Six years ago, the United Nations set out 17 ambitious sustainable development goals (SDGs) to be completed by 2030. With 169 targets covering education, employment, gender equality, climate action and many other areas, they have set out a plan to transform our planet and our society for the better. Achieving them, however, requires a huge, concerted effort from governments and organizations and citizens all around the world.
The past year has disrupted virtually every facet of our lives – both personal and professional. And the pandemic has also magnified global inequalities, spurring leaders, activists and organizations to work even harder to address these challenges.
Pearson’s purpose is to help everyone achieve their potential through learning, and we have been deeply committed to sustainability and social responsibility long before the covid-19 pandemic. Our recently published Sustainable Business Plan 2030 has three key priorities:
- Learning for everyone: reducing barriers and measurably increasing equity
- Learning for a better world: leading the transformation to build the skills to impact society and the planet
- Leading responsibly: creating a culture and running a business that prioritises how we improve our impact on climate change and human rights
We primarily focus on UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): 4 (quality education), 8 (decent work), and 10 (reducing inequality).
Launching Speak out for Sustainability with BBC Studios
As part of our plan, we are proud to introduce Speak Out for Sustainability, a new initiative from Pearson English and BBC Studios. The recent launch, on World Earth Day (April 22, 2021), was an important moment for both organizations, as we reaffirm our commitment to helping learners and educators around the world communicate, collaborate, and take action for a better world. Developing sustainability content and equipping educators to teach it are key targets in our 2030 plan.
What educators can expect
Speak out for Sustainability will include ongoing virtual events and discussions that blend Pearson learning materials with BBC Studios content. It will provide English language learners the tools and resources they need to speak out for a better, more sustainable world.
Content focuses on key issues such as carbon footprint reduction, water waste, deforestation, and more. Moreover, educators and learners can access ready-to-use English language resources based on these themes and engage with ongoing conversations across digital channels.
Our partnership with BBC Studios goes all the way back to 2005. Throughout this collaboration, we have worked together to produce engaging content for English language learners to stimulate discussions and learn new concepts. Educators play a critical role in guiding, shaping and supporting students of all ages, who in turn will collectively drive the change so critically required to address the existential threats of the climate crisis.
Conversation driving positive change
So why this project and why now?
Through education, we have one of the biggest opportunities: planting the seeds that shape the future. As an education company, we have the chance to go beyond our operational impact on people and the planet and bring about change through our products and services. Through education, people are exposed to new ideas, develop opinions, take part in discussions, and take actions that shape their lives. This benefits both society and our business.
Communication can change the world. Speak Out for Sustainability offers learners and educators the opportunity to participate in a worldwide conversation, in a project designed to raise awareness, facilitate dialogue, and inspire action on sustainability.
Those who take part will come to understand that sustainability embodies far more than just climate action. As the SDGs demonstrate, sustainability requires a systematic, holistic approach. This means examining processes relating to people, products and the planet.
No option but to act
We’ve arrived at a tipping point. As a society, we’re facing enormous challenges; from inequality in education and civil unrest to the pandemic and climate crisis.
We have a powerful responsibility in English Language Learning to reflect on our own practices, take the necessary, sustainable actions, and empower others to do the same. By embedding sustainability across our business, we are working towards a world of opportunity, where every person on the planet has access to quality education and lifelong learning that empowers them to improve their own lives, their communities and the planet.
For more information and to participate in Speak Out for Sustainability, visit our dedicated website.