Key Sustainability Competencies

Education plays a key role in our abilities to act for sustainability by building the key sustainability competencies (KSC). Several KSC frameworks have been provided in order to help better understand how we can provide integrated problem solving competence for sustainability.

Brundiers et al. (2020)
Redman & Wiek (2021)

Integrated problem solving competency is the ability to apply collective problem-solving procedures to complex
sustainability problems: 1) to develop viable sustainability strategies (action plans); and 2) successfully implement them, in collaborative and self-caring ways”

(Redman & Wiek, 2021)

Systems thinking

Ability to apply modeling and complex analytical approaches:

1) to analyze complex systems and sustainability problems across different domains (environmental, social, economic) and across different scales (local to global), including cascading effects, inertia, feedback loops, and other system dynamics;

2) to analyze the impacts of sustainability action plans (strategies) and interventions (how they change systems and problems)”.

(Redman & Wiek, 2021)

Strategic thinking​

Ability to construct and test viable strategies (action plans) for
interventions, transitions, and transformations toward sustainability “.

(Redman & Wiek, 2021)

Futures thinking

Ability to carry out or construct simulations, forecasts, scenarios, and

1) to anticipate future states and dynamics of complex
systems and sustainability problems;

2) to anticipate how sustainability action plans (strategies) might play out in the future (if implemented)”.

(Redman & Wiek, 2021)

Values thinking​

Ability to identify, map, specify, negotiate, and apply sustainability values, principles, and goals:

1) to assess the sustainability of current and/or future states of complex systems;

2) to construct sustainability visions for these systems;

(3) to assess the sustainability of action plans (strategies) and interventions”.

(Redman & Wiek, 2021)

Inter-personal thinking​

Ability 1) to collaborate successfully in inter-disciplinary and
-professional teams; and 2) to involve diverse stakeholders, in
meaningful and effective ways, in advancing sustainability

(Redman & Wiek, 2021)

Intra-personal thinking​

Ability to avoid personal health challenges and burnout in advancing
sustainability transformations through resilience-oriented self-care
(awareness and self-regulation)”.

(Redman & Wiek, 2021)

Implementation competence

Ability to put sustainability strategies (action plans) into action,
including implementation, adaptation, transfer and scaling, in effective and efficient ways”.

(Redman & Wiek, 2021)

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