Thick sweater day is a yearly initiative organized by the environmental department of the Flemish government since 2005. The campaign focuses mainly on education. Schools can voluntarily sign up for the campaign.
The Flemish Government organized the first Thick Sweaters day on February 16, 2005 (the day the Kyoto Protocol came into force). The aim of the Kyoto Protocol is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change. On that day the schools decided to put some symbolical attention to this treaty and put the heating at school at least one degree lower and stimulated students and teacher to wear warm clothes that day. This was their contribution to the Kyoto agreement. The thick sweaters day marks the beginning of a supporting action campaign to a greater energy project. By doing that the schools want to send the message that everyone can contribute to a better environment. The Thick Sweaters day since then reminds everyone about the agreements of that important treaty. Everybody can save energy. The prevention of energy waste is an important step in the fight against wasteful energy consumption.
Every year, the schools organize various educational and leisure activities to raise awareness among their students, teachers and other school staff and to ensure an energy efficient school. Sustainable energy is the real message of the thick sweater day. Reducing energy also means reducing greenhouse gas emissions. What started as a fun event for schools has now become a major event. In 2006, government buildings (government agencies) participated, as well as the business world (companies). In 2008 families (home) were involved in the action. At the week of February 16th, the teachers work cross curricular on the theme of climate change. Students learn more about the global warming and energy saving during the world orientation classes. In geography class students learn about the ecological footprint, waste and sustainable materials. They use education materials provided on the several websites.