Education for sustainable development

The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation promotes education for sustainable development (ESD) and supports schools in taking a holistic approach to sustainability issues. We produce educational materials, offer teacher training workshops and participate in partnership projects to develop methods for ESD.

Who we are

The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) has engaged in environmental and sustainability issues since its foundation in 1909. Today, the SSNC is Sweden's largest and most influential environmental organisation with 226 000 members and ongoing work internationally, nationally, regionally and in local communities. Our main areas of work are climate, oceans, forests, agriculture and environmental toxins. The SSNC works in partnership with 50 organisations worldwide and participates in various networks within the EU and globally.

What we do

An important area of our work is sustainability education. Since 2011, SSNC has established itself as a promotor of education for sustainable development in the Swedish school system, mainly through supporting teachers and trainers. We produce educational materials and offer teacher training workshops.

The material is developed with an interdisciplinary approach in mind. We encourage cross-curricular collaboration and reality-based learning. The material is also well suited for school projects and for learning about the Sustainable Development Goals.

Through a partnership with IKEA between 2015 and 2022, we offered secondary schools an ESD concept consisting of exercises combined with a study visit to one of IKEA's stores. The exercises focused on sustainable use of resources, consumption and production, and prepared the pupils to explore and examine the company’s sustainability practices and policies.

studiebesök, skolprogram, ikea, skolstolen, designuppgift
IKEA co-worker and pupils during a study visit at IKEA's store in Uddevalla, discussing sustainable design prototypes made by the pupils.

Why we develop educational materials

Humanity is facing great environmental challenges. The shift to a sustainable society is urgent. The longer the shift is delayed, the greater the consequences for future generations. Education is a key factor for development, which is highlighted by Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Education, where target 4.7 puts an emphasis on the importance of ESD. Schools need to prepare pupils to be global citizens in a sustainable future. That is why the SSNC promotes education for sustainable development and supports schools in taking a holistic approach to sustainability issues.

följ, t-shirten, t-shirt, flödesschema, lca
Example from our educational materials: By making their own Life Cycle Assessments on different products, the pupils learn to view resources from a cyclic perspective and see how production and consumption affect people and the environment throughout the process. 

We want to make it easier for teachers to fulfil the educational task of preparing pupils to live and work in a complex reality, and to actively participate in and navigate a rapidly changing society. By using our materials, the pupils train their ability to critically examine facts in a large flow of information.

The integrated approach shows learners how different school subjects and all aspects of sustainable development are interrelated and how they are all parts of a larger picture. Together, we build knowledge and power to act for a sustainable future!

Keywords: whole school approach, school development, school management, future teaching, ESD.

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