Sustainable development , ESL CSR Self-assessment tool
Sustainable development

ESL CSR Self-assessment tool

ESL CSR Self-assessment tool

ESL CSR Self-assessment tool

Using our own experiences in the field of CSR and with strategic support from the consultancy firm ECO2 Initiative, we have developed a CSR self-assessment tool especially for language schools. Based on the ISO 26000 norm and validated by a consulting committee of renowned language schools, our tool helps schools evaluate the degree of maturity of their current approach to CSR issues. It then assists the schools with developing their own action plans according to their local circumstances, based on three key fields of action: 
 
  • Management & Operations
  • Education
  • Community
The results of the implementation process of CSR actions will be featured under the schools’ descriptions on our website, in order to spread awareness of sustainable values and stimulate further action. Our partner schools are part of our identity and their approach to sustainability matters to us. We want to provide you with as complete a picture of each school as possible, allowing you to make a decision based on all factors that are important to you.

As a company and as individuals, we believe passionately in sustainable development.

For more information about our initiative, consult our FAQ section.
WHAT IS CSR?
The International Standards Organization defines CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) as the "responsibility of an organization for the impact of its decisions and activities on society and the environment, through transparent and ethical behaviour which contributes to sustainable development including health and the welfare of society; takes into account the expectations of stakeholders; is in compliance with applicable law and consistent with international norms of behaviour; and is integrated throughout the organization and practised in its relationships. Activities include products, services and processes. Relationships refer to an organization's activities within its sphere of influence."

The European Community proposes a more simple definition: "CSR is a concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interaction with stakeholders on a voluntary basis."
WHAT IS THE ESL CSR SELF-ASSESSMENT TOOL?
The ESL CSR self-assessment tool is a checklist of commonly accepted actions to set up and/or reinforce a CSR process in a school in the language travel industry.
We therefore decided to compile CSR actions corresponding to the realities of a language school, taking into consideration three main topics:

1. Sustainable management and operations: how does the school plan and operate actions through CSR criteria?
2. Education: how does the school deal with sustainable development issues in an educational context?
3. Community: how does the school interact with and contribute to its local community and/or on a larger scale?
WHY DOES THIS TOOL EXIST?
As actors in the language travel industry, we not only want to recognize the different CSR actions already in process in some of our partner schools but we also want to encourage all of them to do more by offering a comprehensive global vision of how and what a language school could focus on in terms of sustainable development.

As a representative of a wide number of language schools, we know our role can contribute modestly to helping achieve a more sustainable world by standardizing best practices in our industry. Because it is not always easy to know where to start or how to reinforce a corporate social responsibility action plan, the ESL CSR self-assessment tool aims at stimulating language schools to kick off their own strategy by providing guidelines and support.

In addition, our role starts by providing precise and extensive information about our partner schools. We aim at informing students about each school’s identity with different angles. The sustainable development one contributes to raise awareness to a wide public including our own team, our partners and finally our students.

WHO DEVELOPED THE TOOL?
Like many others, ESL Education Group has started a process of internal reflection and instigated an action plan for minimizing negative impacts from its activity while identifying how to contribute more positively to a changing world. ECO2 Initiative supports us on this path with their technical and strategic expertise.
WHAT IS THE TOOL'S LEGITIMACY?
All of the tool's self-assessment criteria are based on the ISO26000 norm, which offers guidance on social responsibility. A consulting committee comprising 7 different language schools participated in the validation of ESL's CSR self-assessment tool. Our partner schools that have volunteered to contribute to the tool’s final development represent the diversity of education providers of the language travel industry (i.e. cultures, cities, contexts, groups and individually-owned schools).

The goal of the consulting committee has been to make sure we are on track with a tool aimed firstly at being useful for the language schools. Each school's adherence to the tool is fundamental for our initiative's success.
HOW ACCURATE ARE THE SELF-ASSESSMENT RESULTS?
Technically, the whole self-assessment exercise requires the user (the school) to follow steps that guarantee a sustainable process for each action in place.

In addition, the self-assessment structure safeguards against multiple interpretations about what is and what is not a sustainable process or about what is achieved and what is not in terms of CSR.
WHO CONTROLS THE VERACITY OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED AND THE SELF-ASSESSMENT RESULTS?
The CSR self-assessment tool can only be useful if questions are answered with honesty. Before creating an ESL CSR account, our partner schools agree upon submitting information on behalf of their company on a voluntary commitment of transparency.

Our initiative is not based on a process of controlling anyone. It aims at being useful for all types of education providers around the world, sharing the same values, commitments and goals for a better world.

However, the details of the school’s self-evaluation are public and in case of false information observed by ESL or any student onsite, we would address the issue communicating directly with our partner school to clarify the situation either by requiring the self-assessment to be corrected or by stopping our partnership representation of the school.
HOW DOES THE SELF-ASSESSMENT METHODOLOGY WORK?
The tool is built on a qualitative approach as opposed to a quantitative one. This means that the focus is not on measuring the results of the actions but on offering a global vision of the implementation process of these actions and the improvements that can be achieved.

The method of self-assessment is to answer to the questions by YES or NO. A positive answer is subdivided into 4 LEVELS of achievement to self-assess progress and performance.

There are 4 LEVELS of achievement. Each LEVEL corresponds to a number of points for the global grade of self-assessment of the school:

• LEVEL 1:
CSR action is envisaged but not implemented, not related to an operational mission in services.
Effectively, it almost means NO, but it might be part of the school's management discussions and future plans.

• LEVEL 2:
CSR action is in process, but it is not incorporated into a global CSR strategy of the school.
Although a specific CSR action is in process, it is not under the school's management responsibility and formal action plan. The action in question might be a test or the initiative of a member of the staff, but it hasn't been officially backed up by the school's CSR strategy and policy. However, it has the potential of being incorporated into it and its implementation reinforced in a sustainable way (see LEVEL 3).

