Earth Day 2023: Education trade unions for sustainable future  


Earth Day, celebrated on April 22nd every year, is a global event that highlights the importance of protecting and preserving our planet. Each edition, a new theme is highlighted, and this year it is “Invest in our planet”. For education trade unions, this means investing in education and education personnel. 

ETUCE and its member organisations are celebrating this day by highlighting the crucial role played by education trade unions not only ensuring education about sustainable environmental development is integrated into all levels and aspects of education systems, but also that it is accompanied by sustainable and adequate technical, financial and staff resources and that education staff receive the sufficient professional support to do so. “We fight for social change and the sustainable future of Europe based on a fair and inclusive green transition that leaves no one behind”, says ETUCE European Director Susan Flocken. Education trade unions are at the forefront of this change, as trade unions mobilise for climate justice through initiatives such as webinars, film projections, campaigns, working with wider society and organising round table discussions on “sustainability and urban regeneration” for Earth Day. 

The outcomes of the recent ETUCE project “Education for Social Change: The role of Education Trade Unions in addressing sustainable environmental development” had shown that there is an urgent need to push for the inclusion of environmental development priorities in the social dialogue and collective bargaining negotiations in order to change the rules at the decision level while analysing the topic of climate change from a variety of perspectives: biological, energy, economic, and political, in order to create a social dialogue of proper quality.  

ETUCE member organisations are also working on developing strategies and action plans to engage effectively with environmentally sustainable development and influence ‘green deal’ debates at all policy levels, promoting professional development, actions at the level of education institutions and partnerships with other stakeholders.

With the view to support them in this process and to deepen the  implementation of the ETUCE Practical Guidelines for Education Trade Unions on Addressing Environmental Issues and Sustainable Environmental Development in the Education Sector, ETUCE is organising an online seminar on 5 June 2023, titled “Education trade unions: How to build union’s strategy on environmental sustainability?”. A half-day seminar gives participants the opportunity to propose concrete steps for building a union strategy on environmental sustainability, discuss the various challenges they face in that regard and how to address them, and get inspired by the good practices and tools shared by other participants. Interested member organisations are invited to register through the online registration form by 19 May 2023.