Sustainability & international volunteering

What we do in our international network

As a member of the Alliance of European Voluntary Service Organizations, IBG has been active in the network's Environmental Sustainability Working Group (ESWG) since its start in 2012. The aim of the working group is to promote the issue of sustainability both within the network and among its affiliates, as well as to communicate it to others, and to inform and involve local project partners and volunteers. In 2017, the Alliance adopted a revised version of its Policy Paper on Sustainability, which illustrates the motivation, the understanding of sustainability and the main focuses of the network.

What we do as an organisation

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Our work aims to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which address the economic, social and environmental challenges of our planet. We strive to implement sustainability in our daily work:

Organisational work

IBG is part of the self-declaration of  Bergwaldprojekt on climate-friendly behavior! What does that mean? We want to do something about climate change and commit ourselves to the following three points in our daily work:    

  1. We renounce domestic flights and flights for travel up to 1,000 km.
  2. We minimize our energy consumption in the office and use power from 100% green electricity.
  3. We renounce meat from conventional, industrial production and use, as far as possible, only biological, seasonal and regional or fair food in our trainings and events.

Trainings & Travel reimbursements

Meals at our trainings and seminars are usually vegan. Why? Here you can find 8 reasons why we aim to eat less meat.

We do not reimburse travel costs for domestic flights and travel costs for cars only up to an amount of 150 Euros. For train bookings, we can reimburse you also for the costs of a CO2 offset.

Many volunteers travel medium or long distances to reach their workcamp. We recommend that all participants think about offsetting the CO2 emissions of their trip and choose the most environmentally friendly means of transport. Here you can calculate the CO2 emissions of your trip to the workcamp with different means of transport.

Traveling more sustainably doesn't just mean choosing environmentally friendly means of transport. It also means paying attention to social justice, respecting foreign cultures and keeping the negative impact of your trip on the environment as small as possible. Here are a few tips to make your trip as sustainable as possible.

In an international group in particular, it is often exciting to discuss the topic of sustainability and to get to know different approaches to solving the climate crisis from various regions of the world. We motivate all group leaders of our work camps to choose a motto for their camp. This means, for example, trying to do without plastic, reducing waste, buying fair coffee, etc. Read more about how to choose your camp's motto.

Meine Herzensangelegenheit ist es, die Natur als wichtigen Baustein zu betrachten: Ihre Einzigartigkeit lässt Menschen staunen, hat eine Schlüsselrolle bei Wohlfühlfaktoren der Menschen, dient als Grundlage vieler Ressourcen und ist endlich. Vor allem letzteres kann durch internationale Projekte wie bei IBG vermittelt werden und sensibilisiert Menschen, was angesichts der Klimakrise eine wichtige Grundlage für Diskussionen und lösungsorientierte, konstruktive Ansätze ist.

Amrei, Group Leader for IBG

Get involved!

You think the topic is important and want to get involved further? We are looking forward to your participation! You can support us in various ways:

Become an Eco-Messenger!
As an Eco-Messenger, you visit a work camp and give a small input on a topic of sustainability; for example, water, consumption, mobility, upcycling, etc. We will refund your travel costs and help you with the planning and implementation of your workshop!

Join our working group!
The IBG Nachhaltigkeits AG (Working Group Sustainability) was created in 2017 and deals with the question of how the organisation can continue to become more sustainable. You want to join us? Just contact Jannika!

More Info

Want to read more about sustainability? Here you will find some articles about how we practise sustainability in our workcamps, while travelling and with our daily office work.

Earth Day 2021: How environmental protection and our food are connected
Earth Day 2021: How environmental protection and our food are connected
International Earth Day is celebrated on April 22nd under the motto "Restore our Earth". Earth Day has been taking place at the end of April for 51 years. Environmental protection is important every day of the year. But April 22nd is used as a day of action to specifically point out a more environmentally conscious and sustainable way of life. This year, the actions under the motto...
World Water Day: What does water mean to you?
World Water Day: What does water mean to you?
How our drinking water is related to the climate crisis About two thirds of our planet is covered with water. However, only a fraction of it is fresh water and even less of it is so clean that it can be safely used as drinking water. Even if in Germany we mostly only notice in summer that there is too little water for agriculture, parks and gardens in many places - from a global...
#HugATreeDay: Why forests are important for all of us
#HugATreeDay: Why forests are important for all of us
Rainforest, coniferous or mixed forests - around 30% of the land area on our earth is covered by forests. But this area is getting smaller and smaller. Every year we lose 10 million hectares of forest worldwide - an area about the size of Iceland. Forests are crucial for our health and for climate protection. Forests provide us with a variety of raw materials that we use in paper, wood...
Join the Global Common Action Day for Climate Justice
Join the Global Common Action Day for Climate Justice
August 22nd, 2020 is "Earth Overshoot Day", the day of the year on which humanity as a whole has used up all of the sustainable resources of 2020. "Earth Overshoot Day" means that everything that we consume in ecological resources after this day is above what our earth can regenerate this year. This day should, of course, be at the end of every year or later, to keep our planet...
How to travel more sustainably
How to travel more sustainably
Within our network, the Alliance of European Voluntary Service Organizations, more than 20,000 volunteers travel to international work camps around the world every year. This exchange often has many positive effects on the volunteers, and also on the local communities and organisations which are involved in organising the projects.At the same time, participating in an international work...
Reducing waste - what can I do?
Reducing waste - what can I do?
Have you ever paid attention to what we throw away every day? On average, every person in Germany alone produces over 220kg of packaging waste per year. The resources for the production of plastic, paper, etc. are very limited. It uses large quantities of water and oil for the production of plastics. Often plastic waste also ends up in the environment, where it takes several decades to...
Moore wieder vernässen - aber warum?
Moore wieder vernässen - aber warum?
Umweltschutzarbeiten im Nationalpark Hunsrück-Hochwald Die Landschaft hier ist geprägt von riesigen Wäldern, steilen Hügeln, kleinen Bächen und Teichen, Felsen und Sümpfen. Nur kleine Weiler unterbrechen die Natur, eine perfekte Heimat für viele seltene Tier- und Pflanzenarten, aber auch eine tolle Gegend zum Wandern. Der Nationalpark Hunsrück-Hochwald wurde 2015 gegründet und...
8 Reasons for Eating Less Meat
8 Reasons for Eating Less Meat
If you've been to one of our trainings or seminars, you may have noticed that food at IBG events is mostly vegan. You wonder why? Here are 8 reasons why we want to consume less meat: 1. Deforestation of the rainforest Our diet has a greater impact on the global climate than you might think. In South America alone, 40 percent of the rainforest was cleared for pasture land and growing...
How to clean more eco-friendly
How to clean more eco-friendly
In Germany, we buy around 220,000 tons of household cleaning products and 260,000 tons of dishwashing detergent every year. But have you ever taken a closer look at what is actually in the detergents and cleaning products you have at home? Especially many of those 'strong' cleaning agents contain substances that can be harmful to our health and can pollute our wastewater with chemicals....

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