From the President's Desk
By Rob Andrejewski, ISSP-SA, Director of Sustainability, University of Richmond, Richmond, VA
I first experienced the ability of a meeting check-in to bring a group together when I was a fellow in the Environmental Leadership Program (ELP). ELP took place over three, four-day retreats centered on leadership, diversity, collaboration, and capacity-building toward a sustainable future. Our facilitators would begin each meeting by asking us to share things like what feature of the weather represented how we were feeling (which helped everyone gauge the group temperature), asking a question about a personal hero (which allowed us to learn one another's stories), or inquiring what had shifted inside us since we last met (which helped us connect on a deeper level).
The overall experience was powerful and rewarding, and I wanted to bring both the lessons I learned and the ways I was taught back to work. However, I found that the space ELP held for certain activities, including the check-in, did not easily translate to my day-to-day office culture. At first, I did not have the courage to integrate relationship-building activities into my work for fear of wasting time (or worse, being perceived as wasting people's time). (Con't.)
Take Our Business Certifications Survey!
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Our work to survey sustainability professionals and capture their
experiences with certifications for organizations, products, supply chains, etc. is well underway. As previously announced, the results of
the survey will be used to produce a report on the purpose, criteria, scope, and credibility of the most widely recognized certifications currently in use. So i
f you have not had a chance to take the survey yourself,
to do so today!
All participants will receive an advance copy of the results. And if you are interested in examples of some of the certifications we may be evaluating, check out this list.
Better yet, feel free to share the survey with others who you think would be willing to take it too. You can tell them a
later edition will look at the certifications available for individuals.
ISSP Research & Resources Committee
Is Sustainable Capitalism Possible?
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By Beth Knight, Shining Hope for Communities, Kenya, Africa
Recently, terminology such as breakthrough capitalism and circular economy were added to sustainability lexicons. These frameworks call for changes to the current economic system.
In the "sustainable capitalism" debate, I find it most interesting to look at the systemic changes required. Here is my short list of what's broken and what needs fixing to make
What I think is broken:
How we can fix it:
- Shareholder value maximisation, short-term financial focus, perverse incentives & excessive compensation packages
- Entrenched interests & powerful incumbents (i.e. 'too big to fail' organisations enjoying privatised gains & socialised losses)
- Excess leverage, instability & systemic risk in the market - bolstered by surplus liquidity, HFT & excessive speculation
- Regulatory complexity, inadequate valuation & risk assessment
- Tax evasion
- Proliferation of reporting standards, coupled with difficulty in measurement & lack of disclosure
- Limited integration of social & environmental externalities into financial systems
- Perceived powerlessness of the individual
- Wealth inequalities, under-employment, work-life imbalance & a culture of consumerism
My fundamental answer to the question: Is "sustainable capitalism" possible? = Yes. The bigger question is: Will we act and when?
- When we consider "capitalism for the long-term" (See HBR, Barton, 2011), these challenges are not insurmountable and there are leverage points that have the ability to increase our rate of change:
- Clarification of fiduciary duty
- Increased transparency of data & unification of standards
- Evidence on the materiality of environmental & social risk
- Sustainable investment structures, products & services
- Active & proactive government policy
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ISSP Member and NYC Chapter Co-Chair Mark Wolf read and reviewed Al Iannuzzi's recent book,
Greener Products: The Making and Marketing of Sustainable Brands
. Mark writes that Al does a very nice job of creating and illustrating a framework that is easily understood and adapted for almost any organization, and calls the book "an excellent resource...written by an experienced professional with deep roots obtained from field-earned knowledge."
Sustainability Still Going Strong in U.S. Local Government
While the United States federal government has been moving away from sustainability in recent years, last week's conversation with
four ISSP credential holders
working for local governments was a wonderful reminder that sustainability is increasingly valued and being implemented by many communities across the U.S. From renewable energy to transportation to community inclusion, these sustainability leaders have a lot on their plate - important work which was given even more
from an ISSP credential. If you missed the webinar, you can find a free recording
This was the latest in a series of panel presentations designed to showcase how credentials recognizing the knowledge, skills, and abilities of sustainability professionals can have a far-reaching effect across many sectors and industries.
