10. Education and Training

//10. Education and Training

10. Education and Training

Recommendation: Provide education and training for health, social and environmental sustainability

Past thinking and approaches about our relationship with nature and how to achieve prosperity need revision, as evidenced by the fact that we are destroying the planetary system that supports us, whilst widening divides between the ‘have’ and the ‘have-nots’. New ways of thinking and approaches are needed, based on a ‘triple-win’ mindset, which would encourage individuals to consider the systems they are part of and how their actions impact on others and the world around them, and foster understanding and ownership of actions for greater sustainability. Approaches based on this thinking must be incorporated into teacher training, introduced into school curricula and incorporated in all aspects of professional development, including for the “leaders of tomorrow”. In half of the focus groups conducted in the context of INHERIT case studies, participants expressed the wish for further training or education in relation to the ‘triple-win’ practices.

Voices from INHERIT

A wide range of implementors of the INHERIT Case Studies expressed a desire for further training and education. They mentioned training for teachers in relation to urban gardens (Green Gyms and Meat Free Mondays) or to train older people to become mentors for children in urban gardens (GemuseAckerdemie). Others wanted to train children to become multipliers of energy efficiency education (Energy Efficiency), or to train farmers how to become part of cooperatives (PROVE).

Education! In 3 years’ time, I would like to have a campus in collaboration with a university of applied sciences: NVH. Also includes green social work. In education there must be pre-sorting on these kinds of initiatives.

The Food Garden, The Netherlands

What can be done? Insights from INHERIT

National and sub-national   EU level
  • Nature-based learning programmes can have multiple benefits, putting children in touch with and sensitising them about nature, whilst improving health and social and emotional development. Such programmes can help to take forward not just the Sustainable Development Goals, but also Articles 27 and 32 of The Convention on the Rights of The Child (UN General Assembly, 1989), which recognise the significance of young people’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development.
  • To be effective, they must be mainstreamed into school curricula, and teacher training curricula. (Green Gyms & Meat Free Monday; GemüseAckerdemie; Sustainable Food in Public Schools)
  • Encourage business schools and business training programmes to design and integrate new economic models that put sustainability and the ‘triple-win’ at the heart. Ensure these models also incorporate new norms around ‘work-life’ balance. (See Recommendation 6 on private sector guidance)
  • More generally, make interdisciplinary learning, and cross-cultural experiences a compulsory component of further education.
  • Support training for business leads and employers on ‘environmental and social accounting’ and on ‘new ways of doing things’, for instance by providing new sustainability-oriented templates for routine tasks.
  • Support trainings on sustainability issues, new models of economic thinking, and the underlying determinants of health and well-being across professions (e.g. finance experts, urban and transport planners, environment, health and medical professionals, as well as policymakers) and encourage more intersectoral approaches to address these.
  • Support measures that improve people’s capability, opportunity and motivation to make sustainable and healthy choices (for instance clear food labelling or apps indicating both health and sustainability credentials (See Recommendation 9 on behaviour change, and Questionmark).
  • Support measures to ensure people can enjoy a good work-life balance, like a four-day work week, to give them time to engage in actions that support the ‘triple-win’.
  • Education and training goals are part of the EU 2020 strategic agenda, but should be developed for transitioning to sustainability through 2030. The EU Education Area and the EC’s work on the Framework for Basic Skills and Key Competencies in Education, including early childhood education and life-long learning, should commit to upgrading learning for the new sustainable economy. The new plans for an EU Education Area Support can offer integrated education and training programmes that develop and mainstream new economic models and approaches to sustainability, and efforts to evaluate impacts, showcase good practice and compare results across countries and localities.
  • Integrate INHERIT triple-win recommendations within recommendations on educational system reform in European Semester processes and related support programmes.
  • Support and exchange good practices in professional and specialist training programmes and curricula.
  • New ways of living, moving, consuming and working require new skills and abilities for all in equitable and sustainable communities, societies and states. Building digital literacy from early years through life, including health and sustainability elements, will be key.
  • EU strategies and programmes, including the Digital Europe and the ESF+ programme for skills and inclusion, can be vital to achieve this and contribute towards triple-win aims, EU strategic goals and priorities and global Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Promote a strong implementation action plan for the European Pillar of Social Rights, reflecting the principle of Health in All Policies.


INHERIT triple-win case studies

More information on the INHERIT case studies can be found in the Annex: triple-win case studies

Green Gyms & Meat Free Monday and GemüseAckerdemie

Two nature-based school interventions delivering multiple benefits, for instance developing children’s connection with nature and their appreciation for food, impacting positively on their physical health as well as their mental health and wellbeing by enhancing social interaction. Green Gyms was particularly beneficial for children struggling with work in the classroom.

Sustainable Food in Public Schools

Initiative providing education and training to teachers, kitchen staff and parents on healthy sustainably-produced diets. Assessed as economically beneficial (the potential benefits exceed the costs in a ratio of approximately six to one).

INHERIT Promising practice database


IT tool (website and apps) that scores products on the basis of health, environment, human rights and animal welfare considerations. It covers products available in a number of affiliated supermarket chains in the Netherlands.

Additional Reading from INHERIT

Report: Policy Road Map

Francesca Grossi, Rosa Strube, Arlind Xhelili & Ingrid Stegeman (2018) An INHERIT policy roadmap: Effective interventions towards healthier, more equitable and environmentally sustainable European societies

2020-01-17T12:46:02+01:00November 21, 2019|Keys themes|Comments Off on 10. Education and Training