CDN’s Lead of Curriculum and Teaching Suzanne Marshall explains what Scotland’s colleges have been doing to demonstrate learning for sustainability in policy, practice, curriculum and the college environment. 

Climate Emergency

Colleges are taking ambitious steps to enhance sustainability and tackle the global climate emergency, backed by the college sector Climate Emergency Expert Group (CEEG); a partnership of colleges and national agencies committed to achieving net zero for carbon emissions in our national education system.

Scotland’s colleges are working together to reduce their impact on our environment and their dependence on disposable plastic materials. From August 2020, all of the country’s colleges will commit to removing single-use plastic beverage containers from their retail facilities.
Collectively colleges have an ambition to go further faster. Beyond removing beverage plastics, colleges will also be exploring ways to replace other disposable items in the near future.

Sustainability Champions

A College Learning for Sustainability Champions programme has been developed to support and enable colleges to develop a whole institution approach to sustainability in the curriculum.

A pilot programme was successfully completed by Dundee and Angus College staff in May 2019 and CDN is now working with Learning for Sustainability Scotland and EAUC Scotland to offer another two colleges access to this exciting, free 10-week programme. West Lothian College and Forth Valley College have been selected to go through this programme simultaneously to enable learning and engagement between both institutions.

Sustainable Development Goals

In July 2015, Scotland became one of the first countries in the world to adopt the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Scotland’s National Performance Framework and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) share the same aims. For more information on embedding the SDG’s into individual colleges and across the sector, please visit:

Partnership Working

CDN is working with EAUC Scotland, Learning for Sustainability Scotland, Scottish Government, schools, colleges, universities and the third sector to support leadership for sustainability at all levels, skills and knowledge sharing and learning, teaching and engagement.

Resources and Information

The following resources give a flavour of what is happening around Scotland and where you can get more information and learning resources.

Sustainability Summit at West Lothian College, 11 March 2020

Laura Young of Less Waste Laura opened the Sustainability Summit by urging staff and students to do one thing – to use less!

Cameron Mackay shared his five top tips to make the world more sustainable:

  1. Slow down
  2. Listen to others
  3. Take personal action
  4. Imagine a future
  5. Encourage each other


Students organised a mini ‘Swishing’ event where you bring items you no longer wear and exchange them for something new.


Cycling is an environmentally friendly sport and West Lothian Bike Library were on hand to demonstrate their bikes, e-bikes, hybrid and adaptive bikes for all abilities.


Local and community organisations promoting Fairtrade and sustainable goods and services were invited to take part in the College Marketplace.

Creative Enterprise

Students worked hard to up-cycle some of the college waste (wood, plastic, glass) from different departments to create a variety of beautiful goods.

Climate Change

Pebble Magazine has compiled a list of the Top 10 climate change documentaries. Whether you want to educate yourself more about climate change or be amazed by the beauty of the natural world, there is a film here for you and your students.


WOSDEC, West of Scotland Development Education Centre Podcast Series, is full of interesting stories for global citizens inside and outside the classroom! Each fortnightly episode is packed with ideas, inspiration and insight into the world around us.

Virtual Meets

EAUC offers an informal sharing series where staff in colleges and universities can share their experiences, debate and ask questions connected to sustainability. Next meets are:

6 May: Sustainable Food Policy and Growing
3 June: Toxic free cleaning and herbicides

Share This Story

Tags: , , , , , , ,

You may also be interested in