GreenComp: The European sustainability competence framework

Regenerating nature, respecting biodiversity, ensuring a dignified life for all people is an urgent duty that can no longer be avoided. Giving value to the environment on which depends our future as a species and the future of the planet we live on requires the abandonment of unsustainable practices and an urgent systemic change.

However, this change cannot be achieved only through political agreements, financial incentives, or technological innovations, however essential they may be. Lasting and true change also requires learning, which is crucial to building the present and future of the planet and new generations. Having a common understanding means acting through a shared strategy: understanding, acting and addressing this crisis together.

It is from these considerations that GreenComp was born, the new European framework of competencies on sustainability proposed at the beginning of the year by the European Commission. GreenComp is in fact the actual research of a common vocabulary, a shared horizon, a reference model for dialogue, learning, exchange of good sustainable practices to encourage a ‘participatory action towards a possible future, alternative to build.

The concept of Sustainability given its complex nature is ambiguous and constantly evolving and unilaterally irreducible only to specific fields of knowledge and actions. If by sustainability we mean, as GreenComp indicates “prioritising the needs of all life forms and of the planet by ensuring that human activity does not exceed planetary boundaries”, it is clear that the direction in which the Commission pushes us can only be a systemic and interrelated vision in which environment, society and economy intersect together. To further clarify this ambiguity there is the definition of sustainable competencies ” Empowers learners to embody sustainability values, and embrace complex systems, in order to take or request action that restores and maintains ecosystem health and enhances justice, generating visions for sustainable futures“.  It seems clear the necessary synergistic movement that Europe intends to emphasize: it is necessary to educate civil society and political governance to actions aimed at justice (be it social, environmental, economic) for the health of the planet itself and all beings who inhabit it by maintaining that vital balance improperly and fiercely disrupted by ‘over-exploitation of its resources. It is in this sense that the economy should only be functional to a society and the latter should live in an equal and dignified way within an environment that gives as much as it receives.

But, in order to achieve what today seems to be a sustainable utopia, it is necessary, as always, to start from education and training and, even before that, from a common language and the achievement of those skills – knowledge, attitudes – that allow us to orient ourselves in the complexity in question. For this reason, all twelve competencies illustrated by GreenComp become fundamental in a sort of movement that moves from the inside, from the assumption of sustainable values and their complexity, towards the outside, towards the imagination of collective, participatory, democratic sustainable futures possible only through individual, collective and political actions.

But since the refrain of the holistic vision never abandons us, the end becomes the beginning, the outside, the action starts from GreenComp itself, from the formation with the purpose of the new year to reach everyone regardless of age, education and geography so that the world and the future can be truly participated without leaving anyone behind. So the cover image that is given to us is evocative and symbolic of an eco-systemic balance that is reflected in the horizon of its understanding: a beehive that embodies the values of sustainability (embodying sustainability values), the bees, collective and individual individuals who inhabit and care for it (acting for sustainability) and rest on the flowers (envisioning sustainable futures) that will generate new fruits and new pollen (embracing complexity in sustainability), food for the bees and the foundation of life itself.




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Project Number: 2021-1-ES02-KA220-YOU-000028702