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Lower School students looking at flowers in the garden

A Culture of Sustainability

At ZIS we are committed to educating our students and community for a sustainable future.

Sustainable Perspectives

Emily, Grade 12

I want to change the world – and school is a great place to start! That’s why I’m very happy that ZIS is not just installing solar panels but also promoting what it’s doing to the whole school community. Exposure to renewable energy technologies encourages us students to think differently – and talk about our thoughts with our families and friends. That means solar gets more exposure, which in turn attracts more attention. It’s a perfect domino effect. 

Read More about Emily, Grade 12
Ishan, Grade 10

I think it’s great that ZIS is not just installing solar panels but getting us students involved, too. Our Beyond the Classroom initiative, for example, had us building and installing our own solar panels, then tracking the data they produced. It’s so important to engage students: after all, we’re the ones who are thinking about the future and the bigger picture.

Read More about Ishan, Grade 10
Aisha Zidouhia, ZIS Parent

In today’s digital age – where children often spend a significant amount of time on their phones and tablets– I think it’s crucial to foster their critical thinking and teamwork skills. That’s why, as a parent of a six-year-old and a 12-year-old who tries to foster these skills in my children daily, I’m supporting the campaign to raise money for solar panels at ZIS, because it actively promotes both these qualities.

Read More about Aysegul E. Zidouhia, Parent
Julian Meitanis Class of 2000 (1995-2000)

I’m proud to support ZIS’s solar panels – it means the school is taking steps in the right direction. I think about this a lot, because my job is guiding companies to do exactly what ZIS is doing – integrating renewable energy systems into their existing systems and decarbonising their operations. How can they do this? What might be the impacts, and how should they deal with those? 

Read More about Julian Meitanis, Class of 2000 (1995-2000), Director of Corporate Sustainability at KPMG
Image of student drawing a green circle

Academically, sustainability is integrated into our curriculum allowing us to deepen and broaden students’ skill sets. 

That includes designing additional course offerings that focus on sustainability issues and redesigning existing courses that allows us to understand topics from a more diverse, thoughtful perspective.

Lower School student sitting on the Village Liner bus reading a book.

Operationally, it means assessing our current practices from where we source the energy to cool and heat our buildings, transportation systems, how we purchase and consume resources, and our relationship to our local community.

That allows us to re-think traditional approaches to improve our impact on the world.

ZIS Lower School boy in the Edible Food Forest growing tomato plants.

At Zurich International School, sustainability is the practice of meeting the needs of the present generation while assuring the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

It considers environmental, social, and economic factors to ensure our students, our communities, and our school can thrive now and in the future.

Our Vision for 2030

ZIS Lower School students getting onto the ZIS Village Liner bus service.

Shaking up transport – both to and from ZIS and for school activities and trips – is a big part of ZIS’s journey to sustainability. By 2030, ZIS plans to reduce carbon emitted on the school commute by 66 per cent. This will be achieved with a raft of new measures, including a carpooling system, charging points at school, incentivising public transport for the school’s employees, and, crucially, increasing the number of students who travel by public and school transport. And that’s happening right now with the Village Liner service.

Read More about The ZIS Village Liner offers safe and sustainable school transport – a very positive step in the right direction
Two Lower School students holding a bucket together whilst working in the Edible Food Forest

The Lower School food forest – Switzerland’s first – opened in October 2021, funded entirely by donations to the Annual Fund. It’s a beautiful, largely self-sustaining garden with more than 100 different, mostly edible, trees, bushes, ground cover plants and vines, many of which are wild varieties of familiar foods such as kale, garlic, onion and mint. And it’s a far cry from its humble origins.

Read More about Help us grow sustainable minds in the Lower School's edible forest
ZIS Lower School covering soil around the edge of her plant in the Food Forest
Group of ZIS Grade 5 students checking the aroma of a plant
ZIS Lower School boy adding his plant to the food forest
Lower School girl digging in the soil with a small pick
Two Lower School girls untangling the roots of their plants for the food forest
Early Childhood girl pressing soil down around her plant
Group of Grade 2 students in a group watching how to work with plants
Two Early childhood students crouching down next to their plants in the food forest
Two Early Childhood students looking at a work on a garden tool, one laughing and pointing