Your RED Sustainable Action Award at a Glance

RED Sustainable Action Award logo

If you’ve been following the news in recent decades, you may be familiar with the on-going impact unsustainable practices have been having on the climate, livelihoods, public health, and the planet as a whole. The world has seen activists come out onto the streets in droves to spur the rest of us into action, to make significant changes to our lifestyles and to place sustainable action at the centre of attention.

With businesses, institutions and communities adapting their ethos, the University of Reading has taken a similar approach to help students learn more about these issues, as well as providing opportunities to live sustainably.

The RED Sustainable Action Award was introduced to help students acquire skills that employers are actively seeking in light of current events. Its activities are based on a series of goals proposed by the UN, as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. When filling in your award pathway, any activity you log should relate to one (or more) of the 17 goals. As an example, volunteering through the Students in Schools scheme relates to Goal 4: Quality Education – the idea is to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. Having been impeded by the pandemic, learning progress has been lost in around 80%, according to an audit of 104 countries.

The key idea is to show evidence of the skills and new knowledge you have gained on your sustainability pathway, and at the same time, take small steps to help us create a better world for all. This will help you to think more broadly about what changes you can make not only to your lifestyle, but also the way you (and other people) may perceive the way we deal with these problems, on a global level.

Like the RED Award, this also encompasses 40 hours, which are split across components called ‘Acquire’ (where you increase your awareness of sustainability issues and solutions through online courses, webinars, conferences, or Careers workshops) and ‘Act’ (where you will demonstrate your new awareness via any paid work, internships, work experience or volunteering with a sustainable focus). The final phase, ‘Articulate’ allows you to become an ‘agent for change’, where you will show others what you have learned and inspire them to take similar initiatives. This could be in the form of a blog post, podcast, short video, social media content or any other suitable medium.

Now you know the basics of what to expect, we have included some pointers to get you started on your Sustainable Action pathway…

Get to know the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Since the activities you choose to engage with must have a sustainable focus, it will be useful to refer to the UN’s 17 goals before you begin logging activity onto your pathway. This will simplify the process, making it easier to identify which goals you may have already addressed, or which ones you want to show evidence of addressing. Keep them on hand when filling in your activity log!

Take advantage of short online courses

There are a whole host of sustainability based online courses which you, as a UoR student, have unrestricted access to! Provided by FutureLearn and LinkedIn Learning, these are a great way to keep yourself engaged with an array of topics on the environment, natural processes, and integrating sustainable practices into modern life.

Completed one of the other RED Awards?

Did you know that you can transfer up to 10 hours of activity to the Sustainable Action Award? Perhaps checking off a large chunk of your 40 hours in one sitting is the incentive you need to get the ball rolling! Activity hours may be transferred to or from this pathway between the RED and Global Engagement Awards, so long as it relates to the theme of sustainability, or even better, the goals set by the UN.


Isla Bailey, RED Awards Ambassador and Microbiology Student at the University of Reading