Our work on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) aims to help higher education institutions in the development of sustainability literate graduates who have the skills, knowledge and experience to contribute to an environmentally and ethically responsible society.
Education for Sustainable Development is described by the United Nations as a means of ‘enabling students to develop the attributes, behaviours and skills needed to work and live in a way that safeguards ecological, social and economic wellbeing, both in the present and for future generations’. This can challenge traditional pedagogies, requiring a multi-disciplinary partnership approach across and between institutions.
This page provides an overview of how we support academics, senior management and students to meet the challenge of addressing Education for Sustainable Development across HEIs.
Our highly regarded Green Academy programme is working with 18 HEIs to lead institutional change for sustainable development across their institutions.
Students and ESD
Students want sustainability to be included in their university courses. Follow this link to find out about the evidence behind this statement and how we work with students and student bodies.
QAA and HEA ESD Guidance
The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) and the HEA have been working with a group of leading sector experts to develop a Guidance Document for practitioners new to ESD. Follow this link to learn about this work in more detail.
We work in partnership with the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC) in running the Sustainability in Higher Education Developers (SHED) network. This informal network is open to anyone with an interest in sustainability in higher education and we warmly welcome new members.
The HEA along with its partners in the sector have organised a number of highly successful events on Education for Sustainable Development. We also funded institutions to host workshops and seminars to disseminate good practice. To read more about these events and to download conference papers and presentations, click on the event title below. See our featured events sections for forthcoming events on ESD.
- November 2013, QAA & HEA Education for Sustainable Development Guidance Document Consultation Event
- Past seminar series (including Green Academy) – upcoming listed under forthcoming events section.
The HEA has a rich history of leading this field having supported and produced influential documents and research reports that have helped shape ESD in the Higher Education Sector.
- 2013: Student Attitudes Towards Skills for Sustainable Development
- 2012: First Green Academy Evaluation report and case studies
- 2012: Universities and the Green Economy report
- 2012: Summary of Comments from Policy Think Tank Consultation
- 2012: The Future Fit Framework
- 2012: ESD and Holistic Curriculum Change Review and Guide
- 2012: Student Attitudes Towards and Skills for Sustainable Development
- 2012: Report on the Third Workshop around the Circular Economy
- 2011: First-year student attitudes towards, and skills in, sustainable development
- 2009: A Visit to the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
- 2009: ESD, Employability and External Engagement: Event Report (Ryan)
- 2008: ESD: Strategic Consultations among English HEIs (Brooks & Ryan)
- 2008: Review of ESD in HE in Scotland (Ryan)
- 2007: Employable Graduates for Responsible Employers (Cade, StudentForce)
- 2007: Education for Sustainable Development Interdisciplinary Discussion Series (Brooks & Ryan)
- 2005: Sustainable Development in Higher Education (Dawe Report)