Free Sustainability Courses By The United Nations

by | Nov 4, 2023 | Sustainability, Sustainable Development

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The UN has come to light as a source of information and action in an era characterized by environmental issues and the urgent need for global sustainability. The UN has made a big step by providing free sustainability courses, realizing the importance of giving people and communities the tools they need to combat climate change and advance sustainable development. These free sustainability courses by the United Nations are evidence of the UN’s dedication to promoting a more sustainable future by making education more widely available and enabling people to take meaningful action for the environment.

Which are the Free Sustainability Courses By The United Nations?

The importance of free sustainability courses by the United Nations and their potential to create a more inclusive and sustainable future for everybody are discussed below:

Which are the Free Sustainability Courses By The United Nations?

1. The SDG Primer

The Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 represent a paradigm change. It necessitates comprehending and communicating a narrative on the significance and worth of sustainable development, the linkage between the SDGs and different sectors, and the steps necessary to attain them.

The UN system will support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the SDG Primer seeks to create a shared understanding and methodology for this purpose. It is intended to guide all UN initiatives and activities, including their interactions with partners in the public and private sectors.

Contents of Course: The SDG Primer Course comprises of:

  • The SDG Primer Online Module
  • Assessment Quiz

Participants will receive certificates after course completion.

Course Duration: 3 hours

2. Applying Integrated Policy Approaches to Accelerate the 2030 Agenda

This technical free sustainability course by the United Nations aims to provide UN staff, decision-makers, and development professionals with shared methods and valuable instruments for expediting the implementation of the SDGs through policy integration. With assistance from the UN System Staff College, UNDP and UNICEF created this course. It targets technical development professionals who carry out 2030 Agenda-related activities and projects locally.

Course Contents: There are four modules in it:

  • Applying Integrated Policy Approaches to Accelerate the 2030 Agenda.
  • Assessing SDG Alignment.
  • Identifying SDG Accelerators.
  • Enabling SDG Coherence and Coordination.

Course Duration: 4.5 hours

3. Good Governance in Quality Infrastructure

Comprising seven modules, the Good Governance training program helps Quality Infrastructure organizations establish their governance frameworks and provide direction for their day-to-day operations. It raises knowledge of the effects of Industry 4.0 technologies on Quality Infrastructure organizations and teaches the fundamentals of good governance and identifying stakeholders and their strategies. It also offers examples of tools that companies might incorporate into their governance frameworks. With the Good Governance in Quality Infrastructure training, the inspection directorate might employ you, a national standards agency that creates product standards, a product testing facility, or a Quality Infrastructure specialist. You might be doing a product test in a lab.

Course Contents: The seven training modules provide clear theoretical and practical advice for Good Governance tasks.

  • Good Governance for QI in the Context of Quality Policy & Sustainability Strategy
  • Good Governance Approaches, Tools, Techniques & Technologies
  • Stakeholder Identification, Communication & Engagement
  • Good Governance Models & Governance with Agility, Resilience & Security
  • Information Governance, QI in the Era of Industry 4.0 & Digital Transformation
  • Transition Roadmap & Action Plans
  • Motivation & Recognition in the Context of Sustainability Strategy & Quality Infrastructure

Course Duration: 1 day

4. Introduction to Eco-Industrial Parks: Planning and Implementing Eco-Industrial Park Approaches

The goal of this UNIDO Eco-Industrial Parks (EIP) program is to establish a shared knowledge base on eco-industrial parks that is in line with the International Framework for Eco-Industrial Parks, which the World Bank, GIZ, and UNIDO created. Participants in this course will understand the opportunities, difficulties, and success factors associated with mainstreaming EIPs in their nations by learning about the essential resources and tools that can assist with identifying, developing, and implementing EIP approaches in industrial parks.

Course Contents: The seven modules of the online course include interactive activities, links to additional reading, and the EIP toolkit—a collection of adaptable, customizable tools that help practitioners develop EIP projects and initiatives.

  • Introduction to EIPs
  • EIP Opportunity Assessment
  • EIP Management
  • Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP)
  • Industrial Synergies
  • EIP Concept Planning
  • Implementation of EIP opportunities

Course Duration: 6-7 hours

5. SDG Finance Academy E-Learning Program

Experts in UNDP sustainable finance worked together to create these user-friendly course modules covering various topics, including impact management, insurance and risk financing, and SDG budgeting. The self-paced e-learning modules facilitate the development of skills in various aspects of sustainable finance, allowing learners to comprehend fundamental ideas and the multiple instruments and methods involved in leveraging sustainable finance to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Course Contents: These free sustainability courses by the United Nations cover all four of UNDP’s additional sustainable finance service offerings and are available for learners to explore.

  • Public Finance for the SDGs
  • Unlocking Private Capital and Aligning Business Operations for the SDGs
  • SDG Impact Management and Finance Tracking
  • Integrated National Financing Frameworks and Country Portfolios

Course Duration: Approx. 2 hours per course

6. Macroeconomics of Climate Change: Science, Economics & Policies

The IMF’s Institute for Capacity Development, Fiscal Affairs Department, Research Department, and Strategy, Policy, and Review Department offers this online course as the first of six installments in the “Macroeconomics of Climate Change (MCCx)” series.

