In the office we make every effort to be as environmentally friendly as possible. All paper and
other products are recycled or re-used. Our headed paper is made from 100% re-cycled paper and our
brochure is printed on paper made from fifty percent recycled fibre and fifty percent fibre from
certified sustainable forests. We only print emails where absolutely necessary. This year sees the
completion of our new office building. This building has a minimal carbon footprint because all the
electricity and heating is created renewably. This is done through a ground source heat pump and
photovoltaic cells in the window glass.
With the signs of climate change it is important to consider the carbon impact of volunteers flying
across the world to work on their projects. Outreach International has innovative methods to insure
that despite the emissions from flights it remains a carbon neutral company.
For every person volunteering abroad with us we plant at least three oak trees in the UK. To date
we have sent nearly two thousand volunteers abroad and have a woodland of over 6000 trees overlooking
our Somerset office. We also plant trees with our sister scheme in Ecuador. These are planted by the
local community together with volunteers. Return flights from London to Quito generate approximately
six tonnes of greenhouse gases. One tree will offset 0.9 tonnes; therefore for each volunteer we plant
at least 7 trees in Ecuador.
In addition to the sequestration of carbon dioxide the planting of these trees in Ecuador helps to
re-establish lost habitats and helps to recuperate lost water sources. This year we planted trees in
the UK on a larger scale and it formed part of the BBC's National Tree Week, Guinness world record
attempt to plant the most trees in one hour.
All staff travel abroad is kept to a minimum, however where it is necessary trees are planted for
their flights as well. In the UK, staff are encouraged to cycle or walk to the office. Please view our
most recent costs breakdown pie chart on our costs page. It can be seen that we spent three percent of
our annual expenditure on our carbon neutral scheme. It also illustrates that 4 percent of our
expenditure is donations to our projects; these are all supporting the local community and/or the
Green Environmental Projects
Many of our volunteer opportunities are working on projects which support the environment. In the
Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest volunteers spend time involved in reforestation, small scale organic
farming, and helping to combat illegal logging and deforestation. The project has created a botanical
garden to raise money for the local community and alleviate the need to make a living from
deforestation. The project also researches how the deforested soil can be made more fertile to prevent
the need for continual deforestation. Volunteers Chloe Seddon and Emma Crump used funds from Outreach
International to build a new worming area for this project.
We also work with an ecological farm promoting sustainable agricultural methods in Costa Rica. Our
volunteers on this project can help with initiatives to combat soil erosion. In the Galapagos Islands
we send volunteers on a habitat conservation project removing non-native plant species from the
Island. In addition to the above mentioned projects we are involved with turtle conservation in
Mexico, Sri Lanka and Costa Rica. Alex Watts, a 21 year old volunteer on the turtle project in Mexico
"As soon as you see your first turtle, or catch a glimpse of a poacher running
to hide from you, you realise just how beneficial your work is to the environment."
The support we provide to these environmental projects, and others, is invaluable and it also
serves to raise the awareness of environmental issues in these countries.
David Watts. Gap Year. Turtle conservation. Costa Rica