Employee Training Is Essential For Any Corporate Transformation
Sustainability education can support a company’s initiatives in two ways. First, it can serve as a broad introduction to aspects of sustainability to support the decision-making process. Or it can provide supplementary technical information as well as guidance on implementation once the sustainability initiatives have been established. Either way, good corporate training guides employees through the range of sustainability topics relevant to their company’s goals, business strategy, operations, and ultimately their own jobs.
Online Courses Have Come Of Age
There is a rich array of online courses that have become available, bolstered no doubt by the increased use of digital products during the pandemic. While much of it tends to be self-study with generic content, some companies offer more tailored and interactive education. Some of these providers also offer certified continuing education.
Sustainability Education Can Be Broken Into Two Categories
In my previous blog, Corporate Sustainability Training for Employees: An Executive Guide, I did an overview of the types of sustainability education and courses that are available to businesses that want to train and raise awareness among their employees. Now let’s look at one of the options for employee training that was discussed, practical education.
These courses tend to tackle smaller and more specific topics. They are often task oriented, focusing on specifics to implement sustainability initiatives, and can be grouped into two categories.
Increased Knowledge and Professional Development
These courses are designed to develop sustainability competence and cover topics such as: resource use reduction and efficiency, sustainability communication & reporting, leadership, employee engagement and wellbeing, procurement and supply chain management, and finance and metrics
- Green Office Academy, courses to plan and implement your sustainability program – The signature course is a 6-week instructor, The Green Office Roadmap to give the student the knowledge and procedures to create a full-blown sustainability action plan that will transform their office. Courses that serve as implementation guides on particular topics, such as:
- Sustainable Purchasing
- Cultivating Capital, Sustainability Training 101 – This course describes the essentials of sustainability: what it is, how you should think about it within social and business contexts, and what you can do to improve practices at work and at home.
- International Society of Sustainability, self-paced courses – This organization offers a plethora of courses designed in partnership with sustainability industry experts for both those new to the concepts and those with advanced careers in sustainability. Designed for anyone seeking introductory knowledge across sustainability themes, with a more advanced series for seasoned professionals updates, these courses are available to members and nonmembers. Here is a selection of what is offered:
- Sustainable Hospitality & Tourism
- Making the Business Case for Sustainability
- Accounting & the Triple Bottom Line
- Marketing for Sustainability
- Greenhouse Gas Accounting
- Sustainable Finance
- Creating & Managing a Green Team
- Change Management for Sustainability
- External Sustainability Reporting
- Sustainability ROI Workbook
- Terra.do, courses to support learners finding their way into climate work – They have cohorts of 100 people that take a multi-week online course taught by world-class climate experts and practitioners. Their cohorts take deep dives into topics such as:
- Climate Change: Learning for Action
- Climate Change for VCs
- Circular Economy: Principles & Applications
- Climate Farm School
- Electric Vehicles and Fleets
These courses lead to a certificate for a particular system or to a professional certification for individuals. They are generally provided either by academic institutions or by industry organizations that often require membership.
- International Society of Sustainability, courses to help prepare for the exams for their two credentials: Sustainability Excellence Associate (SEA) and Sustainability Excellence Professional (SEP). They have study guides, flashcards, and practice exam questions. They also have career-focused courses:
- How to Get a Job in Sustainability
- Advanced Networking
- Defining & Communicating Your Personal Brand
- Refining Your Professional Online Presence
- The Association of Energy Engineers, in-person and instructor-led online courses to prepare applicants for some of their nineteen certifications which include Certified Energy Manager (CEM) and Certified Energy Auditor (CEA)
- The United States Green Building Council (USGBC),a full library of online courses which help applicants prepare for the LEED Green Associate and LEED AP exams, and fulfill continuing education requirements for their credential maintenance program (CMP). They also have general interest courses in sustainability and green building such as:
- Sustainable Interiors 101
- Strategies to Support healthy Indoor Air
- Design Strategies for Occupant Engagement
- Leadership: The Zero Waste Multiplier
Practical Corporate Sustainability Training for Employees
Increasingly, it is a business imperative that at least some employees have familiarity with sustainability, so they can incorporate those considerations into their decision-making, even if it is not explicitly part of their job description. This training and education becomes more important for those individuals leading green teams and sustainability committees at a company. If your company is at the beginning of your sustainability journey or has some areas that need improvement, practical education aimed at the business consumer provides a good first step.
About the Author
Founder & President
Julia Craighill is the founder and president of Ensight. She is a driven, award-winning sustainability expert committed to helping organizations build value through green strategies. With more than three decades of experience in architecture, construction and sustainability, she collaborates with her clients to align green goals with business goals. A frequent speaker and prolific author on issues of sustainability and resiliency, Julia is known for her solid, pragmatic guidance that helps organizations make the leap from good intentions to long-term, profitable performance. Since starting Ensight Consulting seven years ago, Julia has helped dozens of companies, from large multi-national corporations to a two-person yoga studio, reduce their environmental impact and demonstrate corporate responsibility.