Developing sustainability in vocational education and training


Vocational education and training for sustainable development promotes competency in sustainable living and economic activities in order to preserve the natural basis of life for future generations. This requires bringing economic, social and ecological responsibility together in a harmonious way.

What can we do at the work bench, in the office or behind the counter in order to promote sustainable development? Which professional skills are necessary for a more sustainability-oriented work model? And what does a place of learning that facilitates these kinds of changes look like?

Transparency and transformation in the sustainable food economy. Collaborative approaches for more sustainability from the resource to the end consumer (Transkoll)

Apr 2015 to Mar 2018

The final goal of this project is to develop and validate a toolbox of instruments and methods for small and medium sized enterprises (KMUs) that help to integrate sustainability in the whole food industry chain. Furthermore, the goal is to learn more about motives of action, structural and psychological barriers – respectively the behavior of the employees and the companies that have business relationships. It will also be evaluated how to establish transparency between the resource and the consumer and how to tackle insufficient consumer willingness to get product information.

SMEs and rural areas under demographic change – opportunities by social-environmental acting? (Regio TransKMU)

Jan 2015 to Dec 2017

Hardly any trend in Germany is discussed as intensely as demographic change. Rural regions will be particularly affected. It intensifies the internal migration already taking place and may lead to negative impacts on regional social structures.  It also exacerbates the existing or expected lack of specialists, which especially affects small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) and therefore the competitiveness of a region. The question emerges: which factors can increase the attractiveness of regions as a place to live and the attractiveness of SMEs as employer in a way that makes people want to stay. Given this context, the research project Regio TransKMU researches whether and how SMEs that act sustainably (in social and environmental terms) can shape rural areas and make them more attractive.

Integrating Employees as Consumers into Sustainability Innovation Processes (IMKoN)

Apr 2015 to Mar 2018

Companies as well as consumers depend on sustainability innovations for contributing to an ecologically, socially and economically sustainable economy. So far, the number of genuine sustainability innovations is, however, still limited in their scope and scale. Open Innovation, that is integrating e.g. customers into the innovation process, is one way of promoting the development and diffusion of sustainability innovations. Plenty of research has been conducted on the integration of customers as consumers by now, yet little attention has been paid to employees in their role as consumers. But there is evidence that employees in their double role as both company members and consumers bear a substantial potential to foster sustainable innovations tailored to the companies’ and the consumers’ needs.

Green Travel Transformation - A model for an integrated transformation process towards sustainable business practices in tourism

May 2015 to Apr 2018

The aim of the project is to significantly increase the share of more sustainable travel options in all booked travel products. Thus it is necessary that such travel products are visible (labelling) and bookable (within the information and booking systems). Targeted consultation by the travel agency staff regarding the realization of sustainable holidays can increase the sense of responsibility, efficiency and potentially sufficiency. Accordingly two aspects can be achieved: The advantages and chances of sustainability become visible to travelers and travelers have the possibility to specifically book sustainable products. Thus the sense of responsibility, efficiency and potentially sufficiency can be combined: The traveler consciously and frequently decides to travel sustainable. Hence travel products will be promoted, which use less resources, are bound to a favorable economic and social contexts and thus better correspond to the sustainability criteria.

The Handprint A complementary measurement of positive sustainability impacts of products

Jun 2015 to May 2018

The Handprint is an innovative and holistic approach to facilitate the measurement, evaluation and communication of the ecological, economic and social sustainability impacts of products.