Responsible Futures is a whole-institution supported change programme and accreditation mark to embed sustainability across all aspects of student learning.
We’ve developed the Responsible Futures externally-assessed accreditation mark (audited by students) to assist tertiary education institutions in helping students gain the skills and experience needed to thrive as global citizens. We actively support partnerships between students’ unions and institutions through a structured framework of criteria to encourage action on embedding sustainability, inclusive of climate justice, into formal and informal learning. This is the only framework of its kind that maps out the organisational innovation and enhancement required, spanning top down, middle out and bottom up level change, to achieve whole institution engagement with sustainability learning.
We need an education system which equips graduates with the necessary competencies to face and address the climate and ecological emergency and deliver on climate justice, to avoid repeating mistakes of our past. By following the Responsible Futures framework, partnerships are signposted towards and supported to realise institutional changes needed to develop a learning experience which supports graduates to develop the knowledge and understanding, skills, and attributes to actively contribute to a socially just response to the climate crisis. Education is a force for social good, and it should benefit the whole of society: Responsible Futures aims to ensure tertiary education's impact is both positive and transformational..
The Responsible Futures framework assists partnerships (made up of institutions and students' unions) to legitimise and mainstream education for sustainable development as a tool for delivering an education, which enables all learners and educators to realise their potential as global citizens. The 45 criteria used in Responsible Futures provide a roadmap for actions - they are not prescriptive and seek to recognise individual partnerships' different approaches.
The criteria within the framework cover key themes including benchmarking, leadership & strategy, policy & commitment, interventions and outreach. Partnerships are supported throughout to implement the actions and deliver key impacts and outcomes.
Findings from partnerships who have achieved the accreditation to date have indicated that Responsible Futures has provided:
The Responsible Futures mark is awarded to institutions following their student-led audit. This mark is a demonstrable commitment to embedding sustainability across all aspects of student learning.
Responsible Futures is accepted by the People and Planet University League as a recognised framework for Education for Sustainable Development. Demonstrating active participation in the accreditation programme and change framework provides 25% of the scoring for the University League's section 9, 2a. Education for Sustainable Development.
"People & Planet will look for evidence of the framework on the university website and check the status with NUS Responsible Futures directly."
The Responsible Futures is signposted as a step to climate action in the FE Climate Action Roadmap, the HE Climate Action Toolkit by the Climate Commission for UK Further and Higher education and the HEA QAA ESD Guidance.
Additionally, Responsible Futures counts toward Times Higher Education Impact Rankings and EAUC's Sustainability Leadership Scorecard.
Participating partnerships are encouraged to add the Responsible Futures logo to their web pages to highlight adoption and engagement with the framework.
Since its pilot in 2014, over 35 institutions and students' unions have participated in Responsible Futures, representing nearly 600,000 students across the UK.
Responsible Futures Partnerships are encouraged and supported to make use of this extensive network of partnerships representing a broad range of experiences with embedding sustainability in learning, and share learning between partnerships through regular network catch up calls, support afternoons and webinars.
For more information on any element of Responsible Futures, please email email@example.com.
October 26, 2022
SOS-UK are delighted to announce our 2022-23 Host Partnerships for Responsible Futures – University of Derby and Students’ Union and University of West England and Students’ Union.
July 28, 2022
Read more about British Academy and SOS-UK's work to support arts and humanities students to use their knowledge and skills to solve real life sustainability problems.
July 19, 2022
We are excited to launch our offer for Further Education (FE) and Higher Education (HE) students’ unions for 2022/23.
July 13, 2022
Our unique online toolkit software is getting an upgrade
May 17, 2022
Read more about the 2022 Sustainable Development Goals Teach In - our biggest Teach In yet!
April 19, 2022
We are delighted to launch our tertiary education offer for 2022-23
March 28, 2022
Read about Glasgow School of Art's "Meat is Methane" project brief - an excellent example of Education for Sustainable Development.
February 18, 2022
Learn more about our new workshop, Decolonising, Decarbonising and Democratising education, and why these processes are crucial in realising climate justice.
December 17, 2021
Introducing the Host Partnership of 2021-22 - Manchester Metropolitan University and Students' Union.
December 6, 2021
The 2022 SDG Teach In is launching! The campaign calls on educators to pledge to include the SDGs, in their teaching and learning and will take place 21st February- 4th March, 2022.
August 16, 2021
An overview of the 2020-2021 Responsible Futures programme including support from Host Partnerships and updates on accreditations.
July 22, 2021
Work with us in 2021-22, to respond to student demand and progress your ESD work.
June 21, 2021
Students, student representatives, educators and education professionals are calling on Education Ministers at their meeting on 22nd June 2021, in Sicily, to make climate education a priority.
April 27, 2021
SOS-UK is excited to launch our new and revamped tertiary education offer for 2021/22.
April 13, 2021
UCEM-led webinar on Senior Leadership for Responsible Futures on sharing the importance of senior leadership support and top-down change to advance sustainability learning across a whole institution.
March 22, 2021
This year, our host Responsible Futures partnerships De Montfort University and Students’ Union and the University College of Estate Management (UCEM) have been delivering webinars.