Sustainability At YIS

Sustainability At YIS

by Walter Peña, Director of Operations

Environmental sustainability is a pressing issue for our planet, and it is especially important for cities, which produce a substantial amount of greenhouse gas emissions. As one of Japan's largest municipalities, with a population of 3.8 million and a GDP of around USD$100 billion, the city of Yokohama has an Action Plan for Global Warming Countermeasures. Currently Yokohama produces 17.13 million tonnes of CO2e emissions annually. The city's goal is to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and schools play a vital role in achieving this goal.

Here at YIS, we are committed to supporting the city's sustainability goals. We believe that environmental education is essential for raising awareness of the challenges we face and empowering our students to take action. We also believe that our school campus can be a model of sustainability, demonstrating to our students and the community that it is possible to live, learn, lead in a way that respects the environment.

Our Impact Strategy places sustainability at its core. It emphasizes that “All members of our community are responsible for the sustainability of our school, the community, and beyond.” This commitment is supported by four concrete points for evidence of impact:

  • YIS Community Takes Action: Everyone in the YIS community is committed to environmental sustainability.
  • YIS Supports Organizational Sustainability: YIS roles and responsibilities support sustainability to improve learning.
  • Systems and Processes: YIS systems and processes support sustainability and learning.
  • YIS Boards and Leadership: Work to ensure long-term financial stability and sustainability.
students from the Second Chance clothing club

Students of the Second Chance Service Learning Team in 2022-2023.

Our students and educators are actively taking on the responsibility of environmental stewardship, with many of them participating in service groups dedicated to sustainability initiatives. At the middle school level, the Campaign For A Green Society and Roots and Shoots, associated with the Jane Goodall Institute, promote eco-conscious practices. At the high school level, The Second Chance Club promotes sustainable fashion by selling secondhand clothing. Additionally, Midorin, the HS environmental club, and Project Ocean contribute to environmental monitoring efforts by collecting data on ocean health.

The YIS campus is not just a place of learning; it's also a testament to our commitment to sustainability. Consider these two features:

3F Deck Garden: Located outside the Science Wing, this garden serves as a space for science experiments and allows the ES Gardening Club and Gr. 2 Service Learning program to grow herbs and vegetables for our school kitchen. The connection to the earth, soil and the sense of nurturing the students foster is at the core of a dedicated sense of sustainability.

Solar Panel Installation: Our roof-mounted solar energy installation generates 122.4kW of electricity. This reduces our carbon footprint by approximately 51 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually. To put this in perspective, it's equivalent to the annual emissions from about 11 cars or 15 homes. It's also equivalent to planting 1,500 trees, recycling 17,000 plastic bottles, or avoiding 18,000 km of driving. 

screenshot of the solar panel monitoring display

Display panel of the monitoring system for the solar panel installation.

YIS recognizes the critical importance of environmental sustainability. We understand that it is our collective responsibility to contribute to the well-being of our local and national community, our planet, and future generations.

Join us in our sustainability journey:

If you are a parent, staff member, and/or student who wishes to be part of YIS's sustainability impact strategy, we invite you to get involved. Your passion, ideas, and actions can help us continue to make a difference. Feel free to reach out to us at
Let's come together as a community and take the next steps towards a more sustainable future.

high school students participating in a sustainability march

High School students and staff at a climate change march in Tokyo, Sept. 2023.

This is the first article in a series of five about the five pillars of our Impact Strategy.
Read the second article, Autonomy and Impact at YIS.