Building Sustainability Literacy

We define sustainability literacy as the knowledge and mindset that help compel an individual to become deeply committed to building a sustainable future and that allow him or her to make informed and effective decisions to this end.

Our observation is that sustainability professionals still generally operate in a relatively small bubble of like-minded individuals and/or face major challenges in engaging their colleagues, customers, employees, investors and others who are often not as sustainability literate. Many more people need to realize the seriousness of the sustainability crisis we face, the integrated nature of our social, environmental and economic challenges, and the fundamentals of sustainability science.

This is The Natural Step’s core capability. Through our learning programs and within our advisory service engagements, we have proven over the years to be extremely effective at helping individuals with diverse worldviews to see the sustainability challenge differently and to understand its relevance to them and their work.

We put our experience and capabilities in sustainability learning in the service of a bigger collective mandate – to build sustainability literacy in Canada. We believe that raising the level of sustainability literacy in Canada is vitally important to accelerate the transition to a sustainability society.

In addition to the work that we do directly through our public courses, advisory services, and sustainability transition labs, we also undertake projects in collaboration with strategic partners. Current activity includes:

  • The Sustainable Professional Association Initiative: In collaboration with Strandberg Consulting, we support Associations to either begin or enhance the inclusion of sustainability competencies within the Association’s professional development or professional qualifications.


  • The Sustainability Literacy Test: In collaboration with academics, policy makers, and other teaching and learning experts, we are working towards the next versions of a test that will measure a participant’s level of sustainability literacy while providing that participant with access to new information, reports, tools and concepts upon completion of the test.

Please contact Tamara Connell at tconnell(at) if you would like to learn more about our intentions and explore collaborative opportunities related to building sustainability literacy.

Related blogs: