One factor which has implications for institutions and individuals is the concept of sustainability. The development of a Sustainable Development Education Strategy (SDE) for Yorkshire and Humber is indicative of the growing significance of sustainable development policy and the increasing significance of regionalisation in the planning of education and training. Sustainable development education is only slowly being integrated into the work of formal education institutions and the informal learning process. Taking a theoretical approach derived from ecological and systems thinking, this integration indicates the importance of two things: the need for sustainable development education leadership within organisations and appropriate policies and practices that will enhance, encourage and embed sustainability principles in the consciousness and behaviour of all stakeholders.

Sustainable development education is about the learning needed to maintain and improve our quality of life and the quality of life for generations to come. It is about equipping individuals, communities, groups, businesses and government to live and act sustainably; as well as giving them an understanding of the environmental, social and economic issues involved.

(DETR, 1998)