Skip to main content


EACEA National Policies Platform


9. Youth and the World

9.5 Green volunteering, production and consumption

Last update: 29 March 2021
On this page
  1. Green volunteering
  2. Green production and consumption

Green volunteering

There is no national 'green' volunteer program dedicated for young people. However, there is a nationwide promotion for these types of environmental volunteer initiatives promoted by the Spanish State in conjunction with the Autonomous Regions. Many of these initiatives are directed towards the population who are of legal age and some others include the participation of minors as indicated in the Volunteering Law 45/2015, that "children under 16 and over 12 may carry out voluntary action if they have the express authorisation of their parents, guardians or legal representatives.

For information about voluntary proposals of the Autonomous Regions, the directory of Environmental Volunteers of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge (directorio de voluntariados medioambientales del Ministerio para la Transición Ecológica y Reto Demográfico) can be consulted.

Awareness and Volunteering Plan of the Autonmous Organism National Parks:

Its main objective is to contribute to environmental awareness through the development of projects and activities in the different spaces that compose the network of national parks, as well as in the farms and centers belonging to the national parks. Its main lines of action are:

  • Monitoring and evaluation of the National Parks Network.
  • Involvement of social agents and participation of society.
  • Improvement of scientific knowledge.
  • Complementary activities to achieve the objectives of each of the national parks.

The main task of environmental volunteering is to facilitate awareness and the change of attitudes towards the environment as an environmental education tool; in addition to offering a space that satisfies the demand for social participation in knowledge and intervention on the quality and conservation of the environment.

It is developed through two phases: the participation of NGOs as organizers of the different activities to be carried out, and the role of those who want to collaborate in environmental volunteering tasks.

People interested in participating should contact the NGO responsible for the development of the volunteer projects in national parks. Volunteering is for people over 18 years of age.

Volunteering at the Biodiversity Foundation:

The Biodiversity Foundation (Fundación Biodiversidad) is a public sector foundation belonging to the Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge created in 1998 to protect the natural capital and biodiversity of the Spanish territory.Although it does not have volunteer projects exclusively for young people, it has several volunteering strategies in which they can take part.

Among them, the program of beaches, rivers, volunteering and custody of the territory (Playas, ríos, voluntariado y custodia del territorio) is aimed at protecting and conserving the natural heritage and biodiversity of Spain through the execution of conservation projects and the canalization of grants and funds for the development of environmental initiatives. Within its objectives is also found the consolidation of a network of volunteers who are involved in the maintenance and improvement of these spaces of high natural value. During 2016, 93 actions were carried out by 42 collaborating entities for the project and about 5000 volunteers have participated in Spain.

Other volunteering promoted by CENEAM:

In the area of environmental volunteering, there are different initiatives promoted by NGOs and foundations. From the National Center for Environmental Education (CENEAM), various types of volunteers from the sector are spread, which also participate in the National Parks Volunteer Program. Among the main highlights:

Spanish Ornithological Society, SEO/BirdLife:

The Spanish Ornithological Society (SEO/Birdlife) organizes numerous volunteering programs (programas de voluntariado) for birds and nature, such as the bird tracking program, "Wings on Water" program, National Parks Volunteering Program, Riet Vell Reserve Program, Popular census of Carraca, and the program of important areas for bird conservation. In 2019, the association has received grants from private companies and public institutions of which the balance of the amount charged directly to equity at the end of the financial year 2019 amounts to 2,923,592 and the amount recorded in the income statement amounts to 3,077,718 euros, of which 2,788,211 euros are recorded in grants charged to the surplus for the year and 289,507 euros in grants, donations and capital bequests transferred to the results for the year.

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Spain (España):

In Spain, this international organization has volunteering programs whose main objective is to recover degraded areas, to help conserve the natural spaces, to educate the population on the importance of preserving them, to help restore habitats of endangered species and forest ecosystems of high ecological value. Some of its volunteering proposals are the summer camp in the Chinijo archipelago, the volunteer program in national parks and volunteering in the Montejo de la Vega refuge. The budget of WWF for the year 2019 was 7.125.088,12€, 5,190,581 in private contributions and €1,007,764 in public contributions.
Greenpeace Spain (España):

Greenpeace volunteering is organized in local groups throughout the Spanish territory with the aim to carry out activities to spread their campaigns, collaborate in the work of the Organization and represent it at the regional level. Those who join as volunteers collaborate in these groups and commit to the principles of the organisation which are independence and pacifism. Greenpeace is funded through donations and monthly fees, the budget in 2019 was 14.627.152€.


