Education for Sustainable Development

Our role as an educator is a privilege and a responsibility. A privilege to have the opportunity to teach hungry, open and creative minds, and a responsibility for delivering learning that meets the needs of our  students, now and in their roles following their graduation.

We recognise that students that have a grounding in some of the issues they will face in the future is essential. Understanding sustainability and how it relates to subjects is crucial in helping ‘future proof’ our students and helping them develop solutions and actions that can help us deliver the sustainable future we all desire.

There are a number of ways we seek to ensure that students access such learning. We deliver sustainability courses as parts of inductions and also integrate it within subject areas. It is sometimes  easier to apply in certain subjects, however, sustainability touches all subjects and we are keen to see how to make sustainability is illustrated as relevant in all the subjects we teach.

Progress is reported to the Sustainability Management Board and including  representatives from all faculties including staff but also Directors of Learning and Teaching and Directors of Student Experience.

Since January 2015 the University has been undertaking research to better understand the most appropriate approach to deliver its Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) work. This includes a significant research project running January to March 2015  to understand our current position and the challenges we experience  and opportunities we can build upon. These reports were presented to our Academic and Quality Standards Committee (AQSC) (chaired by our Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic)  in  September 2015. A further piece of research and analysis  to set out approaches for ESD application was initiated in January 2016 and presented to AQSC in July 2016. This provides ways for the organisation to move its ESD programme forward, and the next stage will be to work with the faculties to implement key recommendations.  This work is supported by the work our Sustainability Hub did in delivering the NUS’s Responsible Futures Framework. Furthermore working with the Education and Development Unit the SDU and key stakeholders are developing an ESD toolkit – providing vital resources to enable take up by teaching staff and also engaging our students in the area.

Experts in the Education Development Unit lead the ESD subgroup reporting to the Sustainability Management Board. This subgroup includes academics, learning technologies, sustainability processionals and Directors of Learning and Teaching.

The University provides training and workshops for our academics to learn about the relevance of sustainability in their programmes and we utilise the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals as the framework to illustrate the applicability of sustainability to programmes across the board.

We still have a long way to go to ensure that sustainability is a core part of every student’s teaching. We hope through co-creative programmes with academics we can find approaches that embed sustainability as a key element of the education we provide throughout all of our Faculties.  For more information contact the Sustainable Development Unit.

We also provide our students with other areas where they can explore sustainability, whether that’s through our campus and releasing its potential as a ‘living laboratory‘ or through other resources such as this page.  We are keen to engage students in active developmental areas inviting them to work with us as ‘Sustainability Analysts.’

See links below for more info




University of Greenwich Sustainability Blog