11 March 2022

Pupils win international sustainability competition

Since carbon emissions are the biggest contributor to global warming – and because this and future generations of pupils will bear the brunt of this global catastrophe, it’s important that we strive to be part of the solution and not of the problem. With that in mind, John Lyon pupils, along with students from across the Harrow family of schools (Harrow Bangkok, Harrow Beijing, Harrow Chongqing, Harrow Haikou, Harrow Hong Kong, Harrow London, Harrow Nanning, Harrow School Online, Harrow Shanghai, Harrow Shenzhen, Harrow Zhuhai, John Lyon School and Quainton Hall School), took part in the global Harrow International Schools’ Sustainability 450 competition.

Four of our students, from Year 11 and the Upper Sixth, came up with a brilliant solution of their own, with one student developing the branding and designing a logo – and in the process, they won the senior enterprise competition. This was no mean feat, given that there were a whopping 647 teams involved from some of the finest and best-resourced schools in the world!

The pupils’ idea – ‘Offset-me’ – directly addressed the challenge set by five of the world’s top universities: to change the way we eat to save the planet. ‘Offset-me’ is a mobile shopping scan app that calculates your shop’s carbon footprint, item by item. As well as showing you the environmental cost of every purchase, it teaches you how to cut your carbon footprint and, importantly, offers the option to ‘Offset-me’ at the checkout. It’s now widely accepted that consumers can minimise their impact on the planet and save on their offset costs by shopping differently – and because it helps people do just that, ‘Offset-me’ really is an ingenious and potentially world-changing idea!

The team was facilitated by Mr Fletcher and his Business School, with Upper Sixth students Dylan and Usman taking the lead in the team, in which Agam, Ben and Seth, from Year 11, provided valuable contributions. An honourable mention must go to our Year 8 pupils too, whose solutions centred around composting and edible cutlery!

Quainton Hall, our prep school, also made a fantastic contribution with over 14 projects – and there was special mention for Hiya, Shivani and Rishaan in Year 4 for making a reusable and sustainable bag, completed with specially designed eco messages and icons. They finished a very respectable third in their age category.

The next step is for Offset-me to ‘go live’ as a proper business and begin the task of raising the finance for the first stage development of the tech – and from there, if the team can achieve that, the sky’s the limit.

Well done to all involved. It is great to see John Lyon pupils as global leaders in sustainability and enterprise.