What is the Green Compass?

Educating for a sustainable world is of utmost importance.  There is a growing need for students who have the knowledge and skills to work towards a sustainable society.

The Green Compass is an instrument that guides you and your educational team in embedding sustainability in the curriculum and the management of the school. It helps you to find common language, it gives insight into the current situation, it makes you and your team find out shared ambitions and what actions should be undertaken to realize your ambitions.

The Green Compass describes four themes. These themes link to the school as an integrated system: education, expertise, organisation and appreciation.

  • Education
  • Expertise
  • Organisation
  • Appreciation


Every theme is devided into four subjects. As a team you decide which subjects you want to discuss. In discussing the subject, you and your team decide whether sustainable development  is merely (ad hoc) or structurally integrated.

To help you out, the Green Compass gives you indicators whether you are in an activity oriented, process oriented, system oriented, chain oriented or society oriented  phase.

Explanation of the five phases

Please click on one of the five phases below for an explanation:

  • Ad hoc.
  • Dependent on individual initiative
  • Implicit: not identified as sustainability, not recorded in any documents

  • Project based
  • Explicit: identified as sustainability and recorded in documents
  • Sustainability next to ‘business as usual’
  • Sustainability is still mostly limited to management or a separate group of teachers within the school

  • Sustainability is interwoven with what previously existed
  • Sustainable thinking and doing is natural within the education programme
  • Students and employees are actively contributing
  • Sustainability can be felt in the building and with the people
  • Goals are set, evaluated and adapted
  • Work is done according to the PDCA cycle: Plan-Do-Check-Act (see user manual)

  • Secondary vocational education (MBO), green higher vocational training (HBO) and regional businesses are involved.

  • The educational programme is actively involved in society.
  • Society is actively involved in the programme
  • The programme sets an example for the region and outside, and is known for her expertise in the field of sustainability.

The Green Compass gives teachers, students and management insight in how far sustainable development is integrated in their school organisation. It helps them in deciding what ambitions they share and in making appointments about how to get there.


Read more about the background of the Green Compass