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COURSE: Understanding & Using Sustainability Standards

April 15, 2019 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

$60.00 – $70.00
Register Now


Are sustainability standards and certifications creating a more sustainable world or are they only window dressing and greenwashing?   The number and diversity of sustainability standards has increased dramatically over the last 10 years. Is this making a difference or only creating chaos and confusion for consumers and businesses? How can you tell if a standard is credible and effective?

ISSP’s “Understanding & Using Sustainability Standards” course surveys the current landscape of standards and certifications for organizations, products, processs, supply chains, and services. Generally known as Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS), this course will provide sustainability, procurement, and marketing professionals with a tool to evaluate which are the most appropriate for their organizations or clients. At the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Define key terminology relating to standards and certifications and the difference between commonly confused terms such as guidelines, standards, and certifications.
  • Describe key types of actors/organizations in a VSS system and explain the role of the most globally recognized organizations in the VSS landscape.
  • Explain the difference between certificates, product declarations, and ecolabels and the most appropriate uses for each.
  • Describe the components of voluntary sustainability standards (VSS) and VSS systems and the different types and levels of sustainability standards.
  • Explain the key principles that are the foundation of credible and effective sustainability standards systems.
  • Explain the benefits and value to businesses of using VSS and well as the challenges and limitations.
  • Determine the best sustainability standards and certifications for a particular organization, product, process, or service.

The course will help you answer the following questions:

  • How do I tell if a standard or certification is credible?
  • Will adopting a sustainability standard create value for our company?
  • Are there any downsides to using sustainability standards and certifications?
  • Who in the organization needs to be involved in the selection process?
  • Should we be using an ecolabel or a product declaration?
  • Is our current marketing putting us at risk of greenwashing claims?

Who should take this course?

  • Anyone new to the field of sustainability;
  • Professionals working in or for organizations considering whether to pursue a sustainability standard; certification, or ecolabel for an organization, product, process, or service;
  • Individuals responsible for evaluating organizations, products, processes, or services, particularly in the context of supply chain management or procurement; and
  • Long-time sustainability professionals looking to refresh their knowledge and skills related to sustainability standards

Your online course experience, from pre-work to deliverable completion, is April 1 through May 6.  The course is delivered online and via the Internet so you participate from your computer for both the live weekly webinars and for the 24/7 online ‘classroom’ experience.


Maureen Hart, ISSP-CSP, has over 25 years of sustainability consulting experience with a focus on sustainability assessment, indicators and metrics. She is a long-time member of ISSP and served as ISSP’s Executive Director from 2014 to 2018.


This course meets online four times in April. Live webinars are 60-90 minutes on Mondays, April 8, 15, 22, and 29 at 2:00pm PT-US.  All live webinars are recorded and the recordings and slide decks are posted for those who are unable to attend live. Not in PT-US time? Check out your time zone here.


  • ISSP Member: $40
  • ISSP Partner: $60*
  • Non-Member: $70

Successful completion of all course requirements will earn a passing grade and an individualized Certificate of Completion, along with 2 Continuing Education Units for ISSP-SA and ISSP-CSP credential holders.

*Registrants who are not ISSP members but hold current memberships in the U.S. Green Building Coundil (USBGC), Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE); Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability (ACTS); Sustainability Tools for Assessing and Rating (STAR) Communities; the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN); or the Association of Climate Change Officers (ACCO) may register using the ISSP Partner rate. You must use your institutional email address when registering in order to receive the discount.


Register Now


April 15, 2019
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
$60.00 – $70.00
Event Category:




International Society of Sustainability Professionals
(866) 510-5668