Course Contents: In this free sustainability course by the United Nations, you will discover the principles of global climate action, the science and economics of climate change, and the IMF’s approach to addressing climate change challenges.

Following this training, learners ought to be able to:

  • Determine the sources and kinds of emissions, the physical effects of climate change, and its causes.
  • Describe the overall effects of climate change on human welfare and the economy.
  • Describe the advancements, difficulties, and chances in the international frameworks for addressing climate-related issues.
  • Justify and describe the IMF’s approach to working with member nations on climate change challenges.

Course Duration: 1 week

7. Decent Work and Economic Growth: Achieving SDG8

UNU-WIDER is thrilled to provide a brand-new massive open online course (MOOC) titled “Decent Work and Economic Growth: achieving SDG 8.” This six-week course will examine recent UNU-WIDER research on structural transformation, the developer’s dilemma, and changing informal work and livelihoods—including results about COVID-19’s impact. To attain SDG 8, policymakers can use the research insights provided by this course to encourage comprehensive and sustainable economic growth, full and fruitful employment, and decent work for all.

Course Contents: The MOOC on decent labor and economic growth will be taught by an instructor. Learners can access various learning resources, such as lecture videos, necessary and elective texts, video interviews, and mini-documentaries. They will also be able to show what they have learned by taking an exam and engaging in global group discussions on the discussion board.

  • Which fresh avenues for structural change are open to us?
  • Why does the informal economy have to be reconsidered?
  • How do we resolve the problem facing developers while preventing growing inequality?
  • Where are employees in the employment hierarchy, and how can they move them to higher positions?

Attending this training will enable you to:

  • Learn from eminent development economics and policy researchers and practitioners to get insights from top authorities.
  • Explore cutting-edge research on SDG 8 and related topics by exploring UNU-WIDER’s most recent research initiatives.
  • Engage with a varied network of academics, development workers, and policymakers to foster global linkages.
  • Motivate good change using evidence-based knowledge to create and implement policies supporting fair labor practices and economic expansion.

Course Duration: 6 weeks

8. Digital4Sustainability Learning Path

In cooperation with GIZ, the EU, the Coalition for Digital Environmental Sustainability (CODES), the Office of the UN Technology Envoy, and the UN System Staff College (UNSSC), the UNEP and UNSSC jointly established the Digital4Sustainability Learning Path. The content is based on the CODES Action Plan for a Sustainable Planet in the Digital Age. The Digital4Sustainability Learning Path investigates how technological innovations and solutions may revolutionize how environmental and social sustainability is advanced. Specifically, how can digital technology fuel the green transition, and how can the digital transition be green?

Course Contents: The learning path comprises four modules, which are:

  • Digital Transformation for Sustainable Development
  • Digital Sustainability for Climate Action
  • Digital Sustainability for Nature Protection
  • Digital Sustainability for Pollution Prevention

After completing the learning path successfully, participants will comprehend:

  • Key concepts include digital sustainability, digital transformation, and digitalization.
  • The contribution of the digital revolution to addressing the triple global crises of pollution, climate change, and loss of natural areas.
  • How to use a systems approach to maximize the potential of digital transformation to advance sustainability?
  • The drawbacks of digital transformation and strategies for reducing them to maintain sustainability.

Course Duration: 3 hours

9. Thought Leadership Course: Synergizing Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adoption

You will learn the essentials of utilizing the partnership between Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in this thought leadership module, which was created in collaboration with the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR). You will also gain insight from those leading the way in comprehensive disaster and climate risk management. UNSSC online courses are made to maximize learning outcomes by using carefully selected, superior course materials. This free sustainability course by the United Nations includes interactive scenarios, case studies, and a self-paced study module for applied learning. The course offers practical case studies of nations that have combined disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation to maximize limited resources and build resilience.

Course Contents:

  • Understanding synergies and the rationale behind it.

Lesson 1: Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation: Identifying the connections.

Lesson 2: Understanding the need for a synergized approach.

  • Journeys to harnessing DRR-CCA synergies

Lesson 3: Promising beginnings: Harnessing synergies.

Lesson 4: Advancing the process: integrated approaches at the implementation level.

Lesson 5: Building durable synergies across dimensions

Activity: Simulating scenarios to bring DRR and CCA closer

  • Final reflections on synergized approaches to DRR and CCA

Lesson 6: Opportunities for enhanced synergies

Key messages

After finishing this course successfully, participants ought to:

  • Recognize the connections between DRR and CCA.
  • Possess the ability to describe how DRR and CCA integrate.
  • Determine best practices for integrating and implementing DRR-CCA.
  • Encourage more alterations in mindsets and actions towards amalgamating catastrophe risk mitigation and climate change adaptation.

Course Duration: 2 hours

10. Introduction to Standards and Sustainability

Participants will learn about sustainability and standards in this free sustainability course by the United Nations. Specifically, the course will cover voluntary sustainability standards (VSS) and how businesses might implement them. The course examines the benefits of sustainability from a business standpoint and the costs and advantages of being VSS-certified for businesses. It emphasizes that certification requires ongoing participation rather than a one-time investment.

