Sustainability through education: IU Group receives B Corp certification
IU Group received the B Corp certification from the independent non-profit organisation B Lab for its high social and environmental performance, transparency and holistic, sustainable actions.
IU Group (IUG), the parent company of IU International University of Applied Sciences (IU), received the B Corp certification from the independent non-profit organisation B Lab for its high social and environmental performance, transparency and holistic, sustainable actions.
- As Europe's largest private university group, IUG aims to make education accessible to all and is committed to sustainability and social responsibility.
- IU Group supports students from all over the world through various initiatives, including scholarships, partnerships and special support programmes.
- B Corp certification was awarded following an extensive review of the company's structures and its overall social and environmental performance.
Erfurt, January 25, 2024. IU Group (IUG), the parent company of IU International University of Applied Sciences (IU), has successfully completed the audit process by the independent non-profit organisation B Lab. As a certified B Corporation, IUG has undergone a rigorous assessment by B Lab and thus fulfils high standards in terms of social and environmental impact.
The positive certification also reflects IU International University of Applied Sciences' commitment to sustainability:
As a provider of innovative educational programmes, sustainability is one of IU's core values. IU aims to make a contribution to sustainability primarily through its educational programmes. This is based on IU's fundamental idea of democratising education. This states that everyone should have access to education in order to be able to develop further - regardless of their personal and financial situation or their background.
Marvin Lange, Managing Director and CFO of IU Group, is delighted with the certification:
“It fills me with great joy that our vision of making education accessible to as many people as possible has been recognised by the B Corp certification. We are passionately committed to personalising education through the use of technology and therefore breaking down barriers to access in the long term. In doing so, we are making an important contribution to greater educational equality worldwide.”
IU supports students through scholarships and other initiatives
As a member of the UN Global Compact and its University Initiative, IU has been committed to the highest standards of sustainability since 2011, which should benefit all IU stakeholders. The principles of these two initiatives are the key principles that guide IU's approach to sustainability.
IU has over 130,000 students from 195 countries worldwide, including 20 per cent from abroad and 25 per cent without German citizenship. Based on its educational principles, IU has launched several initiatives to sustainably support and empower students. These and other initiatives contributed significantly to IU's positive rating for the B Corp criterion "Students".
- In 2022, IU awarded almost 5,000 scholarships to students from developing countries, just over 60 per cent more than in the previous year.
- With the Study Access Alliance, IU supports students in African countries and is constantly looking for further educational or financial partners.
- The IU offers special scholarships for people with disabilities, single parents and career changers, including the “Women in Tech” programme to promote women in IT and technical professions.
- Thanks to a wide range of admission options, IU enables many people without a traditional university entrance qualification to study. The proportion of first-year students at IU without an Abitur is seven times higher than the national average; 70 per cent of IU students come from families without an academic background.
- IU is the first university in the European Union to be a member of the UNESCO Global Education Coalition, which provides students in crisis situations with access to relevant subjects and credits.
- Inclusive study formats offer individual further education opportunities, and the IU offers study programmes such as Sustainable Management to equip people with knowledge and methods for a sustainable future.
As an innovative university that focuses primarily on online teaching, IU pursues a sustainable education model that minimises the use of natural resources:
- The per capita greenhouse gas emissions of IU students are up to seven times lower than those of students at traditional universities with a focus on offline presence and printed materials. From 2019 to 2022, emissions per IU student fell from 0.3 to 0.17 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.
- IU students actively contribute to the sustainable development of the IU. By not using printed scripts, they enable IU to save paper and plant trees in return. So far, more than 310,000 scripts have been saved and more than 33,000 trees planted as a result of this campaign.
"A positive assessment in the areas mentioned is of great importance for successful certification. We are therefore very pleased that we scored very well, especially in the area of students," says Alex Čaičics, Head of Sustainability and ESG Communication at IU Group. "However, the B Corp certification is also an important indication for us of the areas in which we still need to improve. We see the certificate as an incentive to improve further in the next B Corp recertification," Čaičics continues.
IU Group's B Corp certification is the result of a comprehensive process in which the corporate structures of all IUG-affiliated companies and the entire social and environmental performance along an organisation's entire value chain are examined. For the evaluation, 350 questions and data points were analysed at IUG over a period of two years. 50 people within the IUG were involved in this process.
The B Corp certificate is one of the most demanding sustainability certificates in the world and is regarded as a kind of seal of approval for corporate social responsibility (CSR). Companies must fulfil strict social and environmental standards and undergo recertification every three years.
ABOUT B CORP
Certified B Corporations or B Corps are companies that have been certified by the B Lab as meeting high standards for social and environmental performance, transparency and responsible behaviour.
In contrast to other certificates that focus on individual products or sectors, the B Corp certificate assesses the overall performance of a company in the areas of social, ecological and economic commitment. Particular emphasis is placed on public transparency and legal accountability. Further information at: https://www.bcorporation.net/en-us/
IU Group (IUG) is Europe’s largest private university group. IUG provides a well-diversified mix of online degree courses, part-time studies and on-campus learning. It is a pioneer in delivering high-quality education and leveraging technology and innovation to meet the changing needs of students around the world. Today, IUG’s vertically-integrated education platform offers the largest portfolio of bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes in Europe with more than 250 accredited courses and some 600 upskilling offerings in German and English. IU Group cooperates with more than 15,000 enterprises and actively supports them in their people development including in high-demand areas such as business administration, data & artificial intelligence and technology. The company was founded in 2021 and is the proprietor of several universities – IU International University of Applied Sciences (IU) in Germany with more than 35 campuses nationwide, the London Institute of Banking & Finance (LIBF) in the UK, as well as the University of Fredericton (UFred) in Canada – all together counting more than 140.000 students. Behind IU Group are more than 4,000 employees from nearly 90 nationalities. Further information: iu-group.com.