Here's a collection of frequently asked questions about ISSP.  Send your follow-on questions to


What is a sustainability professional?

We at ISSP recognize that sustainability is a broad and still evolving field with professionals migrating into our community of practice from numerous traditional disciplines. The interdisciplinary approach to teaching sustainability is still emerging in Higher Education, so at this stage most sustainability professionals do not necessarily come to the field with a fully-formed or integrated view of sustainability. Therefore, our members include individuals who have brought their existing expertise and applied it within a sustainability framework, as well as those who have been trained in sustainability concepts and principles from the outset. Our mission is to support the people who are working in any aspect of this field to help advance sustainability thinking in the context of their own job functions and professions.


Why a professional association for sustainability?

Most professions have their own professional association to facilitate the continued learning and development of the people working in that field. ISSP exists to do that, of course, with its educational, research and policy-oriented activities. In addition, because sustainability is still a new profession, ISSP also seeks to bring definition, credibility and attention to the field and to serve as “the voice” of sustainability professionals.

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What is ISSP’s definition of sustainability?

There are many good, workable definitions of sustainability, with the Brundtland definition being the most often quoted. ISSP does not have its own specific definition as it is understood that different definitions are useful in different contexts.  Howere ISSP does focus on the 'triple bottom line' sustainability, meaning that sustainable development requires interdisciplenary, systems thinking that includes economic, social, and environmental sustainability. At ISSP we focus on the “practice” of sustainability. Therefore, our emphasis is on the implementation of sustainable strategies and methodologies to assist communities, organizations and individuals to prosper while honoring the laws and limits of natural systems as well as the needs of community members to thrive.


How is ISSP organized and run?

ISSP is a 501(c )(3) incorporated in the state of Oregon in the USA. ISSP has a Board of Directors and day-to-day operations are managed by an Executive Director

At present, ISSP organizes its staff and projects into four work streams:

  • Membership – which includes recruitment and retention, local chapter development, intra-membership networking
  • Education – ISSP offers a slate of on-line courses that can be taken individually or as part of a complete Body of Knowledge. In addition, ISSP presents webinars on timely topics each month.
  • Research – ISSP is dedicated to furthering the field and contributing to the knowledge base of its membership. Each year ISSP conducts at least one research study on topics of interest or import to our members. In addition, ISSP maintains a growing databank of professional materials (e.g. sample policies and plans, training materials, white papers, case studies and the like) which it makes available to its members at no charge.
  • Policy and Practice – ISSP seeks to advance both best practices and standards in the sustainability field in order to further the development of the profession itself.

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What does membership get me? What are the benefits?

Membership in ISSP provides many benefits including:

  • Access to a worldwide network of professional peers
  • Access to ISSP’s databank of professional resources
  • Free webinars
  • Discounts on ISSP courses, certification exams and study material, and conferences
  • Discounts on relevant publications and events around the world
  • Monthly e-journal
  • Events calendar here
  • Job postings here


Will I get a membership card or certificate when I join ISSP?

ISSP does not issue membership cards.  However, members do have an account on the ISSP website - click on Login in the upper right corner and use this email address as your user ID.  The first time you log in you will have to use the 'reset password' function and you will receive an email with a link to set up your password.

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What opportunities are there for me to get involved?

ISSP continues to develop opportunities for members to be involved in a variety of ways. ISSP members are invited to contribute articles to the monthly newsletter and materials for the databank of resources. ISSP runs a vibrant LinkedIn group that is geared to our organization’s work streams.

ISSP also has a volunteer program that allows members to get involved in a many different way.  Check out the Volunteer page of the website for current opportunities.


How do I connect to other members?

As a member of ISSP you have access to the roster of members. Our site enables you to search for other members by name, organization, location in the world and a variety of interest areas. These searches take you to the profile pages of members to facilitate your connection. To conduct a member search, log into your account, click on the “Membership” menu and then select member search. (Note: member search is ONLY availbale to members who have logged into their account.) Our members also connect through the various work stream activities discussed above, as well as through the ISSP LinkedIn group.

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How do I retrieve content on the ISSP website?

Retrieving information from the site is easy. Log into your member account and select the “resources” menu on the left. You will find a sub menu of different options (job postings, case studies). If you are looking for general information, select “Resource Library Search” and use the search box on the right side of the screen to enter terms of interest. You can further refine your search by clicking on specific node types; the recommended type is “resource.” 


Do you have local chapters?

Since 2012, ISSP has had local chapters in a number of areas. We are now transitioning to a more regional model of virtual meetings as many members are finding that more convenient.  See the Ambassador program page of the website for more information.

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Does ISSP offer certification for sustainability professionals?

Yes, ISSP has created the first globally recognized professional credentials for sustainability professionals.  See the Certification section of our website for more details. 


Does ISSP offer a sustainability training certificate?

ISSP used to offer a “certificate of completion” for individuals who completed a series of nine designated courses.  We now offer certificates of completion for individual courses to allow individuals to earn Continuing Education Units to show they are continuing to maintain their knowledge, skills and abilites. ISSP courses are worth between 1-4 CEUs which can be applied to renewing the ISSP Certification.  See the Courses section of the website for more information on individual courses we offer. 


What kind of training or professional development does ISSP offer?

In addition to our regular, one-hour webinar presentations, ISSP offers a full slate of courses. These courses are delivered primarily online over the course of a month’s time. They involve weekly live webinars with one or more of our internationally-known faculty members and then interim work on our learning center course pages. In order to earn credit toward the certificate of completion, each student must complete a project for each course as assigned by the instructor. For a full listing of education opportunities offered by ISSP, click here.

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Are there any face-to-face trainings?

ISSP’s trainings are primarily virtual to make them accessible to our international audience. We do, however, take the opportunity at our conferences to offer at least one of our certificate classes in a one-day, face-to-face format.


How often do conferences occur?

Our last conference was in Denver in 2014 and we working on plans for another conference, possibly in 2018 or 2019. For information about our most recent conference, ISSP Conference 2014, click here. For information about our other past conferences, click here.


If you have questions about S-CORE(TM), ISSP new sustainability assessment tool, click here.

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