Sustainability Courses

In this section we recommend existing courses that help you deepen your knowledge about sustainable food systems (SFS). Some course availability may change over time. We have provided the main page link as well so you can browse topics.

Short Tutorials and Courses (~hours to days)

Sustainable Diets: Fundamentals for Human and Planetary Health (paid)

Sustainable Diets: Fundamentals for Human and Planetary Health is a short course by MyNutriWeb that addresses healthy food and nutrition for all while averting dangerous climate change and restoring the balance of the natural world. The course brings together leading experts across every aspect of sustainable diets, integrating planetary and nutrition science, together with behaviour change tactics and specific considerations such as low-income groups, athletes, children and the older population. This course can help professionals to develop the confidence and knowledge necessary to incorporate sustainability into their practice.

Healthy Plate, Healthy Planet (free)

Learn to achieve a HEALTHY PLATE and a HEALTHY PLANET and help your clients to do the same. Created by Gaples Institute & Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Department of Nutrition. This 10-minute interactive learning experience will guide you toward simple dietary shifts that benefit people and the planet. It reflects the work of 37 leading health and climate scientists from 16 countries, using the best available evidence for optimal health.

United Nations Climate Change E-Learn (mixed free & paid)

Browse the United Nations Climate Change e-learn courses: these are a valuable resource for those looking to deepen their knowledge around specific climate change, sustainability and nutrition topics. These web-based short courses and tutorials are free of charge and range in length from 30 minutes to 12 hours. They are self paced, some with multiple language options, and systematically cover topics such as Sustainable Diet, Human Health and Climate Change, Water, Gender and Environment, and Introduction to Sustainable Finance. We suggest the following as good places to start:

Healthy people, healthy planet: a flexitarian approach to sustainable healthy diets (self-study course)

This self-study continuing education course was developed by Christine McCullum-Gomez, PhD, RDN, LD with Today’s Dietitian and made complimentary through January 31, 2023 with support from Danone North America. It was approved by the Commission on Dietetic Registration to offer 2 Continuing Professional Education Units.

The course is condensed into a 7-page overview of the EAT-Lancet Commission’s 2019 planetary health diet, which is a largely plant-based flexitarian diet, and includes research on benefits and barriers to achieving the diet. The course discusses the principles of a flexitarian diet, describes the nutritional advantages of a flexitarian diet, examines the health and environmental benefits of a flexitarian diet; and provides strategies Dietitian-Nutritionists (D-Ns) can use when counselling their clients on implementing a flexitarian diet. There is a short quiz and evaluation to receive the certificate.

Editor’s note: This course focuses on the consumption portion of sustainable diets through balancing plant and animal foods. The systems that our plants and animals come from are equally as important as the balance in our diets. As D-Ns we can also support sustainable production, packaging, and systems that are equitable for people. Refer to the Learning Modules (LMs) in this ICDA SFS Toolkit, especially LM3: How to Contribute to Sustainable Food Systems and Diets in Your Practice.

Longer Courses (~weeks)

→→Class Central (Course fees for Certificate)

Browse Class Central for more in depth distance courses offered as MOOCS (massive open online courses) from various universities around the world. This is a database of free online courses run by a small company with a mission to make education accessible. The listing contains 100+ courses relating to the UN SDGs, several of which are of direct relevance to health and sustainability. Details vary by course but most run for 4-8 weeks and have instructors who provide feedback. Some are not accessible from all geographic regions, and while auditing is generally free, payment is required to receive an official certification. We suggest the following as good places to start.

Sustainable Food Systems: A Mediterranean Perspective
(Free – Course fees for certificate)
Future Food: Sustainable Food Systems for the 21st Century
(Free – Course fees for certificate)
Climate Adaptation in Africa
(Free – Course fees for certificate)

Credit Courses

The following distance-education courses are offer credit. We will add courses and update links as we learn about more high quality learning opportunities.

Sustainable Nutrition CAS – Bern University of Applied Sciences (2023 Aug) (German)

A sustainable food system should give the entire world population access to safe and needs-based nutrition with fairly produced food produced taking into account planetary boundaries. This requires nutritionists who help shape the transformation of the nutrition system. The CAS Sustainable Nutrition looks at global perspectives and Swiss contexts, and enables you to derive concrete nutritional recommendations for a healthy and sustainable diet in Switzerland. For this purpose, exemplary challenges are deepened and solutions are discussed that you can network with your traditional professional field or carry into new occupational fields.

The target audiences for this course are nutritionists, food scientists, and other actors in the Swiss food system with a tertiary degree and nutrition background.

  • The course will be held: November 2023 to June 2024
    • Seven two-day blocks each on Fridays/Saturdays (one block per month)
    • Lesson times: usually from 9.15 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.
  • Provides 12 ECTS credits, with a workload of 360 hours (incl. study days).
  • Cost: 5,800 CHF
  • Location: Bern campus

EFAD Sustainability in Dietetics (FREE learning modules at your own pace)

European Federation of the Associations of Dietitians (EFAD) has built this course upon dietitians’ voices and the rationale that it would be useful for dietitians to increase knowledge and have practical materials and resources to embed sustainability in their dietetic practice. In our modern world, we all need to contribute to reducing the global impact of climate change and consider social and economic aspects related to food choice and intake. Dietitians have a role in promoting sustainable and healthy diets.

Over the four modules of self-directed learning, 16 leading experts explain some of the complex concepts of sustainability and provide tools to translate knowledge into practice via lectures, case studies, sustainable meals and recipes as well as additional links and resources.

MODULE 1: Sustainable Food Systems and Diets
MODULE 2: Strategies towards Sustainable Diets
MODULE 3: The Food Cycle
MODULE 4: Sustainability in Dietetic Practice

Click on this link to access the EFAD Sustainability in Dietetics course that concludes with an assessment and a certificate with associated 7 EFAD points.

Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation (Paid Courses)

Several food systems related courses are offered by Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation. The following is a list of examples from one page. Visit other pages to see more options on agriculture and climate:

  • 2022 Sep – Feeding Cities: Improving Food Systems in Urban Areas
  • 2022 Oct – Global One Health: towards Human, Animal and Plant Health
  • 2023 Feb – Food Systems for Healthier and Sustainable Diets
  • 2023 Mar – Governance and Food Safety in International Food Chains
  • 2023 May – Making Agriculture Work for Food and Nutrition Security

Blekinge Tekniska Högskola (Paid Courses)

Stand-alone Courses in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability – Distance Courses in the Department of Strategic Sustainable Development focused on leadership and innovation for sustainability. They educate, research, and collaborate with the aim of providing methodological support for organizations that want to work strategically with sustainability, and in doing so contributing to society’s transition towards sustainability. Courses include:

  • Advanced Leadership for Sustainability, 15 credits
  • Behaviour Change for Sustainability, 6-7.5 credits
  • Enabling green and sustainable transitions, 7,5 credits
  • Foundations for Strategic Sustainable Development, 7,5 credits
  • Social Sustainability in Product- and Service Development, 7,5 credits
  • Sustainable Transport Systems, 7,5 credits
  • Introduction to Sustainable Product Development, 3 credits
  • Understanding green and sustainable transitions, 7,5 credits
  • Environmental Management, 7,5 credits

Feedback? Questions? Ideas? Contact the ICDA SFS Coordinator: