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Sustainable practices to become an increasing priority for K-12 schools and universities

Sustainability is emerging as an increasing priority for K-12 and higher education schools, says Futuresource Consulting’s latest report on the education technology sector. Despite numerous barriers to adoption, several factors are planting the seeds for more pro-green initiatives within education. Governmental investments in net-zero programs, more sustainable products from OEMs, and the increasingly loud concerns of students over climate change are encouraging sustainable measures to take root in the US and Europe.  

The firm’s latest report reviews sustainability initiatives across the education sector and estimates the potential for increasing the number of sustainable devices in education. 

Government-backed frameworks enable wider adoption 

“Environmental initiatives have been previously regarded as a ‘nice to have’ for schools, mainly being used to satisfy green legislation. This won’t be the case going forward,” says Iryna Kazanchuk, Lead Analyst, Futuresource Consulting. 

“One of the key factors enabling wider adoption is the roll-out of government-backed frameworks. Our end-user research has found that currently, the commitment to sustainability varies significantly across schools and universities, but government initiatives are helping to close these gaps,” says Kazanchuk. 

The drive towards greener practices will spread across the supply chain. The IT tools used within education are also set to become more sustainable as OEMs strive to reduce e-waste and offer greener solutions to the industry. 

Education providers prioritise green devices 

Schools and universities are both showing intent to adopt green initiatives, with sustainable devices being a purchasing priority for almost all of the K-12 schools and universities surveyed.  

“It's great to see both sectors agree on the need for more sustainability. However, universities are currently further along in the adoption of green initiatives, benefiting from greater expertise and more capacity to invest. While K-12 schools are making efforts to introduce measures where possible, they’re also wrestling with tighter budgets, which is prolonging the adoption,” says Kazanchuk.  

Maximising the lifespan of devices is a core priority 

As well as expanding investments, the issue of e-waste will also become a consideration for schools and universities. However, this is commonly driven by a need to increase the life span of IT hardware to help keep budgets down, creating the dual effect of achieving sustainability goals. 

While there are clear differences between the way schools and universities approach sustainable technology, both sectors share a unified approach to devices reaching the end of their life cycle. Recycling devices or selling them for refurbishment is popular, whereas repurposing devices among the student population is uncommon.  

“While the majority of the sustainability initiatives are taking place in US and European educational institutions, we hope to see these trends take hold globally. Most stakeholders in education realise the urgency of adopting sustainable practices, and with government involvement increasing, sustainability in education will undoubtedly receive a sharper focus in the coming years,” says Kazanchuk. 

For more information on Futuresource’s Sustainability in Education report, please get in touch with 

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About the author

Iryna Kazanchuk

Olivia Lowden

About the author

Olivia Lowden

Olivia Lowden is responsible for the long-form content, press, and partnerships at Futuresource. Prior to her career at Futuresource, she completed an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, demonstrative of her lifelong love of words.

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