Austrian Ecolabel awarded to 43 schools

Raising awareness of environmental and climate protection should begin in childhood. In line with this guiding principle, 43 schools throughout Austria were awarded the Austrian Ecolabel for future-oriented educational work.

Raising awareness of environmental and climate protection should begin in childhood. In line with this guiding principle, 43 schools nationwide were awarded the Austrian Ecolabel. The Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology together with the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research awarded the prize for future-oriented educational work.

The foundation for a sustainable development of the living environment of present and future generations is already laid at school. The Austrian Ecolabel was recently awarded to those local schools which are committed to environmentally oriented action and health-promoting measures in high-quality educational work. 43 schools from all nine provinces - from general schools to VET schools - have received the only state-certified environmental label in the education sector in Austria.

"Environmental protection is one of our most important tasks. I am particularly pleased about the unbroken interest and enthusiasm of many pupils to participate and to want to do positive and good things for a climate-friendly future. The right knowledge is therefore central. The Austrian Ecolabel supports schools in creating the structures to integrate environmental education into the classroom", says Climate Protection Minister Leonore Gewessler.

Minister of Education Heinz Faßmann emphasises: "The schools awarded the label play a pioneering role in the fields of environmental protection, social affairs and education for sustainable development. This will certainly also contribute to a better image of the schools and raise their profile in the competition among schools".

By implementing the Ecolabel criteria, the schools make a significant contribution to the United Nations' Agenda 2030 and thus to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Learning for the future

The Ecolabel encourages pupils to think and act in terms of environmental and climate protection and sustainable development. A social school climate in which everyone feels comfortable is a prerequisite for this and is achieved, among other things, through teamwork.

As Austria's largest school with more than 3,200 pupils, the HTL Mödling, for example, has launched the project "bike 2 your future". Secured bicycle parking spaces have been built on the school grounds and at Mödling railway station so that even more school members can switch to bicycles and come to the HTL in a climate-friendly way.

The Primary School at the Vienna International School with pupils from more than 100 countries in turn supports local biodiversity by means of a targeted wild-growing of garden areas. In addition, 3,000 m² of roof area will be converted into a "green roof".

Even small schools such as the St. Johann am Wimberg primary school in Upper Austria set an example for climate protection with freshly prepared regional dishes, jointly created raised beds and exercise days.

Eight schools of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Regions and Tourism, including the HBLFA Fransisco Josephinum in Wieselburg, have also oriented their perspectives towards sustainability and some of them have already been awarded the Austrian Ecolabel several times.

Ecolabel schools in Austria

The Ecolabel for schools and teacher training colleges was awarded for the first time in 2002. Certified schools have to fulfil a comprehensive catalogue of criteria, which includes, for example, measures for environmental management, the integration of environment-related projects into lessons, health promotion and energy saving. The Ecolabel is awarded for a period of four years, after which the implemented requirements are reviewed again. Currently, 121 Austrian schools are certified with the Austrian Ecolabel. In all federal provinces across Austria - from Styria with the most Ecolabel schools to Vorarlberg with the second largest share of Ecolabel-certified schools - an increased awareness of a sustainable lifestyle is created and environmental education is promoted. 42,500 pupils and around 5,160 teachers are committed here to a responsible future.

Note photos: All photos were taken before the COVID-19 measures.