Low Emission Schools

Project description

Title: Low Emission Schools
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Mexico
Partner organisations: Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT); Secretariat of Public Education (SEP)
Overall term: 2013 to 2014

Mexico. Low Emission Schools - Plantation at school © GIZ


Mexico is the tenth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, accounting for 1.6 per cent of the total. The Mexican Government has therefore set ambitious targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. By 2050 it intends to cut emissions by 50 per cent compared with the year 2000.

In many cases there is still little awareness of issues such as climate change mitigation and resource efficiency in Mexican society. Realisation that the actions of each individual have an impact on the environment is only gradually taking hold. When it comes to changing habits, children and young people therefore have a key role to play, since their behaviour is less firmly entrenched than that of adults.

The Low Emission Schools programme explains to schoolchildren aged between 10 and 16 how they can cut greenhouse gases at their schools and make more efficient use of resources. As a consequence the schools will significantly reduce their emissions as well as cutting costs. The children and young people can also put their knowledge to use as environmental actors: they pass on the message to their families, friends and communities that positive change is possible. A culture of climate change action thus emerges, originating from the education sector.


Greenhouse gas emissions are reduced and climate change culture is part of everyday school life in Mexico.


GIZ supports the schools in producing a comprehensive analysis of their environmental protection potential with regard to electricity, water, waste, transport, green spaces and sustainable consumption. This includes calculating the extent to which carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced. Pupils and teachers join together to form Green Teams and develop climate change measures for their school. Parents too become involved. Various activities become firmly anchored in everyday school life. The monitoring of results is also part of the programme. The pupils evaluate the amount of emissions they save and publish this on their website. The broader public is informed of the activities via social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, helping to raise awareness of the issue of climate change mitigation.

GIZ is working together with the Mexican Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT). It has supported SEMARNAT in developing the approach as a Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA), which has been included in Mexico’s NAMA registry. The low emission schools are also recognized as a measure under the Special Climate Change Programme and contribute towards achieving this newly industrialising country’s climate change targets.

The programme is jointly financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation (BMZ) and the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO); the German Federal Foreign Office is supporting programme preparation.


A total of 36 public and private schools in five Mexican federal states are participating in the programme. Over 4,400 pupils and around 1,000 adults have taken part in awareness-raising workshops on climate issues so far.

Mexico. Low Emission Schools - Tecnical secondary school 67 © GIZ

The Green Teams have planted tree seedlings on school grounds, installed rainwater harvesting systems, replaced old sanitation facilities with water-saving systems and introduced waste separation and recycling. One school halved its electricity consumption by reducing its electrical circuits and fitting energy-saving lamps, enabling it to significantly cut costs and emissions. The pupils are proud of what they have achieved; they talk about it and motivate others with their enthusiasm. In this way they are making an important contribution to the essential process of changing attitudes in Mexican society.

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