Why Become a Certified Sustainability Manager

Wed, 2011-09-28 13:42

Tonight at 8 p.m., I start the next session of my online sustainability certification program. As the program has evolved, we continue to develop the program, and one of our challenges is explaining to managers why they should care about sustainability. So over the next four weeks, while I am teaching this particular online course, I will write a series of blog posts about what it means to be a Sustainability Practitioner. This particular course runs over four weeks, so please check back every Wednesday for the next post in this series.

To start the course, we ask students to imagine themselves as the new Sustainability Manager for their company, city, or organization (In fact, many attendees are already, or have recently become, Sustainability Managers). New Sustainability Managers are usually asked the following questions:

1. Now tell me what’s our carbon footprint (and what’s carbon footprint by the way), and what else are we doing about sustainability?  

2. What is sustainability, what’s important, what are we doing, and what’s the impact of those actions on our organization?

3. Finally, what’s our Return on Investment for Sustainability?

These are all good questions. Usually, the second part of a Sustainability Manager’s responsibility involves implementing new programs. Responses to new programs run the gamut from eager to downright hostile. I have personally experienced the following reactions:

1. “You are NOT taking away my pickup truck!” - Sales Manager 

2. “We don’t need carbon accounting. We’re sitting on the largest carbon sink in the world!” - Facility Manager, Strategic Petroleum Reserve, U.S. Dept of Energy

3. “Green? That’s a liberal plot!” - We all know someone who says this

These types of responses are typical for any organizational change program, and companies that want to become more sustainable will need to change!

To recap, this sustainability certification program helps answer the first three questions and then provides real world examples and successes to help you successfully make your company or organization leaner, greener, and more efficient.

If you are interested in learning more, visit our ISSP Sustainability Associate page.

Week II Coming October 5th

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