Sustainability Certification is on the Horizon

Thu, 2014-11-20 10:50

Update (10/4/16): ISSP Exam Prep is now available! Click here to get started.

Last week, Everblue President Vince DiFrancesco attended the national conference for the International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP) in Denver, CO. The biggest news to surface at the conference was the announcement of an official certification for sustainability professionals.

In recent years, sustainability has grown from an interest to a profession. Many companies and municipalities have created positions and departments solely devoted to sustainability, yet there has not been a professional certification for these individuals to acquire as a standardized measure of knowledge.

Sustainability imageMore often than not, the individuals who came to be responsible for their organization’s sustainability efforts had other job responsibilities that related to the new initiative. It became something that their job evolved to include. Then, colleges and universities developed master’s programs focused on sustainability. Still, there hasn’t been one singular title to represent a consistent body of knowledge, skills, and attributes.

ISSP has taken a leadership role in convening an industry-wide discussion about professional certification for the emerging career track of sustainability.

This conversation has been bubbling for some time now. To prepare themselves, ISSP staff have conducted several studies regarding professional competencies required of people working in the field as well as an exploration of the terminology used by professionals around the globe.

Now, ISSP is proud to announce its Professional Body of Knowledge that has resulted in a first draft document defining the skills, terms, knowledge, and attributes used by professionals practicing in this field.

Interestingly, the structural aspects of an official sustainability certification were discussed in a webinar hosted on February 19, 2013, by the Security and Sustainability Forum and ISSP. One of the participants was Elisa Khan, who is the director of credentialing at GBCI (those of you who are familiar with LEED will understand the significance of this). Elisa is responsible for the development, maintenance, and delivery of the LEED credentialing exams. It’s exciting to see that ISSP could be following a similar structure as LEED. ISSP staff certainly has strong contributors in its corner!

We’re excited to see what happens with the new ISSP sustainability certification. In fact, Vince was asked to join the ISSP planning committee for the new certification. He will be involved in the communications and launch. We’ll be sure to keep you all updated on the progress! Hopefully we will see an official sustainability certification in late 2015 (if not sooner!).

By Lesley Cowie