GreenComp: developing skills for a sustainable future

Image: European Commission

GreenComp is a reference framework for sustainability competences at EU level, providing a common ground for learners and educators. It maps out sustainability skills and competences for learners of all ages, from young children to adults, and for all educational settings, formal, non-formal and informal.

Climate change and biodiversity loss need urgent action and long-lasting, systemic change in attitudes, mindsets and practices. Education has a key role to play in shifting our behaviours and beliefs and achieving a fair, sustainable future.

Critical thinking, empathy, responsibility and care are among the competences that need to be fostered through education and learning. Such sustainability competences can empower learners to embrace sustainability in their daily lives, understand complex systems, take or request action for the health of the planet, and become active agents of change.

GreenComp outlines twelve competences grouped into four categories:

  1. embodying sustainability values advocates equity and justice for future generations, while acknowledging that humans are part of the natural world;
  2. embracing complexity in sustainability helps learners become systemic and critical thinkers who approach problems from different perspectives, spot interconnections and question their assumptions and biases;
  3. envisioning sustainable futures empowers learners to imagine alternative scenarios for the future, deal with ambiguity and uncertainty in an adaptable way, experiment and cross disciplinary boundaries;
  4. acting for sustainability involves political engagement as well as collective and individual action.

The document can be used for curriculum design, self-reflection, assessment of existing programmes and policy development, among other things. The framework, developed by the European Commission in cooperation with education experts from across Europe, is currently available in English and will be translated into all official EU languages in the coming months.