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OBI Global Environmental Project Update

Outward Bound:  A Nature-Based Solution.


Outward Bound Trust in the UK


What is a nature-based solution? The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) defines a nature-based solution as “actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore nature or modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and bio-diversity benefits.” For Outward Bound, its about building connections to nature through our outdoor classroooms, connections which promote awareness of the natural world and our collective responsibility to protect it. Outward Bound Schools around the globe have an important role to play in developing connections to the natural world which lead to greater levels of environmentalism and pro-environmental behaviours throughout life.  It is with great excitement that Outward Bound International is launching a global environmental project, made possible through our partnership with Manulife.

OBI has recently hired Rob Dunn from Outward Bound New Zealand to provide oversight of OBI’s global environmental project.




Rob has put together a working group from across the network that will help to consider the wide variety of social, cultural, and geographical contexts in which Outward Bound Schools around the world operate; and ensure that the environmental project produces resources and outputs that are relevant and useful across this diverse range of operating environments.

The project group is envisaging outcomes across 3 key areas, under the overarching heading of “Treading Lightly”:


  1. Treading Lightly – a field guide for OB staff and students; guiding principles for staff and students to follow when heading into the outdoors.
  2. Treading Lightly – a guide for OB operations; guidelines and tools to help OB schools measure and reduce their impact in the areas of: Carbon, Energy, Travel, Water, Waste, Food, Office Systems, working with Partners and Suppliers
  3. Treading Lightly – an education guide for OB delivery staff; this may include an overview of pedagogical approaches, teaching ideas and resources, examples of best practice, etc to help OB schools develop their environmental/ sustainability education capability.

The focus of all 3 project areas will be on producing useful and practical resources and guidelines. There will be opportunity for feedback/ input into these resources as the working group gets draft content out to the OBI School network for trial and review during the year.

The global environmental project represents an exciting opportunity for international collaboration over an area of common interest and concern both globally and for the Outward Bound network, as we work together with our School partners and Manulife to accelerate a sustainable future.