Climate Action Barometer for international education™

The Climate Action Barometer for International Education is IESG’s signature service. CABie™ is a rolling global benchmark, tracking and comparing sustainability policies, practices and emissions for international education across time.

CABie is the only climate benchmark tool designed specifically for the international education sector. As IE professionals ourselves, we understand what makes international tick and the most meaningful actions we can take to operate more sustainably.

We act when we measure We know, what gets measured gets done


By taking part in the Barometer you give your team a starting point from which to measure your action to date. You can gauge your progress against your peers – nationally, and subsequently globally, and across time. You give yourselves a base from which you can start to act – contributing meaningfully to your university’s sustainability goals, responding to student concern and doing your part to lessen the impacts of climate change.

Why Take Action?

  • Demonstrating leadership

    The climate crisis offers an unparalleled opportunity to reimagine our work in a way that reduces or avoids emissions and creates better outcomes for students, faculty and staff.

    By signing up to the Climate Action Barometer for international education, international offices and teams around the world can track and measure their performance to help them make the changes the world needs and students demand.

  • Students are worried and it’s shaping their choices

    Students today are overwhelmingly concerned about the environment and now expect universities to show leadership in this vital area. Many of the globally mobile students in the world come from countries which are the most vulnerable to the impacts of global heating. These two factors combined mean an institution’s climate credentials are an increasingly important factor for prospective students when deciding where to study.


    According to Times Higher Education

    – 82% of prospective international students say sustainability is an important factor in decision-making

    – 27% already use sustainability indicators to inform their study decisions

    – Climate action is second only to quality education among student concerns.


    A 2019 QS survey of close to 4,000 students found that:

    – 91% of students felt universities could do more to reduce the environmental impact of their institution’s operations;

    – 79% would be more likely to choose a degree that helped to teach them how to reduce their environmental impact;

    – 98% agreed that universities should publicise their sustainability efforts on social media channels, on the institutional website, at student fairs and events, and in their brochures.


  • We have to do this, and we can!

    A liveable future for all is possible if we make deep, rapid and sustained greenhouse gas emissions cuts this decade (IPCC Report 2023). The international education sector is well placed to contribute to this global effort by reducing unnecessary carbon pollution in its operations and by using its global reach to influence and educate students and partners.


FAQs for International Educators

  • We take a broad view of international education because we understand that no two institutions prioritise the same services or structure their international teams in the same way.


    The CABie™ covers a range of functions generally recognised as International and which are most relevant to climate action:

    – International Strategy

    – International Student Marketing and Recruitment

    – Transnational Education and Overseas Campuses

    – Study Abroad and Global Learning

  • The questions in the Climate Action Barometer survey do not involve surveying students, you will be able to answer many of the  CABie™ questions using information you already hold within the International Office or global team.

    For some questions you will need to ask your sustainability, central data office or HR team to assist. This should not be too onerous a task for them, as they will in many cases be able to answer yes or no or to provide data that already exists.


    In our analysis and reporting process, all data is reported anonymously and conforms fully with data protection legislation. We collect the data for this Survey on a secure platform which uses Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption (also known as HTTPS) for all transmitted data.

  • The majority of the questions relate directly to practices and policies within the International/Global function of an institution, so the International or Global team would be best placed to coordinate the process.  If you already participate in an international operations benchmarking exercise, such as the AUIDF BIO report in Australia or the International Education Benchmark for New Zealand, the staff member responsible for coordinating that would be a good candidate.

  • We estimate it should take approximately 1.5 days of an international team member’s time, spread over a period of 4 to 6 weeks to gather the information for the survey

  • We are very cognisant of the workloads at universities, especially in international and sustainability teams. That’s why we have been careful to design the survey so that it complements rather than duplicates existing commitments.

    The CABie™ gives international teams a clearer understanding of how they can contribute to overall university climate ambitions. This is particularly important for reducing Scope 3 emissions as we know that international business travel, flights emissions for study abroad and for incoming students can amount to a significant proportion of a university’s overall footprint.

    Taking part in the Barometer should therefore support a university’s broader commitment to campaigns such as the Education Race to Zero, and should not duplicate data collection for other existing frameworks, like AASHE Stars.

  • The workload for staff in the sustainability team will not be onerous as much of the data collation will be undertaken by the international team. We estimate that, depending on the structure of your institution, it will take no more  than half a day of Sustainability team time, spread over a period of 4 to 6 weeks.