ISSP Certification

Sustainability Professional to Become a True Occupation

What started as an interest is fast becoming a career.

Sustainability Professional to Become a True Occupation

In the early 2000s, environmentally-minded people learned about “going green” and made efforts to add those skills on top of their existing careers. But now, sustainability has grown and evolved into a full industry, and thus, you can become a sustainability professional.

You know a professional skillset has evolved into a growing and thriving career when the Occupational Information Network, or O*NET, conducts a survey among U.S.-based professionals and standardizes the responses into a formal occupation definition.

This is what is happening right now with the sustainability industry.

If you’re looking to improve your resume and career opportunities, now is an excellent time to acquire sustainability skills that will prepare you for the present and future workplace.

If you’ve been working in the sustainability industry for some time, keep reading!

What is a Sustainability Professional?

The International Society of Sustainability Professionals, or ISSP, has been working diligently to advance the profession of sustainable practice. Through its international network of members and a professional certification program, ISSP is fast becoming a leader and acronym to know for the sustainability industry.

ISSP is partnering with O*NET to update the occupational information on “sustainability professionals,” specifically Chief Sustainability Officers and Sustainability Specialists.

O*NET is looking for insight from sustainability practitioners who identify as Chief Sustainability Officers and Sustainability Specialists to provide insight on how the existing requirements and expectations can be updated to reflect today’s working world.

  • Chief Sustainability Officers may include those who communicate and coordinate with management, shareholders, customers, and employees to address sustainability issues. They may also enact or oversee a corporate sustainability strategy.
  • Sustainability Specialists may include those who address organizational sustainability issues, such as waste stream management, green building practices, and green procurement plans.

The existing entries for these titles appear as follows: Chief Sustainability Officer and Sustainability Specialist.

Specifically, ISSP and O*NET would like to hear from U.S.-based Occupation Experts. The following criteria defines an Occupation Expert:

  • You have at least one year of experience practicing in the occupation.
  • You have at least five years of combined experience with the occupation, including supervision/management, training/or teaching IF you have at least one year of practice during your career.
  • You are currently active in the occupation (practicing, supervising, teaching, and/or training) and based in the U.S.

If you meet these criteria and would like to participate as an Occupation Expert in the redefining of these terms, please email Elizabeth Salisbury at [email protected] and provide the following:

  • Name
  • Occupation: Chief Sustainability Officer OR Sustainability Specialist
  • Address with city and state
  • Daytime phone number
  • Email address
  • Do you have at least one year of practice in the occupation, and are you still active?
  • Total years of experience

A random sample of experts responding to this request will be invited to complete a set of questionnaires (paper or online versions available). A framed certificate of appreciation from the U.S. Department of Labor and $40 in cash will be included with the questionnaires as a small token of appreciation.

What is O*NET?

O*NET is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor and is a free resource for millions of U.S. jobseekers, employers, veterans, educators, and students. This tool offers an opportunity for individuals to search and explore occupations. Each entry lists the knowledge, skills, abilities, education requirements, and salary expectations for the given role.

O*NET will help define the sustainability professional role

An article from the Occupational Outlook Quarterly in Spring 1999 announced that the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) would be replacing the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT). Put simply, O*NET would be an interactive database with frequently updated entries (like a language) as opposed to a printed book like the DOT.

Currently there are 974 occupations listed in the O*NET taxonomy. The last revision of the taxonomy itself was in 2010.

The Chief Sustainability Officer and Sustainability Specialist entries, both listed with a Bright and Sunny Outlook icon, were last updated in 2016. The fact that O*NET has reached out to ISSP for additional updates means that the sustainability industry is indeed rapidly growing and that the ISSP organization is at the forefront.

To expand your knowledge of sustainability, consider enrolling in an ISSP Certification course today! The ISSP sustainability certification program is the first of its kind and offers an internationally recognized credential for sustainability practitioners.

Sign up for ISSP Sustainability Associate Exam Prep

About Lesley Cowie

Lesley has been passionately advocating for and working with green building and renewable energy since 2009. She has experience with LEED certification, home energy auditing, blower door testing, solar energy, and more. She holds many certifications, including LEED Green Associate and NABCEP Certification. Her work has won numerous awards over the past decade.