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Compass Education - The Sustainability Compass

A better world begins with systems thinking in schools.

The Sustainability Compass helps turn sustainability from something 'extra' to an extra-ordinary opportunity for transformative teaching and learning. This simple tool is accessible to any K-12 educator and in every subject, it requires no technology or in-depth training, develops critical 21st century skills and integrates systems thinking practices to build student agency for a better world.

HundrED 2024


HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED Global Collection 2024

Web presence






Target group
June 2023
When educators use systems thinking to guide their students, they become active changemakers in the movement to transform education from a collection of isolated subjects to integrated contextual learning. Systems thinking empowers students as curious innovators and supports them with the skills they need to feel engaged, hopeful and prepared to work together to build a more sustainable world.

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

The innovation was originally developed for corporate and government implementation. In 2010 a group of educators received permission to adapt the tools for educational use. They recognised the importance of integrating systems thinking habits and practices in schools if we hoped to truly prepare students for the future, accomplish systemic change and contribute to a more sustainable world.

What does your innovation look like in practice?

The Sustainability Compass is a systems thinking tool that supports educators with the integration of holistic sustainability into their curriculum rather than a knowledge set or data-backed curriculum. The Sustainability Compass uses four Compass Points (NESW) - Nature, Society, Economy, and Wellbeing- to identify systems elements and map their interconnections to support students to visualise complexity and identify leverage points for change.

In the classroom, the practice of systems thinking fosters vital social-emotional competencies such as self-awareness, relationships with others, and connectedness to the broader world. As learners recognize their innate interdependence with their communities, they are increasingly motivated to act to sustain them. The Sustainability Compass integrates easily into existing K-12 curricula and is already being used by thousands of educators around the globe. The Sustainability Compass is a copyrighted tool, free to use in nonprofit education.

How has it been spreading?

Compass Education is a movement of committed volunteer educators dedicated to building a better world through teaching skills for systems thinking and sustainability in schools. The movement has spread to 96 countries, 200+ schools and boasts 2800+ trained educators. In the last two years, Compass Education has worked to create the organisational structure and digital platform to support the rapid dissemination of systems tools in K-12 education and in multiple contexts.

Today, Compass Education is positioned to grow exponentially and in the next 2-3 years we hope to accomplish scale through partnerships and foundation funding that allows us to make available our learning resources in multiple languages and provide training in socio-economic-cultural diverse contexts.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

The Compass Education website provides easy access points to begin to use the Sustainability Compass, including a free introductory course as well as hundreds of crowd sourced resources and lesson plans. Educators who would like more formal training of the full suite of systems thinking tools can contact Compass Education through their website or reach out directly to

Impact & scalability

HundrED Academy Reviews

This project is just like the WHOLE piece on a 'plate.' Given that it connects with every other discipline, it allows for the deeper learning we have all clamoured for, allowing society to join her own education.

The Sustainability Compass has already reached 96 countries, 200+ schools and boasts 2800+ trained educators, and has potential greater scale and impact through government partnerships and adoption beyond philanthropic funding.

- Academy member
Academy review results
Read more about our selection process

Implementation steps

Learn more with the Compass Education free course
Start with our FREE course ( to learn how to use the Sustainability Compass or watch this descriptive video (
Check out our Lesson Plans and Resources
Sort through our free database of hundreds of educator sourced lesson plans to see how other educators have used the Sustainability Compass. You can sort by grade or subject and we add new resources every month.
Use it!
The Sustainability Compass can be integrated into your personal life or teaching practice easily and with no formal training. We encourage you to try it out!
Formalize your training with Compass Education
Learn the tips and tricks of using the Sustainability Compass and dive deep into using other systems thinking tools in your classroom by attending online or in person training from Compass Education. You can find more information by visiting the course page of our website.

Spread of the innovation

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