Is Professional Sustainability Certification Needed? Weigh in at the Security and Sustainability Forum’s Next Free Webinar

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The Security and Sustainability Forum’s free November 27 webinar will host a discussion about the value of establishing a professional certification in sustainability and what stakeholders should be involved in developing the core competencies of such a certification.

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What does it mean to be a sustainability professional?

Who are "sustainability professionals"? It is like defining a professional musician or athlete: if someone pays you "do sustainability" in some way, then you are a pro.

Sustainability has reached the spotlight in recent years as a field of research and emerging sector of professionals. A growing number of businesses and municipalities are creating sustainability positions and departments in response to consumer and citizen concerns and burgeoning international trends in green business, corporate responsibility, and resilient city planning. As a result, sustainability has matured in the past several years into a recognizable professional field, leading to several questions:

  •     Is it time for the sustainability profession to adopt standards like counterparts in planning, law, and engineering, etc.?
  •     Would employers value a sustainability certification?
  •     How would the standards be set and monitored?
  •     How could a certification program best be initiated?

The Security and Sustainability Forum is beginning an effort to organize and coordinate attention to these questions, in conjunction with the American Planning Association (APA) and the International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP).

Attend the webinar on November 27th 1:15-2:45 pm EST to be a part of the discussion. We will investigate the value of establishing professional certification; examine the challenges of establishing industry standards; examine certificates and informal certifications currently offered by academic, nonprofit, and private organizations; and discuss possible next steps to gain industry support and acceptance.

Ed Saltzberg, SSF's Managing Director, will moderate the session, he will be joined by:

  •     Jeff Soule and Felicia Braunstein, APA's Directors of Outreach & International Programs and Director of Professional Practice, respectively, who will talk about the nuts and bolts of developing and maintaining an industry standard of practice.
  •     Ira Feldman, President of Greentrack Strategies and international leader in environmental standard setting, who will discuss the perceived need for professional certification in sustainability and the discussions that have taken place thus far.
  •     Marsha Willard, ISSP's Executive Director and Presidio Graduate School adjunct faculty, who will paint us a picture of existing sustainability certificate and training programs.
  •     Rich Goode, Senior Manager, Climate Change and Sustainability Services at Ernst & Young, and Ed Pinero, Chief Sustainability Officer, Veolia Water North America, who will discuss the value of certification to employers in the private sector.

Municipal leaders will join the conversation to weigh in about the value of professional sustainability certification in the public sector. The panel will explore how stakeholders can work together to establish a common understanding of sustainability and the credibility and curricula necessary to offer cross-sector sustainability certification.

About the Security and Sustainability Forum
SSF is a public interest, membership organization that hosts free, live educational webinars. Sessions feature panels of global experts who address human health and welfare impacts caused by climate change and other environmental disruptions. The webinars outline how sustainable approaches to minimize environmental stresses can reduce instability and conflicts, thereby improving the physical and economic security of humankind. Our programs seek to not only educate our audience about sustainability and how it fits into their areas of interest and work, but also spark new ideas about resilient approaches and solutions.

Access to SSF's webinar archive is offered through a free membership program.

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Edward Saltzberg, Ph.D.
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