BSB expands green collaboration with UN and EU

Empowering youth voices in sustainability

Building on the foundation of our Real-World Learning initiative focused on the Amazon, The British School of Brussels has solidified its presence on the global sustainability stage through its further engagement with the United Nations Environment Office in Brussels. This partnership, nurtured by the remarkable work of our students, has not only garnered recognition but has also opened doors to impactful collaborations.

Last year, our efforts in environmental education caught the attention of Veronika Hunt, Head of the UN Environment Office in Brussels, who extended a gracious invitation for BSB to participate in the UN’s Earth Day celebrations at the iconic Grand Place in the Belgian capital. It was a momentous occasion where Samara, a Year 9 student, captivated audiences with her poignant poem on plastic pollution, while her peers showcased innovative models before esteemed UN and EU delegates.

BSB students display sustainable fashion at UN/EU event

Fast forward to this year, and our commitment to sustainability has propelled us further into the spotlight of global dialogue. BSB was approached by the UN at the onset of the year to contribute to their Sustainable Textile Event, co-hosted with the European Union at the prestigious Residence Palace near Schuman in the EU Quarter of Brussels, which took place on 16 May. Without hesitation, we embraced the opportunity and our Year 12 Textile students diligently crafted upcycled outfits from test samples of denim donated by global brands Lee and Wrangler, which graced the event on mannequins, showcasing the beauty and importance of sustainable fashion.

Meanwhile, our Year 9 geographers delved into the complexities of fast fashion, exploring its impact and potential solutions. Tasked with creating products or campaigns aimed at raising awareness, their work epitomised the spirit of innovation and advocacy ingrained in BSB’s ethos.

“The world is changing, and the students at The British School of Brussels want to be part of the solution,” said Geography teacher Charlotte Lemaitre. “Their exhibition aims to create a mindset shift and hopes to make you think more carefully about your next fashion purchase and raise awareness of the solutions to fast fashion.”

“The students from BSB have created some wonderful examples of how you can recycle old clothes and have shown how you can create very effective, imaginative garments from discarded textiles,” said the UN’s Veronika Hunt (pictured above, with BSB students and staff). “As someone who grew up with a seamstress grandmother who made a lot of our clothes in the same way, it’s inspiring what the students have done. We need to go back to what we used to have, when having zero waste was not a luxury but the norm.”

BSB invited to participate in Youth Summit

BSB was not only invited to attend and contribute to the Sustainable Textile Event but also encouraged to bring along a cohort of BSB students to participate in the Youth Summit, a platform for dialogue and idea exchange organised in parallel, which underscored the importance of amplifying youth voices in shaping sustainable practices. Moreover, our students served as ambassadors during coffee breaks, engaging with delegates and sharing insights gleaned from their projects and classroom learning.

“Sustainable fashion is crucial for our planet and everyday lives, requiring awareness of production processes and workers’ conditions, the reuse and recycling of materials, and durability over microtrends” said  Valerio, one of the BSB students whose project involves upcycling and redesigning old sports shoes. “Through my project, I’ve learned that recycling can be creative and personal, and from the event itself, I learned that consumer awareness can drive change. It’s crucial for BSB to continue inspiring students with recycling education across all subjects, supporting creative and practical initiatives.”


“We believe fast fashion is often overlooked, negatively impacting lives through harmful production and working conditions, while also harming the planet as many clothes, rarely worn and in good condition, are discarded instead of being reused or upcycled,” participating students Anais, Ayra and Samara said jointly. “Awareness of the origins and production of clothing could be raised through schools and social media. Our key lesson is that we can upcycle textile waste but struggle to implement sustainable practices. Therefore, it is crucial for BSB to continue inspiring and educating students to promote fun and positive environmental action.”

Inspiring the eco warriors of the future

This has been a remarkable opportunity—one that not only elevates BSB’s profile but also cements our commitment to sustainable development. As the sole school invited to this prestigious event, our presence underscored the value of education in driving real-world change. By seizing this opportunity, we not only contributed to the dialogue on sustainability but also fortified our enduring partnership with the United Nations—a testament to BSB’s unwavering dedication to global citizenship and sustainable progress.

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