In 2009, several International Voluntary Service organizations agreed on the importance to promote and coordinate common actions for environmental sustainability and gave life to the International Sustainability Campaign in IVS.
Being aware of the delicate relationship between human beings and the surrounding environment, all actors – volunteers, camp leaders, organisers – are invited to reflect upon their impact on local communities as well as their role in our global society.
Workcamps may suggest alternative models of economic, environmental and civil development; they are conceived as a chance to raise awareness about sustainable good practices among all the actors involved in our projects: volunteers, local communities and administrative councils. Therefore, they can offer viable solutions to the challenge of sustainable development – one of the great challenges of our time.
The main objective of the Campaign is to increase the level of environmental sustainability in IVS projects, through the empowerment of the organisations, thus improving the impact of voluntary service projects on environment and society.
In a longer term, the Campaign aims at feeding a social change toward sustainability; to achieve changes in policies and new measures that improve the chances for sustainability in our countries and communities. The Campaign also strives for giving a message to society that a change towards sustainability is possible and necessary.
The Environmental Sustainability Working Group of the Alliance, created in 2012, prepared a toolkit in support of all Alliance organisations, in order to give them practical instruments and methodologies to improve the sustainability in workcamps and volunteering projects.
Meanwhile, the initial Campaign has turned into a permanent sustainability routine and policy underlying the work of the Alliance. The Environmental Sustainability Working Group keeps developing and improving the sustainability work of the Alliance, both internally through annual awareness-raising actions and reminders for member organisations, and externally through representation at events related to sustainability and sustainable development.