Green Flag Award criteria

Eco-Schools is a flexible programme which can be adapted as necessary for each school’s individual context, however, there are criteria that need to be met to be considered for a Green Flag. These criteria are divided across each of the Seven Steps.

– Your Eco-Committee should be student-led as much as possible.

– All students have the opportunity to be involved in the process of forming your Eco-Committee.

– All age groups should be represented on your Eco-Committee.

– Your Eco-Committee should meet at least once every 5-6 weeks.

– Records are kept by Eco-Committee members of meetings showing how decisions have been made.

– Records of meetings are displayed on an Eco-Schools noticeboard and communicated to the wider community.

– A whole school approach is encouraged by giving all students the opportunity to contribute their ideas whether they are an Eco-Committee member or not.

– The Environmental Review is carried out by your Eco-Committee and students using the template provided.

– An Environmental Review is carried out at the start of each Green Flag journey.

– The results of your Environmental Review are shared with the rest of your school

– Your Action Plan (which is a working document) is included in the school improvement plan.

– Your Action Plan will cover one year for a first Green Flag Award and two years for a Green Flag renewal.

– All students are given the opportunity to submit suggestions for actions to the Eco-Committee.

– Your Action Plan addresses the three topics (two chosen by you Eco-Committee, plus Litter) that the Eco-Committee has decided to focus on, and the projects related to those topics.

– United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are identified for each of your chosen topics (Litter plus two others). This can be the same goal or a different goal for each topic.

– Your Action Plan should include a Community Action Day in conjunction with Keep New Zealand Beautiful’s Clean Up Week. Link this event to one or more of your topics.

– Students on your Eco-Committee should take responsibility for leading some action areas.

– Your Action Plan must include timeframes and details of how progress will be measured and evaluated.

– Your Eco-Committee ensures that evaluation of action is ongoing and appropriate to your Action Plan projects.

– You have one example of measuring for each of your three topics.

– All students and staff are kept updated and are given the opportunity to discuss and debate progress.

– Your Eco-Committee builds on successes and decides what to do when activities are not successful.

– Aspects of your Eco-Schools projects are integrated into a range of subjects across the curriculum.

– You are required to provide an example of how you have linked your Eco-Schools work to The New Zealand Curriculum as part of your application for a Green Flag.

– Your Eco-Schools activities are displayed on your Eco-Schools noticeboard.

– Your Eco-Schools activities are shared with the wider community e.g. nticeboard/displays, social media, website, newsletter, local press.

– The wider community is involved in the activities going on in the school where possible, e.g. partnerships with other schools, local businesses, charities or other community organisations.

– Your Eco-Code represents ideas from across the whole school.

– Your Eco-Code is displayed on your Eco-Schools noticeboard and shared with the wider school community.

– Your Eco-Code is reviewed regularly to make sure it remains relevant.

Applying for an Eco-Schools Green Flag


There are a series of questions that need to be completed over the course of the academic year to allow your Eco-Committee to apply for their Eco-Schools Green Flag. Our team will provide you with access to these questions following your registration.

You and your Eco-Committee can start completing the Eco-Schools Green Flag application whenever you like. You do not have to answer all of the questions for each step before progressing to the next – you are able to answer any question, from any of the steps, in any order, however, there is a check-in point after you have submitted your Action Plan to make sure you are on the right track.

Once you have completed Step 7, you will be asked three final summary questions before submitting your completed Green Flag application. Our team will then complete a desk-based audit.


Eco-Schools Co-ordinators and their Eco-Committees can apply for the Eco-Schools Green Flag when they have completed each of the Seven Steps and have gathered and uploaded the required evidence.

An Eco-Schools Green Flag rewards and acknowledges schools who have completed each of the Eco-Schools Seven Steps. This means that, during the annual application window, Eco-Committees are still able to apply for their Eco-Schools Green Flag even if they have not completed all of the topic projects in their Action Plan. Some Eco-Committees may decide to plan ambitious environmental projects that span two, or even three, Eco-Schools Green Flag applications, the Eco-Schools programme and its criteria are intentionally flexible to allow for this!

By focusing on progression through the Eco-Schools Seven Steps, our assessment process is intended to be positive, celebrating the improvements that your school has made, rather than focusing on the negative (changes that haven’t been made yet).

If you started your journey in Term 1, we would suggest getting everything together at the start of Term 4.