Learning to shape, learning to act

„Learn Sustainability in Frankfurt“ network: an educational environment for sustainable development emerges

Project Profile

Project Title: „Learning Sustainability in Frankfurt” Network

Subject Cluster: Education

Project Start: 2008

Project Objectives: Platform for „Education for Sustainable Development“ in Frankfurt’s education landscape, networking of communal, state and non-state stakeholders, bundling their educational activities. Developing new offers in accordance with the annual topics of  the Decade of „Education for Sustainable Development”, increasing public awareness.

Contact: Monika Krocke, 

Umweltlernen in Frankfurt e.V.


Frankfurt saw participation in the UN Decade of “Education for Sustainable Development“ as an opportunity to familiarise children, young people and adults with sustainable action and, at the same time, anchor the principles of sustainable development in Frankfurt’s educational environment. The “Learn Sustainability in Frankfurt“ network was to achieve both aims.

Making reasonable decisions for the future of a city and finding the right answers to urgent problems like climate change together: this can only succeed if the inhabitants have the necessary know-how. Education for Sustainable Development disseminates not only knowledge, but also skills such as forward-looking thinking and the ability to decide and act autonomously and to participate in societal decision-making processes.

In 2008, Frankfurt’s City Council decided the city should take part in the UN Decade of “Education for Sustainable Development“ and inaugurated the “Fit for the future – Learn Sustainability in Frankfurt“ project. The aim of the project was to set up a broad network to pool the activities of educational institutions, networks, initiatives, churches, clubs and companies. Educational opportunities would be developed in terms of sustainability, impulses given for new projects and public awareness increased. Umwelt lernen in Frankfurt e. V built up and now coordinates this network on behalf of the city.

After taking stock and approaching possible cooperation partners, the “Learn Sustainability in Frankfurt“ network was founded during a symposium in 2008. The driving force behind the network is a steering committee, later known as the “Quality Circle”, nominated by the network. Essentially this consists of Umwelt lernen in Frankfurt e. V., the Municipal Education Authority, the State Education Authority, the Environment Office and the consumer advice centre.

Spreading ideas for more sustainability city-wide

In addition to the changing annual themes of the UN Decade –“ “Water“, “Energy“, “Money“, “City“, “Nutrition“, “Mobility“ and „Bridges to the Future“, city-wide action weeks were organised, with the impetus coming from the respective “Round Tables“.

The annual series of events “21 Days Future“ included learning workshops, such as “What is my (or any ) T-Shirt worth?“, “From wind to electricity“ and “Recycling“.

The nationwide solar race “SolarMobil Deutschland“ took place in 2013 on the Weselerwerft at the foot of the new European Central Bank (ECB).

As part of the “Blaue Tafel“ project in 2014 under the motto “From School garden to Römerberg“, 20 schools presented their products and projects on the subject of nutrition and prepared a meal with Wam Kat, the action cook.

In the “Bridges to the future“ competition, over 50 groups from schools, kindergartens and clubs presented many varied ideas to enhance sustainability. The awards were presented at a ceremony in Frankfurt’s Paulskirche.

A joint website gives information about all the participants and background information on the network. A BNE database offers help in finding events sorted according to target groups.

Prizes for a wide-ranging programme

On several occasions, the German UNESCO Commission has awarded Frankfurt the title of City of the World Decade of “Education for Sustainable Development” for developing innovative structures and for its varied programme. Frankfurt received the award in 2008/2009, 2010/2011 and 2013/2014.

The “School year of Sustainability“ programme was recognised in 2014 as an official initiative of the UN Decade.

The “Bike in Trend“ programme, the Green Belt educational area, the “Energie schlau nutzen!“ learning workshop (“energy cleverly used”) and the “Climate Gourmet“ touring exhibition with the eponymous learning workshop were also recognised as official projects of the decade.

A platform for future projects

“Into the future“ was the theme of the final year of the UN Decade. The title was both a look back and a look forward. The participants in “Education for Sustainable Development“ agree that many of the initiatives started during the Decade must go on and the “Learn Sustainability in Frankfurt“ network will be an appropriate platform for this, as it also played a leading role in the 2015 World programmes of Action “Education for Sustainable Development“.


Communicating knowledge and competence in the field of sustainable development; city-wide action weeks on the annual topics of the UN Decade; ideas competition for schools, kindergartens and clubs.


Broad network bundles the activities of the educational institutions; „Round Tables “ on the changing annual themes; Quality Circle gives impulses and acts as facilitator; website with offers from the participants.

UN Decade

Frankfurt participating in the UN Decade „Education for sustainable development”; multiple UNESCO Commission awards; platform for continuation in the World Action programme.

Environment Department

Monika Krocke

Tel +49 (0)69 212-49079