International sustainability designation launches

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Sustainability professionals are to benefit from a new route to certification giving them international status

A set of internationally recognised sustainability standards for environmental professionals is to be launched later in 2016, with the potential to broaden choice substantially in the sector.

The move, by the US-based International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP), also looks set to compete with the Society for the Environment’s (SocEnv) Chartered Environmentalist status.

The system, which is currently only open to ISSP members, encompasses two levels, that of Sustainability Associate (ISSP-SA), and Certified Sustainability Professional (ISSP-CSP).

The first of these, the ISSP-SA awards are aimed at “individuals who are relatively new to the field of sustainability but have sufficient education and training to pass a test on core knowledge and understanding of key sustainability concepts”.

The second standard (ISSP-CSP) is aimed at “experienced sustainability practitioners who demonstrate a combination of sustainability-related work experience, formal education and recommendations for peers”. Candidates for this award must first past a test for the ISSP-SA before taking the ISSP-CSP test.

Both certifications will need to be continually supplemented every three years by verified CEU’s (Continuing Education Credits).

More than 50 ISSP members have already been designated as certified sustainability professionals. Most of these are based in the US, with a few in Latin America, the Middle East, Far East and France. But the list also includes Ernst & Young in the UK.

There are also two UK designees for the Sustainability Associate grade: Ernst & Young and the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA).

Commenting on the scheme, Beth Knight, head of corporate sustainability for EY’s financial services business in Europe, Middle East, India and Africa, said: “I'm thrilled to be part of the first ISSP-CSP cohort and contribute to the development of this certification. It’s a critical step to moving the sustainability profession forward, particularly in establishing a universal standard of practice across geographies and sectors, and also adding a much needed credential for skilled sustainability professionals.”

To learn more about and register for ISSP Sustainability Professional Certification, visit the site.