Resources and guidance

This page signposts selected materials for getting started on developing sustainability into the activities and learning opportunities of universities and colleges, including specialist materials on Education for Sustainability (EfS).

Good Practice and Inspiration

OECD (2020) Making the green recovery work for jobs, income and growth. Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development – OECD Responses to Coronavirus (Covid-19)
Policy brief on green, resilient, inclusive economic recovery from COVID-19 including preliminary review of announced recovery and stimulus policies and proposed environmental impact indicators.

SDSN (2020) Accelerating Education for the SDGs in Universities: A guide for universities, colleges, and tertiary and higher education institutions. Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), New York
Guide to embedding education for UN SDGs into institutions, with practical approaches and implementation examples from different universities – with link to website of further case studies.

UNEP (2019) Greening Universities Toolkit 2.0: Transforming universities into green and sustainable campuses: a toolkit for implementers (2014 edition republished 2019)
Published by the UN Environment Programme with the Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability, includes strategies, technologies, policies and global exemplars.

SOS (NUS) annual reports on future skills and student demand for sustainability learning
Series of reports evidencing the extent of student call for sustainability skills and ESD integration into courses and professional experience, as well as studies with employers and international cohorts.

Green Gown Awards
Awards recognising exceptional sustainability initiatives at universities and colleges – recognised as best sustainability practice in the tertiary sector, plus link to international Green Gown Awards.

SOS (NUS) Responsible Futures programme
Accreditation process for institutions and Students’ Unions working in partnership with students to embed social responsibility and sustainability into formal and informal learning.

Curriculum development resources

QAA (2021) Education for Sustainable Development: guidance for UK higher education providers, Exectuive Summary Quality Assurance Agency and Advance HE, United Kingdom
The Education for Sustainable Development Guidance is intended to help UK higher education institutions incorporate Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) within their curricula.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (2017) Education for Sustainable Development Goals: learning objectives
Key publication supporting the Education 2030 Agenda with reference to delivery of the UN SDGs – explores learning objectives in relation to the SDGs and integration of ESD principles in curricula.

PAGE (2016), Green Economy Learning Assessment South Africa: Critical Competencies for Driving a Green Transition
Project on green economy competences with input from various international agencies, including competency framework, examples of learning opportunities and self-assessment tool for competency gaps and learning opportunities, led by Professor Heila Lotz-Sisitka.

University Educators for Sustainable Development (2016) Online Platform of Resources & Leading Practice Publication
Project resource focused on best practice in the professional development of academics for ESD, includes training examples, video interviews, policy surveys and case studies from research across 33 EU countries, led by University of Gloucestershire.

Scott, G. (2013) FlipCurric
Guide to programme design for future HE curriculum by global HE quality assurance expert Professor Geoff Scott, based on research into graduate competences across professions – includes ESD principles in setting appropriate learning outcomes, assessments and grading indicators.

Tilbury, D. and Ryan, A. (2013) Leading Curriculum Change for Sustainability, Guide to quality and education for sustainability in Higher Education
Project output on integrating ESD into institutional quality enhancement systems, in partnership with UK Quality Assurance Agency and based in insights of pilot projects at 5 UK universities, led by University of Gloucestershire.

HEA (2012) Future Fit Framework, Higher Education Academy, UK
Guidance framework and toolkit for developing ESD in the higher education curriculum, created by Professor Stephen Sterling commissioned by the UK HE Academy as part of its ESD programme.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (2010) Education for Sustainable Development Lens: A Policy and Practice Review Toolkit
Output prepared by ESD experts, piloted in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Caribbean. Relates ESD to mainstream education goals, reviews ESD practice, quality assessments and learning outcomes.


International Education for Sustainability materials

UNESCO (2016) Global Education Monitoring Report
Monitoring progress in education for the UN global goals (SDGs) and effectiveness of policy and programmes. Links sustainability, ESD and development agendas, signals Education 2030 agenda.

UNESCO (2014) Roadmap for Implementing the Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development, Paris: UNESCO
The GAP identifies whole-of-institutional change as a priority for education, as well as strengthening of capacity building and professional development of all who work as learning facilitators for ESD.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (2014) Shaping the Future we Want: UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014) Final Report
Closing report on the UN DESD, points to leadership challenges in embedding ESD in HE, supported by commissioned papers from various global experts in ESD and sustainable development.

UNECE (2013) Empowering Educators for a sustainable future, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
Tools for workshops linked to the UNECE ESD Educator Competences framework, developed and launched in 2011 as part of the UNECE Strategy for ESD.

UNECE (2011) Learning for the Future: Competences in Education for Sustainable Development, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
Framework of competences for use by educators developed by a pan-European expert group and based on principles of the Delors framework for transformative 21st century education.

UNESCO (2011) Education for Sustainable Development: An Expert Review of Processes and Learning, Japan: UNESCOInternational review by Professor Daniella Tilbury of good practices, pedagogical approaches and learning processes, part of the monitoring and evaluation of the UN Decade of ESD (DESD).