European Commission's JRC publishes competence framework on sustainability for lifelong learning; GreenComp provides a common ground for learners, educators on sustainability competences for use in edu­cation/training programs for learners of any age

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BRUSSELS , January 17, 2022 (press release) –

©EU 2022


The Joint Research Centre has published a new European competence framework on sustainability for lifelong learning.

Linked to the proposal for a Council Recommendation on learning for environmental sustainability, also released today, GreenComp provides a common ground to learners and educators on what sustainability as a competence entails.

Acquiring sustainability competences can help children, young people and adults to understand challenges related to climate change and the environment, reflect on their behaviours, and engage in action for a sustainable future.

The GreenComp framework can be used in edu­cation and training programmes in formal, non-formal and informal settings and for learners of any age.

It was developed over the course of 2021 in close collaboration with experts and stakeholders from across Europe and internationally, including research institutions, youth representatives, educators, policy makers and NGOs.

Competences for sustainability

GreenComp consists of four competence areas, each of which having  three competences. All areas and competences are equally important and interlinked:

  • Embodying sustainability values
    • valuing sustainability
    • supporting fairness
    • promoting nature
  • Embracing complexity in sustainability
    • systems thinking
    • critical thinking
    • problem framing
  • Envisioning sustainable futures
    • futures literacy
    • adaptability
    • exploratory thinking
  • Acting for sustainability
    • political agency
    • collective action
    • individual initiative


©EU 2022


Learning for environmental sustainability aims to provide learners with competences to be able to reflect on and embrace sustainability in their daily lives as students, consumers, producers, professionals, activists, policy-makers, neighbours, employees, teachers and trainers, organisations, communities, and society at large.

Sustain­ability competences can help learners to form a knowledge basis, become sys­temic and critical thinkers, as well as having tools and develop agen­cy, useful for everyone who cares about our planet’s present and future.


In the Special Eurobarometer 501 (2020), 90% of Europeans thought that protecting the environment is important. Furthermore, in Eurobarometer 513 (2021), citizens expressed that climate change is the most serious global problem. GreenComp can be one of the answers to these concerns, designed to provide the tools to think, plan, and act for the environment.

Together with the European Commission’s proposal for a Council Recommendation, also published today, and the launch of the Education for Climate Coalition, GreenComp is one of the actions the Commission has put forward to boost policy cooperation and exchange between Member States on education and training for the green transition.

GreenComp addresses the policy objectives as set out in the European Green Deal, the European Skills Agenda (2020), and the European Education Area (2020). Additionally, the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030: ‘Bringing Nature Back into our Lives’ (2020) highlights the important role education and training have for Europe to become a climate-neutral continent by 2050.

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