Profile: Jonathan Gregory, ISSP-SA
This month, we spoke to Jonathan Gregory, Conservation Program Coordinator for the City of Denton, Texas.
Although currently working to further the sustainability field in the public sector, Jonathan is a lifelong entrepreneur. As he says about his decision to get credentialed by ISSP:
"As an entrepreneur, I value credential-based education over institutional education because I believe my reputation will weigh more heavily on experiences and results than on any set of degrees. Along with other certifications I have obtained, I decided to secure my ISSP credential with the intent to verify and expand my understanding of sustainability principles."
Course: Tools for Strategic Transformation
Begins April 11th at 11:00am PT / 2:00pm ET
How can sustainability professionals navigate the jungle of sustainability techniques and change processes? How do we know when to apply them successfully? ISSP's upcoming April course teaches the VISIS Method (Vision | Indicators | Systems | Innovation | Strategy) as a guiding structure and sequence for sustainability tools.
Taught by expert sustainability consultant and author and ISSP Sustainability Hall of Fame inductee Alan AtKisson, the course will teach participants to apply the VISIS Method and its underlying theory to develop a sustainability project or initiative, as well as produce and implement a detailed strategic action plan. Participants will dig into case studies, examine the inner workings of selected tools, and consider the ethical dimension of strategy development.
Recordings will be available for those who cannot attend live. ISSP credential holders who pass the course will earn 1 CEU.
The course is $40 for ISSP members.
Webinar: The Rise of the Circular Economy in New York City
March 22nd at 11:00am PT / 2:00pm ET
We live in a fast-changing world, with a linear economy that relies on a once-through model of extraction, production, retail, usage and disposal. While this model has been very successful in providing access to affordable goods to consumers, the commercial, environmental, social and political risks related to it are increasing rapidly. So how do we do better?
Join us as we sit down with Tessa Vlaanderen, the founder of Circular Futures, a New York City-based consulting group and think tank, and Sue Ide, ISSP-SA, to discuss the circular economy - what it is, how it works, and how it is being implemented in New York City and elsewhere.
Webinars are free for members, and all registrants will receive a recording of the live event.
Sign up today!
Upcoming ISSP Chapter &
Regional Learning Network Events
The last two months saw a flurry of activity for ISSP chapters and regional learning networks (RLNs), with events including: 46 people networking at the Seattle meeting, the Chicago members learning about using appreciative inquiry to embed sustainability, and the Asia-Pacific members discussing how organizations and individuals are shaping national sustainability guidelines. Meetings tend to be held quarterly so March is a little quieter. More ISSP Chapter and RLN events will be posted in April.
3/14 1-2:00pm CET
- Join other sustainability professionals in Europe for a second meeting to discus r
esource sharing and how to sel
l sustainability internally and to customers.
Free for ISSP members.
3/27 5:15-6:30pm CT
- Join local members for an in-person meetup at
The Sustainability Lab @ T-Rex, a hub of collaboration for people working on, learning about, and advocating for sustainability.
ISSP Colorado Chapter
For the third year in a row, we're collaborating with Shadowcliff to present a four-day, residential workshop specially created to address the needs and aspirations of sustainability professionals.
If you are interested in having a RLN meeting in your region, fill out the survey form and consider volunteering to be an ISSP Ambassador.
ISSP board members and associates can be found sharing their kno
wledge, sharpening their skills and networking at sustainability gatherings around the world. Reach out and introduce yourself to the ISSP members listed below if you too are planning to travel to one of the many sustainability conferences going on this winter and spring. Let us know where you're headed by dropping a note to
April 4-7 National Academy of Inventors 2018 Conference
, Washington, D.C. Board Secretary and ISSP Co-Founder Marsha Willard is participating in the panel, "
Inventing Green: Making Environmental Responsibility More Accessible to Current and Future Inventors."
April 17 IPM Summit, Davis, California. Board Member Sarah Elaine Lewis is attending.