evidence under 8.1 to be developed in 2019/2020 

8.2 Our processes and manner of operating are planned and implemented to take account of their impact on the natural world and minimise any negative impact.

Suggested evidence (some evidence is mandatory) – Copies of/extracts or screenshots from/links to:


§  Records/certificates of participation of VSA personnel attending workshops, conferences, events, trainings on ecological sustainability issues and the circular economy;

§  Participation of VSAs and or local partners in “Eco” awards such as The ECO-Sustainability Awards, Green Awards, or equivalent overseas;

§  Participation of VSA personnel in working groups on ecological sustainability;

§  Inputs on ecological sustainability an integral part of development education programme with a clear focus on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);

§  Inputs in pre-departure training on potential impact of volunteering and how to mitigate negative impact including, e.g., flights and other travel, travelling light in terms of baggage, water and energy use, use of plastics, sharing of resources, leave no trace principles, and ethical options for further travel and leisure activities;

§  Ecological sustainability initiatives with volunteers prior to, during placement and on return;

§  Volunteer handbook/policy that commits volunteers to act in a sustainable manner when overseas with regard to water, energy, food, buying of products etc;

§  Workshops with returned volunteers to share eco-tips learnt overseas and supports to encourage them to become ecological sustainability advocates;

§  Workshops with local partners on ecological sustainability issues and integration of learning from local partners into operational policies etc of VSAs;

§  Support for/participation in activist groups, advocacy networks, strategies or campaigns on ecological sustainability issues and the SDGs;

§  Waste reduction, energy saving and pollution prevention measures and policies in Ireland and overseas including:


        Use of Fairtrade and environmental friendly products including tea/coffee, cleaning products, bathroom and tissue products, stationary and marketing materials;

        Water efficient toilets;

        Energy saving initiatives including timed thermostats, turning off unused lights and equipment;

        Paper and packaging recycling; paper and print reduction (printing double sided, paperless office practices);

        No to plastic: cups, access to refill for water bottles, support for Conscious Cups campaigns;

        Vegan/vegetarian/locally sourced and sustainable food for catering at events;

        Composting facilities;

        Herbs and plants in the office and meeting spaces;

        Overseas accommodation to include water harvesting.

  • Travel measures and policies to reduce and mitigate negative impact of travel in Ireland and overseas including:

        Video conferencing for meetings in Ireland and with overseas partners;

        Commuting: by foot, use of public transport, carpooling, bike to work schemes and workplace accommodation for cyclists, travel expenses policy to include expenses for public transport and cycling;

        Remote /e-working policies for staff and volunteers;

        Flights: use of carbon calculations and development of VSA carbon budget for the year, consideration of greener ways to travel (bus, electric car, train), minutes of review of need to fly and consideration as to whether there is someone locally based that can do the work, carbon offsetting; 

  • Procurement policies which stipulate for Ireland and overseas operations:

        The use of locally sourced, ethical and sustainably grown and produced materials and food for infrastructure, projects, catering, trainings in Ireland and overseas which support local economies;

        No to plastic and if using marketing materials (t-shirts etc) goods used should be ethically sourced;

        Use of reusable bottles, filters, chlorine tablets and water tanks for overseas operations;  

  • Development/support for the use of sustainable and ethical initiatives in Ireland and overseas including:

        Sustainable water and energy initiatives;

        Renewable and recycling processes, up-cycling initiatives;

        Ethical banking products.

  • Records/certificates of attendance of VSA and/or local partner personnel in health and well-being programmes including self-care and building resilience programmes.


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Sustainable Toolkits and Resources:

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