Education for Sustainability

The United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014), for which UNESCO is the lead agency, has stated that Education for Sustainability (EfS) ‘integrates the principles, values, and practices of sustainable development into all aspects of education and learning’. It goes on to say that

‘EfS is a vision of education that seeks to balance human and economic well-being with cultural traditions and respect for the earth’s natural resources. EfS applies transdisciplinary educational methods and approaches to develop an ethic for lifelong learning; fosters respect for human needs that are compatible with sustainable use of natural resources and the needs of the planet; and nurtures a sense of global solidarity.’                 (

EfS enables a focus not just on the formal curriculum but provides a perfect opportunity for informal learning initiatives to support the broader university experience as detailed in Salford Curriculum +. It is also prime for enabling engagement with ‘real-world’ issues in local, regional and global contexts to support students in employability skills development, a perfect fit with the ICZ programme. With its focus on responsibility, citizenship, inclusion and equality, EfS is an ideal area to also respond to the aspirations of the internationalisation strategy.  It will support graduates to develop transferable skills in critical thinking, making value judgments and decisions. Again, enhancing student employability by meeting the requirements of employers for graduates to provide a different perspective, a fresh approach and bring the creative thinking that organisations need to develop sustainable solutions. Through the resources developed from an EfS project at Salford and the promotion of this through networking and sharing, a dynamic delivery can be developed by programme leaders to enhance the taught student experience.

The timeline below summaries all progress and actions on the Education for Sustainability work at University of Salford in context of progression of the external agenda for ease of reference, University of Salford actions are highlighted in red.


House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee ‘Learning the Sustainability Lesson’ Report


UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development


HEA Education for Sustainable Development Project

December 2010

Carbon Management Programme Board agreed to include curriculum for review in the EcoCampus programme

March 2011

Survey of Associate Heads of Schools

September 2011

Change Academy


Annual NUS/HEA Survey of Student Attitudes and Skills for Sustainability


HEA Future Fit Framework published

July 2012

Agreement for inclusion of EfS in Learning and Teaching Strategy

January 2013

Launch of EfS Action Group

March 2013

Launch of ASPIRES – including Sustainable strand

June 2013

Agreement for EfS Champions in Schools

June 2013

HEA Teaching Development Grant Application

June 2014

HEA Education for Sustainable Development Toolkit launched

Our next steps:

  • Establish resource and plan for leadership of EfS strategy
  • Create resources for EfS
  • Review set targets and progress formally and regularly
  • Adopt the NUS Responsible Futures facilitated change programme and accreditation mark to embed sustainability across the formal and informal curriculum
  • Continue and enhance were possible with additional resources student engagement opportunities with environmental sustainability in line with Salford Curriculum + and ICZ strategies
  • Continue to champion student engagement within Estates
  • Showcase and promote better the existing projects related to EfS under this banner
  • Create networking opportunities for academics already engaged