Looking Back, Looking Ahead
Submitted by International Society of Sustainability Professionals
The International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP), the world’s leading professional association for sustainability professionals, is celebrating this quarter its tenth year in service.
Established as a 501(c)(3) in 2008, ISSP was a pioneer in empowering, supporting and promoting the efforts of professionals making sustainability standard practice. What began as a volunteer-led initiative in the Pacific Northwest has grown to an organization with a dedicated staff and members all over the world that is now playing a crucial role in taking the field mainstream through certification, knowledge sharing, and research.
While much work remains to be done, the sustainability narrative has changed drastically over the past decade. In the beginning, the focus was mostly on the moral case for sustainability. But ISSP and other like-minded NGOs have really helped bring the business case to the forefront. The majority of Fortune 500 companies now view sustainability as central to their strategies. It is no longer a question whether integrating such principles into practice allows companies to reduce costs, minimize risk, attract talent, retain customers, and drive innovation.
According to three of ISSP’s co-founders who put in untold hours getting the organization up-and-running, they have achieved what they set out to do, and more. They also maintain that the demand for the expertise of ISSP’s vast network has never been greater.
“ISSP has enabled sustainability minded folks to find their tribe. When we started, such workers were operating in isolation, reinventing wheels and becoming confused about what they should be learning. Our primary objective with ISSP was to bring these people together to share what they were doing and to co-create the needed strategies as well as the profession itself. We succeeded in doing that and I’m confident that our new partnership with Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) will help take us to the next level,” said Marsha Willard, ISSP-CSP.
Dorothy Atwood, ISSP-CSP added, “The dialogue on sustainability is less politically charged today. People from all backgrounds are seeing it as a strategic lens for planning effectively for the future. There may be some stalling by governments, but international companies and communities are forging ahead with the help of organizations like ISSP,” said Dorothy Atwood, ISSP-CSP.
When asked what steps ISSP must take to keep up the momentum, Darcy Hitchcock stressed how its credentials need to become the defining source of credibility--not just for the individuals seeking them but for their potential employers. She also explained how she hopes the organization’s Board of Directors will continue to be strong advocates for their respective regions.
Since its inauguration in 2011, ISSP's Sustainability Hall of Fame has served to formally recognize professionals who have made significant contributions to sustainability. Inductees have included Ray Anderson, Alan AtKisson, Susan Burns, John Elkington, Gil Friend, Hazel Henderson, Jeffrey Hollender, Amory B. Lovins, L. Hunter Lovins, Joel Makower, Karl Henrik Robert, Mathis Wackernagel, and Bob Willard.
Looking ahead, ISSP hopes to greatly increase the number of members collaborating to share best practices, and to offer more professional development opportunities (e.g. conferences, courses, webinars, etc.).
The International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP) is the world's leading professional association for sustainability professionals. ISSP is a member-driven association committed to moving the profession of sustainability forward by leading the design and delivery of sustainability professional credentials, and by building strong networks and communities of practice. Webinars, online courses, a sustainability educational certificate, sustainability professional’s body of knowledge, special reports, resource directories and salary surveys are just a sampling of the rich content offered to members. Formed in 2007, ISSP boasts over 1,000 members from every region of the world. https://www.sustainabilityprofessionals.org/sustainability-professional-certification/application
The International Society of Sustainability Professionals is a professional association created to serve members of the sustainability profession. Our mission is three fold: