Education for Sustainable Development

As a University, our greatest contribution to sustainability solutions comes from the students we nurture to become the researchers and business leaders of the future.

Economics students in lecture theatre

We take the responsibility of preparing students for the world of work seriously. Regardless of their course, our students need to understand the challenges and opportunities sustainability provides. We're committed to providing a rounded education, ensuring that all of our graduates leave Sheffield with the knowledge and skills to make a difference in their chosen profession.

What is Education for Sustainable Development?

Our aspiration is to equip our students with the knowledge, skills, values and attributes needed to work and live in a way that will bring about solutions to the urgent environmental, economic and social challenges that we face. We're working to embed Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) into the Sheffield student experience, both within the formal curriculum and in their wider student experience while at Sheffield.

ESD takes a holistic definition of sustainability, as set out by the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. It aims to make sustainability relevant to all students, no matter what subject they study, and help to produce conscious and informed global graduates. While it can include measures to combat the climate emergency, depending on degree subject, it might also include: climate justice, disaster risk reduction, biodiversity, poverty reduction, sustainable consumption, human rights, social equality and responsible citizenship. 

Latest progress

In May 2021 we developed and published the Sheffield Five-Step Framework for Education for Sustainable Development. Developed by Dr Caroline Hart in the School of Education, the Five-Step Framework offers a step-by-step guide for embedding Education for Sustainable Development across the institution.

This framework is now being used by departments to embed ESD in their courses. Many departments and courses already have sustainability as a core focus, but for others this process may take longer. We're investing in resources and guidance to help develop our institutional understanding of ESD and the priorities of our students. You can find more guidance and resources on ESD on our Elevate webpages

Read our Five-Step Framework for ESD (554 KB, PDF)

Our sustainability strategy

We have set the principles and direction for our sustainability strategy