Learning for Sustainability and Community Learning and Development (CLD)


Emerging out of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no doubt that we face accelerated challenges to our society, environment and economy. There are increasing concerns about local and global inequalities,  how we generate energy, produce and consume food, travel, and manage waste. Learning for Sustainability, is a Scottish Government and international priority for every type of learning.

Learning for Sustainability is learning to live within the environmental limits of our planet and to build a just, equitable and peaceful society. It is essential for the well-being of all and is an international priority. (UNESCO, 2013)

CLD practice makes a significant contribution to Learning for Sustainability, and we are seeking nominations to recognise and celebrate this through the new Learning for Sustainability Awards. The deadline for nominations is 12th September 2021.

Find out more and nominate here: https://www.learningforsustainabilityawards.co.uk/

How Good is Our School 4? (2015) explains that Learning for Sustainability (LfS) is an approach to life and learning which enables learners, educators, schools and their wider communities to build a socially-just, sustainable and equitable society. An effective whole school and community approach to LfS weaves together global citizenship, sustainable development education, outdoor learning and children’s rights to create coherent, rewarding and transformative learning experiences. CLD has significant experience in supporting learners and communities to engage in these areas.

Whilst it is crucial to acknowledge that part of Learning for Sustainability is about climate change and protecting the environment, it’s also about building communities we are happy to live in, ensuring our children grow up to be responsible citizens in a fair and equitable society and working to ensure the wellbeing of all.

Consistent with the principles of Community Learning and Development, Learning for Sustainability is involved with every level and type of learning and the provision of quality education for all. This encompasses a wide range of themes and approaches across all forms of education, demonstrated on the word cloud below:


Learning for Sustainability has a key role in building the values, attitudes, knowledge, skills and confidence that people need to live more sustainable lives and contribute to sustainability – locally, nationally and globally. This means learning through taking collective action on socially relevant social and environmental issues in ways that are inclusive, participative and build strong values and relationships within communities – offering clear links to the principles, ethics and values of community learning and development. As highlighted in the

Code of Ethics for Community Learning and Development (CLD) Clause 2: ‘Our work is not limited to facilitating change within individuals, but extends to their social context and environment. It recognises the impact of ecological and structural forces on people’.

Professional Learning opportunities and resources to support practice can be found at the following link:

A summary of learning for sustainability resources | Learning resources | National Improvement Hub (education.gov.scot)

Countdown to COP26 – Information and resources for the CLD Sector | Learning resources | National Improvement Hub (education.gov.scot)

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