The border between LEVEL 2 and LEVEL 3 is at the heart of the ESL CSR self-evaluation. The difference between LEVEL 2 and LEVEL 3 highlights the importance of formalizing a CSR plan into an official strategy as a key step towards involving a company in a solid CSR process. If any of the 8 main CSR criteria (questions "A" to "H") are at LEVEL 2, it is not possible to answer the further, more detailed CSR actions related to that individual criterion (a1, a2, … h1, h2) until the main CSR criterion is at LEVEL 3.

• LEVEL 3:
CSR action is in process of implementation, under the responsibility of one or more persons acting pursuant to the formal action plan of the school's CSR strategy.
From LEVEL 3 on, each CSR action benefits from the consistency of being part of the official strategy and planning of the school's management. That way, the CSR action is known by the school's team and all stakeholders, allowing more awareness and leadership from everybody in a sustainable way.

• LEVEL 4:
CSR action completed, feedback on results and monitoring phase

This is the highest level of the self-evaluation. Therefore, when a question is self-assessed as being at LEVEL 4, it needs to be validated by answering YES or NO to additional questions (or uploading a document as evidence) in order to avoid different interpretations and to have a common understanding of what is a completed action.
Validation of LEVEL 4 information and details are not public but can be provided by the school or ESL upon request.
WHAT DO THE SELF-ASSESSMENT RESULTS MEAN IN TERMS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND CSR?
0 – 2: the school is not yet acting concretely for sustainable development
2,1 – 4,5: the school is in the early stages of a sustainable development initiative
4,6 – 6,9: the school has launched a sustainable CSR implementation process
7 – 9: the school is committed to sustainable development with a CSR policy in place
9,1 – 10: the school is strongly committed to sustainable development with a solid CSR policy in place
WHEN DO SCHOOLS SELF-ASSESS THEIR CSR ACTIONS IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS?
CSR is an ongoing process. Therefore, the self-assessment tool offers practical support to be regularly updated by each school that wants to detail its own progress and achievements in terms of CSR strategy and operations.
DO ALL SCHOOLS USE THE ESL CSR SELF-ASSESSMENT TOOL?
Not necessarily but we hope they will and actively encourage them to do so! Our CSR self-assessment tool relies on each school’s voluntary commitment to act and take decisions with CSR principles and values in mind and to be transparent about it. It only concerns those among our partner schools who are willing to say what they do and what they don’t do. Our goal is to motivate the largest number to consider these actions in their developments and, why not, in their priorities.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CSR SELF-ASSESSMENT TOOL?
It will help start and/or enhance language schools’ involvement in sustainable development as well as help everyone visualize the level of consideration and implementation of CSR policies.
The results allow the language school to self-assess the degree of maturity of their CSR plan and improve it.
The tool also offers language schools the opportunity to promote CSR values and support us in raising awareness of sustainable development to a larger international public.

5 REASONS TO CHOOSE ESL – LANGUAGE STUDIES ABROAD

  1. Star Agency Europe
  2. ESL – LANGUAGE STUDIES ABROAD IS EUROPE’S STAR AGENCY  

    ESL – Language studies abroad won Star Agency Western Europe for the fifth time at the 2016 ST Star Awards. 

  3. BEST PRICE GUARANTEE 

    If you find our programmes cheaper with another language travel agency, you will be refunded 100% of the price difference.

  4. FREE AND PERSONALISED SERVICE 

    We offer you free and personal advice before, during and after your language course abroad.

  5. CUSTOMER SATISFACTION 

    In 2016, 97% of our students would recommend ESL – Language studies abroad to their friends and relatives. 

  6. CERTIFIED QUALITY 

    ESL – Language studies abroad is accredited by quality control bodies in the tourism and education industries.  

FREE ONLINE TESTS

Test your language level in a few minutes.

TESTIMONIALS

Pablo Montilla

Thanks to the assessment from ESL, I decided to travel abroad to improve my English for my future job. I decided on Toronto (Canada), because I wanted to get to know North America, and from there I could travel to other large cities thanks to the excursions with the school. From day one, ESL was always available to me and continually checked in with me. The school also helped me to integrate with the rest of my classmates and were also attentive to make sure that everything went perfectly. Without a doubt it was a unique experience that I’ll do again in order to continue learning in other parts of the world and meet more incredible people from every corner of the planet.

Read more
Javier Fernández Azpicueta

Meeting people from all over the world, travelling, getting to know another culture, learning English… these are some of the thousands of positive things that I remember from my experience in Canada. My stay there was totally unforgettable. From the moment I first set foot in the country, I felt like I was home. I was living at a student house with two students from the school with whom I’ve kept up a good friendship. The OHC School makes you feel like one of them from day one. Daily activities to get to know the other students, high quality teachers, great facilities… Without a doubt, I can only say great things about my stay there. I would do it all over again a thousand times. Cheers.

Read more
José Manuel Trejo

I spent a week at the ISI Dublin school. From the first moment, they encourage interaction between students and offer a wide range of activities to take part in beyond the classes, which of course added to my satisfaction with the stay in addition to having such friendly staff. The residence was just a few minutes away on foot, resulting in a pleasant stroll through one of the prettiest parts of Dublin full of traditional Irish buildings including the school itself. This, in addition to the dynamic nature of the classes, allows you to immerse yourself in the language and daily life. It was without a doubt a great experience that left me wanting more.

P.S. Their coffee works wonders!

Read more

THE ESL COMMUNITY

Check out our blogs, social network pages and various online platforms to read travel stories, articles and reviews from our students on language courses abroad.

VIDEOS