Course Contents: The Course comprises of:

  • What are Standards?
  • Voluntary Standards
  • The Difference between Voluntary Sustainability Standards
  • How does certification work?
  • The benefits and cost of certification
  • Case study exercise

Upon course completion, participants will be able to:

  • Recognize the functions of sustainability and standards in business, especially in global trade.
  • Understand the aspects of VSS pertinent to businesses, such as the product, geographic, and sustainability scopes.
  • Analyze the various expenses and advantages of obtaining a VSS certification.

Course Duration: 4 hours

Bottom Line

Free sustainability courses by the United Nations are crucial to a more sustainable and knowledgeable world. These courses demonstrate the UN’s commitment to the worldwide pursuit of sustainability and providing essential knowledge. The UN’s global education program on this vital issue has made a new generation of environmentally conscious leaders and change-makers possible. As students interact with the issues and solutions covered in these courses, they will be ready to act as change agents and promote a more peaceful cohabitation with the environment. The idea of an inclusive and sustainable future becomes more than just a possibility with the help of these free sustainability courses.


Q1. SDG Certification: What is it?

It enables cities to ensure they are on the path of sustainable development by checking, evaluating, understanding, and acting in this way. The certification procedure focuses on specific goals and acknowledges program accomplishment at every level to achieve the SDG effect.

Q2. How many UN sustainable development goals are there?

With 169 targets, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) surpass the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in scope and depth by addressing the underlying causes of poverty and the universal need for development that benefits everyone.

Q3. In business, why is sustainability important?

Sustainability is crucial in business because it enhances long-term profitability, mitigates risks, and fosters a positive reputation. It helps companies meet the present generation’s needs without bargaining the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Also Read: Best Online ESG Courses



  • Dr. Emily Greenfield

    Dr. Emily Greenfield is a highly accomplished environmentalist with over 30 years of experience in writing, reviewing, and publishing content on various environmental topics. Hailing from the United States, she has dedicated her career to raising awareness about environmental issues and promoting sustainable practices.

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1 Comment

  1. Luis tello

    Economista senior con más de 35 años de experiencia en Gestión Social, Planeamiento Estratégico y Desarrollo Sostenible en Perú y América Latina.

    En referencia a los temas socio-ambientales, relacionados con las etapas de pre-construcción, construcción y puesta en operación de los proyectos energéticos, ha logrado la obtención de las licencias sociales conduciendo los procesos de comunicación temprana y permanente con las familias y las organizaciones del área de influencia directa e indirecta de dichos proyectos; construyendo espacios de diálogo y escucha; diseñando e implementando programas de negociación y compensación por el uso de tierras; diseñando estrategias de reasentamiento y adquisición de tierras; formulando programar amas de desarrollo, no asistenciales, con las familias beneficiarias; cooperando con los gobiernos locales en salud y educación; Implementando programas de monitoreo socio-ambiental participativo con las organizaciones lugareñas y contratación de mano de obra local.

    Ha añadido valor a las inversiones privadas, minimizando los conflictos sociales, construyendo confianza y contribuyendo, con la participación del Estado, al desarrollo sostenible de las familias rurales y/o urbanas y sus organizaciones.

    Ha brindado asistencia técnica y asesorado a diversos clientes en el desarrollo de proyectos sociales en Perú, Panamá, Venezuela, Bolivia, Brasil y Argentina. En los últimos 25 años se ha desempeñado como un gerente social exitoso en diversos proyectos extractivos desarrollados en Perú, Bolivia y Brasil.

    Ha desarrollado sinergias con poblaciones urbanas y rurales, autoridades locales, regionales y nacionales (MEM, Agricultura, Salud, MEF), autoridades eclesiásticas, miembros de organizaciones no gubernamentales y funcionarios de instituciones financieras internacionales (BID, BM, CAF, FIDA).

    Destacan sus habilidades para compartir experiencias y buenas prácticas; identificar oportunidades de mejora; resolver conflictos; desarrollar redes para fortalecer las relaciones institucionales; relacionarse con los medios de comunicación; actuar de manera socialmente responsable; apoyar y motivar el desarrollo de capacidades.

    Ha conducido equipos interdisciplinarios y promovido el desarrollo profesional del personal a su cargo.

    En la actualidad se desempeña como miembro del Comité Directivo de Fundación Capital, empresa social que desde hace 10 años trabaja para mejorar la vida económica y financiera de más de un millón de personas que viven en situación de vulnerabilidad social alrededor del mundo.

    Ahora estoy siguiendo mi intuición y un sueño: quiero ser Alcalde del Municipio de Mala, 86km al sur de Lima. Hay mucho por hacer en términos sociales y ambientales. Quiero devolverle a mi país la oportunidad que medio en la vida, mi esposa es médico pediatra y ahora está trabajando el el health managment e hizo una maestría en Jhon Hopkins. Nuestros temas centrales son: el agua, la salud y la educación,


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