ISSP Certification

ISSP Sustainability Associate Demographics

An overview of the demographics collected during the ISSP Certification beta testing process

ISSP Sustainability Associate Demographics

ISSP Certification is the newest professional credentialing program available for sustainability practitioners. The program offers an opportunity for sustainability practitioners to get on the same level of knowledge and unite with a marketable seal that validates their competency.

The International Society of Sustainability Professionals, or ISSP, governs the program and defines a sustainability practitioner as a professional who spends more than 25% of his/her work time planning, implementing, managing, and reporting sustainability efforts for organizations and communities.

This includes internal practitioners who may hold a title like Sustainability Director as well as external consultants who help organizations implement sustainable practices.

ISSP Sustainability Associate

The first step to earning an ISSP credential is to become an ISSP Sustainability Associate. This credential demonstrates a high-level understanding of sustainability drivers, legislation, and tools.

ISSP Sustainability Associate (ISSP-SA) is the required first step for all candidates interested in ISSP Certification. After passing the ISSP-SA exam, a candidate may choose to pursue the advanced ISSP Certified Sustainability Professional (ISSP-CSP) designation. The advanced level takes a deeper dive into implementation of sustainability practices.

ISSP credentials 

Where the Program Stands Now

ISSP conducted a series of beta tests prior to launching the program in November 2016. Though ISSP used the betas to monitor the testing process, they announced that all candidates who participated and passed the exams legitimately earned the credential for which they tested. Not only were these individuals among the first in the world to earn the ISSP designations, but they laid the foundation for how the certification will be perceived.

It was from these individuals that ISSP could share the demographics of ISSP-SA and ISSP-CSP certified professionals to date.

Note – The ISSP beta tests were limited to ISSP members only. The ISSP certification exams are now open to the public.

ISSP Sustainability Associate Demographics

The main demographic information collected during the ISSP beta test included years of work experience, geography, and industry.

ISSP Sustainability Associate demographics


The ISSP beta test revealed that 33% of the exam candidates had less than 5 years of experience. A similar margin of the test audience (31%) had between 5 and 10 years of experience. It’ll be interesting to see how these figures change over the years, given that ISSP-SA is a required first step even for those who want the advanced ISSP-CSP credential.


Maureen Hart, the executive director of ISSP, expects to see more participation from Asia, Europe, and Africa, noting that this program is “the only international certification for sustainability professionals.” Considering that ISSP has partnered with a third-party test proctoring company (Kryterion) with over 900 test centers worldwide and remote online proctoring services, the ISSP certification exams will certainly be available to candidates from all over the world.


Not surprisingly, the most engaged sector of professionals so far has been consultants, followed by education. Everblue alone had 4 employees participate in the beta testing, and as an ISSP Education Partner, we must have contributed to that slice!

ISSP-CSP Demographics

ISSP also shared the audience information for its second-tier credential. You can see how some of the percentages shifted.

ISSP CSP demographics

For more information about ISSP Certification, please give us a call at (800) 460-2575.

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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.