Green production and consumption

Spanish Circular Economy Strategy. “España Circular 2030”

At the public policy level, in June 2020 the Government approved the Spanish Circular Economy Strategy, called "Spain Circular 2030".
This strategy is aligned with the objectives of the two EU circular economy action plans, "Closing the loop: an EU action plan for the circular economy" of 2015 and "A new Circular Economy Action Plan for a cleaner and more competitive Europe" of 2020, as well as with the European Green Pact and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The main objectives of this strategy are:

  1. To reduce by 30% the national consumption of materials in relation to GDP, taking 2010 as a reference year.
  2. Reduce waste generation by 15% compared to 2010.
  3. Reduce food waste generation throughout the food chain: 50% reduction per capita at household and retail level and 20% reduction in the production and supply chains from 2020 onwards.
  4. Increase reuse and preparation for reuse to 10% of municipal waste generated.
  5. Improve water efficiency by 10%.
  6. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions to below 10 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

Programmme "CENEAM with the school" (Programa "CENEAM con la Escuela"):

It is an initiative of National Center for Environmental Education (CENEAM) for Spanish educational centers,  which offers the possibility of participating for free in its educational programs with the intention of bring to the students concepts related to the rational use of the natural resources through activities carried in  schools and in natural environments.

Among the different programs, the CENEAM has the program "the sustainable use of natural resources":

Its main objective is to provide suggestions and resources for students to understand sustainable development, sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources. With practical activities in a natural environment, it is intended for young people to come into contact with sustainable use of resources so that they can then apply what they have learned to their daily lives,for example, with consumption of water, the clothes they use, the paper they do not reuse, etc.

The main activity proposed is an educational visit of 4 hours in the Mountain of Valsaín (province of Segovia, Spain), as well as complementary activities in the classroom as classes on the fair use of resources, the efficient use of natural resources in daily life, and examples of unsustainable collection of renewable resources.

All the Spanish educational centres can participate. To do so, they must complete a participation form (formulario de participación) provided by Center.

Spanish Network of Cities STARS (Red Española de Ciudades STARS) (Sustainable Travel Accreditation and Recognition for Schools):

European Project STARS' main objective is to increase the number of students that attend school using the bicycle in Europe, thus reducing the use of cars as the main mean of transportation. It is mainly aimed at secondary and high school students between 12 and 19 years old.

Taking into account STARS as a reference project, the General Directorate of Traffic (DGT) (Dirección General de Tráfico (DGT)), the National Center for Environmental Education (CENEAM) and the city Council of Madrid (Ayuntamiento de Madrid) have established a collaboration agreement to share and spread their educational materials and other human resources and pedagogical activities aimed at facilitating the initiatives of the school path, with the creation of the Spanish Network of Cities.

In Spain, the city councils are responsible for the implementation of the project and in order to do so, they have to request it expressly with a series of steps to set out in the project, such as the fulfillment of commitments with sustainable mobility, the implementation of surveys on mobility, training for cyclists, conditioning of the environment for cyclists, conducting sustainable mobility campaigns in schools, among other major activities (Guía STARS en España).

For each city council, the project establishes a minimum participation of 6 schools or high schools per city of an average size, being able to associate municipalities that do not have the minimum of 6 schools. The implementation time is at least three years, although they advise in the program a duration of 5 years in total to consolidate the results. The funding for the implementation of the project in each municipality is on the account of the municipalities, taking into consideration both material and human resources.

School Agenda 21 in the Autonomous Regions:

The School Agenda 21 is an international project based on the conclusions of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (also known as the Earth Summit) held in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992.

The Declaration of this Summit invites the localities of the member countries of the organization to develop their own agenda. The School Agendas 21 pursues community participation, awareness and achievement of the sustainability goals of Agenda 21, guided by three program areas:

  • Reorienting education towards sustainable development.
  • Increased public awareness.
  • Promotion of training.

In order to achieve these sustainable development goals, Agenda 21 are based on an environmental audit carried out by the participating locality, from which an environmental action plan and a follow-up plan are drawn up.

The role of schools and their students is essential for the development of the School Agenda 21, since they are responsible for developing a participatory process for the review of the educational approaches and practices, which leads to some actions of improvement in the environment.

In Spain there are numerous municipalities and Autonomous Regions participating in the School Agenda 21, and these agencies are responsible for financing sustainable programs around the agenda, as well as providing training materials, advice and research. Some of the projects around the School Agenda 21 in different locations in Spain are: