There is a phenomenon at work in our society, and it seems like a very good idea for nearly any size business. Until now, Going Green has been a kind of piecemeal and sporadic effort that included a few opportunistic ideas in the business. The fact that businesses have no defined plan for Green business certification has lead to a plethora of greenwashing tactics and numerous startup certification programs. However, new guidance exists for businesses that wish to Go Green in a reputable fashion. This guidance is found in Executive Order #13514, and in the examples of the Fortune 500 companies that are committed to a sustainable program for their entire operation.
While it is possible to outsource the Green programming of the company, EO #13514 instructs government agencies to install a “Sustainability Officer or Committee.” In fact, agencies have no choice in the matter, this is an order based upon existing law and further explained in the executive order signed by President Obama in the fall of 2009. This may seem like a flimsy suggestion, except for the fact that so many large corporations have already hired one or more sustainability officers to help drive the company toward a more sustainable operation. Like hiring a marketing specialist, the sustainability officer is the obvious and invaluable service for a Green company.
Merely installing a CSO (Certified Sustainability Officer) is not enough. This is a job with a very defined duty. The CSO needs to research the company and develop a tailored sustainability plan that is intended to be integrated into the larger operational plan for the company. This is not a task for amateurs, but hiring a sustainability officer can be a big expense. The logical and affordable solution is to have the appointed sustainability or Green officer go through some quality training. Certified Sustainability Officer training can be found from a variety of sources, but more community colleges and professional training centers are now installing live and distance learning programs.
The advantage of training a CSO should be apparent. Many company staff wear more than one hat. The sustainability officer can be a full time job in a large company, but a part time endeavor in a smaller company. The task is scalable as well. Larger companies will require more development, while smaller companies tend to move by opportunity. The presence of a CSO in the company keeps the issue part of the ongoing effort and avoids the sporadic approach to Green transition.
Colleges are now anxious to provide the training of Green officers for area businesses. The theory is astoundingly simple. If a Green or sustainability officer can be trained in a professional manner, the result will be a company that internalizes the sustainable program with greater ease. This is why companies often appoint a CIO, CFO, COO, or other tilted officers. The best way to assure that the job is being done is to have someone who is internally appointed, professionally trained, and capable of performing the assigned task.
The sustainability officer task is not difficult, but it is not for amateurs. The training is designed to provide a clear path toward a specific task required of every sustainability officer. That task is the preparation of a tailored sustainability plan. This is the basic requirements outlined in EO #13514. The sustainability officer has the duty to develop a sustainability plan for the agency or company of their employ. The reason that the sustainability officer is so essential to the task is that this is not a one-time effort. Every Green or sustainability plan should be viewed as a three to five year project. The monthly attention to the project is best served by a dedicated person who sees the sustainability plan as a “Working Project” rather than a onetime initiative.
The Sustainable Forum encourages community colleges, professional training organizations, and large corporations to adopt the Certified Sustainability Officer training in their offerings. It seems practical that “Every business needs a CSO,” and if this is accomplished more businesses will have a growing Green operation. The Certified Sustainability Officer curriculum can be found through a growing number of colleges and training programs. Large corporations are encouraged to contact the Green Business League to offer training to their various facilities. There is no program as practical and effective as the CSO training to make sustainability a natural process as installing a CSO in every branch or office.
Green Business League