Successful CSR Policies Empower Customers to Share the Responsibility, Says Language Industry Leader ESL as it Launches a Self-Assessment Tool for Partner Schools

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Education and development sectors are areas in which CSR flourishes, so it makes sense that they lead by example and share their findings.

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As a company, ESL is passionate about CSR. We’ve recently developed our own CSR self-assessment tool especially for our partner schools, because their approach to sustainability matters to us and our customers.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is turning into a bit of a buzz-phrase. The attempt to get brands and businesses to incorporate ethics and sustainability into their businesses models has been more successful in some industries than others. The education, development and charitable sectors, with their emphasis on learning, respect and helping others, are areas in which CSR has flourished. So it makes sense, says Alex Wolfson, UK Regional Manager for ESL Language Travel (, that language providers should lead by example and share their findings about what consumers want.

“As a company, ESL is passionate about CSR. As well as signing up to the myClimate partnership and offering our staff the best training and development opportunities available, we’ve recently developed our own CSR self-assessment tool especially for our partner schools. Based on three key factors, schools are able to assess their current approach to CSR, develop action plans and spread awareness of sustainable values. Their approach to sustainability matters to us and to our customers. We want potential students to be able to see information about a school’s sustainability credentials in the same way they can see information about its location or services, and then they can make a decision based on all the factors that are important to them.”

Part of ESL’s approach is to encourage students to make positive decisions about CSR too. “Of course, travelling to learn a language has some environmental impact, which is why we give students the opportunity to compensate for their greenhouse gas emissions via myClimate. For students who want to bridge the gap between locals and tourists, and make some kind of personal commitment to the country they’re visiting, we also offer volunteer work placements in communities throughout North and South America, India and Russia. Working with native speakers towards a common goal means you are really putting the phrase ‘social responsibility’ into action.”

Volunteers can choose the project that best suits their skills and interests, whether that’s sport, conservation, education, health or social care. “While many companies and businesses pay lip service to CSR, policies are often hard to put into practice against pressing issues such as profitability and competitiveness,” said Alex. “Our example to them is two-fold. First, we prove that you can take CSR seriously and still be the best at what you do. Second, we allow our customers, as individuals, to take some responsibility for CSR – because many of them tell us that it is important to them. My advice to other companies is: listen to your customers when they say they care. It can be a really positive experience for everyone involved.”

About ESL:
ESL offers language courses in over 220 200 locations around the world. From English courses in London (or Malta, or the Philippines!) to Mandarin courses in China, ESL’s award-winning team can assist with everything from accommodation and flights language level assessment to visa applications and course enrolment.

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Maëlle De Bernardini
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