Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) has announced it will provide funding for 100 individuals from underserved and underrepresented communities to earn one of its updated Sustainability Excellence professional credentials. The credentials recognize proficiency in sustainability practices and contribute to developing, training and supporting a skilled global green workforce.
Achieving a Sustainability Excellence credential demonstrates a person has the skills and knowledge to foster innovation, transform culture and embed sustainable practices into organizations and communities. The 100 individuals that earn their Sustainability Excellence credential will join a network of more than 360 credentialed professionals worldwide.
GBCI announced the investment during its Sustainability Professional Town Hall on Dec. 1. The commitment is an extension of the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) new USGBC All In program, which is focused on addressing social, health and economic disparities in communities through green building and sustainability. All In outlines 12 priorities and actions that the organization has committed to around equity, including a pledge to educate and develop a new workforce of green building and sustainability leaders from underserved and underrepresented communities. Individuals interested in participating can submit a request to receive more information.
“As the urgency to build healthier, more equitable and more sustainable communities grows, GBCI has expanded to offer programs that help develop and train a workforce needed to make these goals a reality,” says Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, GBCI and USGBC. “We are preparing and recognizing the skilled professionals capable of helping organizations and communities integrate sustainability at all levels. The Sustainability Excellence credentials are integral in paving the way and ensuring the focus is on decisions that support a healthier, more resilient and prosperous future for all.”
Employers are increasingly placing a value on a workforce with sustainability knowledge and training. A 2019 study from University College London revealed the green economy in the U.S. accounts for 9.5 million jobs, and the Environmental Education Foundation finds that 65 percent of businesses value environmental and sustainability knowledge in their job candidates. Additionally, studies have shown low-income communities often suffer the greatest environmental burdens. An Urban Environment and Social Inclusion Index report examined 30 global cities and found that while many performed well when it came to the environment, the results were not achieved equitably. Providing education and training for individuals in areas most impacted by environmental issues can contribute to helping communities repair and heal.
The updated Sustainability Excellence credentials include the Sustainability Excellence Associate (SEA) and the Sustainability Excellence Professional (SEP). The SEA demonstrates an understanding of core sustainability concepts, and is designed for emerging sustainability professionals, including students, recent graduates or professionals looking to incorporate sustainability best practices into their career. The SEP demonstrates advanced knowledge and experience in the field of sustainability and recognizes leaders and experts who are at the forefront of the transition to a more sustainable world.
The Sustainability Excellence credentials were originally developed by the International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP) through years of research by hundreds of sustainability professionals and organizations to define the core competencies and provide formal recognition of knowledge, skills and abilities. Since 2017, GBCI and ISSP have partnered to enhance, scale and promote the credential in order to drive positive environmental, social and economic outcomes in organizations and communities at a global scale.
“ISSP and GBCI are committed to moving the sustainability profession forward by defining professional excellence and empowering individuals to advance sustainability in organizations and communities around the globe,” adds Ramanujam. “GBCI will continue to partner with ISSP to support more individuals in earning their Sustainability Excellence credential in order to shape a more diverse and inclusive green workforce.”
GBCI maintains a suite of 15 professional credentials and certificate programs that showcase an individual’s knowledge, experience and credibility in the green building and sustainability marketplace. Among those is USGBC’s LEED AP for green building professionals. USGBC is also offering funding for individuals in underserved communities to pursue the credential. Together, the funding from GBCI and USGBC will support hundreds of individuals in obtaining the knowledge and skills needed to advance healthier, more sustainable communities and businesses.