As part of our commitment to sustainability, we have recently published our inaugural Sustainability Report for 2023. Jamie Delaney, our Head of ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) and Group Ethics and Compliance Officer, shares her thoughts on the different types of sustainability, why sustainability is important, and the link to our sustainability strategy.

Sustainability. What does that word mean to each of us? Perhaps we think of the environment in terms of creating a sustainable future by switching to or using more, renewable energy, or recycling. This kind of sustainability is important but is only a part of what sustainability can mean.

In 1987, the United Nations defined sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. So, what does that mean for Cognita? We know we have an impact on our environment, our students and parents, our colleagues, and our wider communities. We are a people-focused organisation, and so we are inherently invested in creating brighter futures. We cannot know if we are compromising the ability of future generations unless we consider and measure our ongoing impact on the world.

Let us consider a few types of sustainability and why each of these is important, not only to the world but also to us at Cognita.

Environmental sustainability

We know environmental sustainability is a key concern for society, and certainly for our students, parents, and colleagues. Our students are more aware, and passionate, about our environmental impact than any generation before. Everyone has a role to play in protecting our environment. This is why one of our sustainability priority areas is Sustainable Learning Environments. We are eager to do our part and involve our students and colleagues in creating action plans that will make a difference on their own, and their schools’, consumption in terms of energy, water, waste, and so much more. As part of our commitment to deliver a holistic education to all of our students, we are equally eager to educate them about sustainability so that they will have a positive impact on the environment beyond their classroom.

Social sustainability

Social sustainability is about investing in people, and that is the core of how we operate hence why another of our sustainability priority areas is to support Fair & Sustainable Workplaces. Our colleagues are our enablers for enacting and supporting change and having a positive impact on our environment and students. We trust our colleagues to support our schools and teach our students to the best of their ability. This is why it is integral that we attract and retain the best talent. How do we do that? By creating a sustainable social environment where our colleagues feel like they belong, and they are valued.

Human sustainability

This type of sustainability is a broad area, but essentially is tied to improving human outcomes by having better health, education, and equity. We strive to be a responsible member of society, and we provide a particularly important service: education. We know we have an incredible opportunity to positively impact the education of our students, but also other children across the globe. This drive falls under one of our sustainability priority areas, Impacting Global Education. We want to reach beyond our Cognita borders and boldly increase the quality of education globally.

The role of our students

At Cognita, we are responsible for educating, nurturing, and empowering the next generation of leaders. We are accountable for creating a sustainable future for them, so that they can thrive. We have the unique opportunity to equip them with the tools they need to take on our world’s challenges and strive for a better future for themselves and for generations to come. We want to invoke passion in all types of sustainability, and we want to empower leadership. These goals are part of our sustainability priority area, Nurturing Responsible Learners. This is integrally linked with our global purpose: to enable our students to thrive in a rapidly evolving world.

Our strategy

All these areas of sustainability are incredibly important. Fortunately, there is so much interest in sustainability across our community. We ask ourselves, how can we make a positive impact on our own Cognita community, but also on other communities?

Today marks the first step in our journey to answer that question with the publication of our inaugural Sustainability Report, which introduces our sustainability strategy, including the priority areas mentioned above. Our schools already embark on so many amazing initiatives in this area. The purpose of our sustainability strategy is to shine a light on these initiatives and build upon them to form a conscious, intentional, and Cognita-led strategy with the goal of having a measurable impact on the environment, our students, our colleagues, our parents, and our wider communities.

Our inaugural Sustainability Report

We are proud of this first Sustainability Report, and we are eager to continue to report on our activities and create ambitious goals.

Read the full Sustainability Report here. If you have any questions or comments, please do contact us at