Seminar, Classroom, Adult

Earlier this month, IEHA, a Division of ISSA, announced its initiative to help members meet key sustainability goals while improving their earning power through the new IEHA Sustainability Professional (SP) Credential.

“The SP course modules explore the three Ps of people, planet, and profit, with a goal to create return on investment (ROI) for our environmental services (EVS) members,” says IEHA Executive Director Michael Patterson. “It’s doing well by doing good.”

The ROI of sustainability comes largely from reducing waste and viewing these materials as a resource to optimize.

SP Module One explains how “backcasting” can help. Backcasting is a form of sustainability planning that involves three steps:
1. Envisioning or forecasting the future.
2. “Casting back” to assess the current situation compared to the desired future condition.
3. Developing a plan to bridge the gap to the desired state.

Backcasting may also involve these steps:
1. Determining waste reduction goals (for example, reducing municipal solid waste by 60 to 75 percent and registered medical waste by 8 to12 percent and/or increasing recycling by 13 to 32 percent).
2. Developing a baseline of current waste levels based on a waste and recycling audit by weight, volume, and/or frequency of pickup.
3. Closing the gap with action steps created from collaborating with other departments. EVS leaders can also backcast by setting sustainability goals such as buying only products in packaging that contains 100 percent renewable, recycled, or certified materials.

IEHA’s SP program aspires to help members become more accomplished in sustainability
management—and to be happier on the job: SP Module Two cites the Net Impact and Rutgers University survey “Talent Report: What Workers Want in 2012,” stating that “employees who say they have the opportunity to make a direct social and environmental impact through their job report higher satisfaction levels than those who don’t. In fact, employees who say they can make an impact while on the job report greater satisfaction than those who can’t by a 2:1 ratio.”

Social engagement (i.e., “doing the right thing”) as cited above reduces another, perhaps even costlier form of “waste,” specifically, employee turnover.

SP Module Two states: “The moral? Take pride in your IEHA Sustainability Professional (SP) credential as your ongoing validated expertise in a sustainable waste reduction program helps the planet and makes you part of the solution, not part of the problem. In all likelihood, your knowledge and actions based on this informed position will help make you a more valuable and long-term employee.”