International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP)

The International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP) is the world`s leading professional association of sustainability professionals. We work to make sustainability standard practice by empowering professionals to advance sustainability in organizations and communities around the globe. As a professional association, ISSP improves the skills of sustainability practitioners through education, knowledge sharing, research, and professional credentials. ISSP is committeed to achieving this mission and vision through an integrated strategy with three pillars: empowering professionals, establishing the profession, and defining professional excellence, based on a foundation of creating and convening communities of sustainability professionals. Empowering professionals to advance sustainability in organizations and communities around the globe.

Company details

2515 NE 17th Ave , Portland , OR 15219 USA

Locations Served

Business Type:
Professional association
Industry Type:
Market Focus:
Globally (various continents)
Year Founded:

We achieve this through:

  • Professional Development: Providing sustainability education, training, webinars, professional credentials, and professional development opportunities
  • Membership: Linking sustainability professionals sharing best practices and innovation, locally and around the world
  • Sustainability Professional Certification: A globally recognized industry-wide initiative to advance the skills, knowledge and abilities and recognizes the achievement and competency for both new and experienced professionals 
  • Resources & Research: Providing tools and resources for advancing sustainability
  • Partnerships & Policies: Working with other sustainability-related organizations to extend our reach

ISSP is a member-driven organization committed to moving the profession of sustainability forward through building strong networks and communities of practice. Webinars, online courses, a sustainability professional certification, sustainability professional’s body of knowledge, special reports, resource directories, salary surveys and the ISSP Sustainability Professional Certification Program are just a sampling of the rich content offered to members. Established in 2008 as an independent 501(c)(3),  ISSP now boasts over 1000 members from every region of the world. Members share resources and best practices, and develop themselves professionally.

Individuals join ISSP to be a part of a professional organization building individual and collective knowledge in the highly dynamic and constantly developing field of sustainability.  In-person and virtual member events provide networking opportunities with sustainability professionals across all industries and sectors around the globe. Organizations join ISSP to make a visible commitment to advancing global sustainability, bring their services and knowledge to ISSP members, and provide individual memberships for their staff. For individual membership rates, see the Membership registration page.  For Organizational membership rates, see the Organizational membership registration page.

More About ISSP:

 Annual Reports


Another big year for ISSP starting with membership topping 1,000 at the beginning of the year. The ISSP Certified Sustainability Professional credential exam was launched in April and by the end of the year, there were 336 ISSP-SA and 61 ISSP-CSP credential holders. The Regional Learning Network meetings began in September and members started having virtual 'lunch' gatherings shortly after. Finally, in October, ISSP and GBCI announced their partnership to leverage their respective resources to advance green and sustainable business practices through professional credentialing.


A busy year of ISSP activities culminated with the opening of registration for the ISSP Sustainability Associate (ISSP-SA) credential exam. ISSP introduced a new Education Partner Program for organizations that deliver superior sustainability education and training. ISSP also rolled-out a new Organizational Member Program with opportunities for companies and not-for-profit organizations to support the mission of ISSP along with access to a package of marketing and membership benefits.


ISSP’s efforts to establish a globally recognized certification for Sustainability Professionals reached a huge milestone when registration opened for beta testing of the ISSP Sustainability Professional Certification Program. On the local chapter front, ISSP offered a five-day training course in Jakarta in partnership with its Indonesia Chapter. An ISSP Regional Chapter for Tennessee-Arkansas-Mississippi was launched by sustainability professionals in the Mid-South region of the United States.


The third conference in Denver held with a fantastic combination of speakers, participants and new Hall of Fame inductees. The body of Knowledge, which underpins the professional certification process, is finalized. ISSP Board votes to move forward with Professional Certification. S-CORE(TM)(Sustainability--Competency, Opportunity, Reporting & Evaluation) sustainability assessment introduced. Launched local chapter in Colorado.


 A big year for ISSP.  Membership approached 700; we held our second conference in Chicago drawing attendance from every inhabited continent; we created the job task analysis for our professional certification process and formally launched local chapters in Toronto, Chicago, Portland, and Jakarta.


To meet growing member interest, ISSP began to explore the formation of local chapters.  An interest group of over 80 people helped the organization structure a format and agreement for helping members organize in their communities.


ISSP offered its first conference in Portland, Oregon to rave reviews of the people who traveled from all over the world to attend. Membership hit the 600 mark.


As our membership continued to grow with the profession, ISSP continued to improve and increase the offerings including new courses, webinars and special reports.  ISSP also launched its new and improved website that enabled members to form autonomous groups, managed registrations on our site and tracked member activity including courses completed. We published our first significant piece of research - the professional competency study that identifies the core competencies of sustainability professionals.


In 2009, we launched the Sustainability Professional Certificate series with workshops from esteemed members of the sustainability community such as Bob Willard, Gwen Hallsmith and Hunter Lovins, Alan AtKisson and many more.  We introduced virtual member meetings and cemented our bi-monthly webinar program. We also reached almost 600 members.


 In 2008, we matured enough as an organization to form our own 501(c)(3) with an international board of directors. We had several hundred members from five continents.


By early 2007, we had an advisory board of respected sustainability professionals from around the world to help vet the design and a couple corporate sponsors underwriting the costs of getting the organization started.  Approximately 50 founding members from around the world started populating the site with useful material in the 2nd quarter of 2007.  In October 2007 we opened the doors for inaugural members for a soft launch.


The idea of an organization dedicated to the promotion and support of the emerging group of sustainability professionals was first floated at the Zero Waste Alliance.  So many other professions have their own professional association. Where was ours?

After speaking with existing organizations that might be a candidate, we determined that we needed to start a professional society from scratch. An initial marketing effort was launched in the second half of 2006 to determine if we were the only ones that thought it was a good idea and discovered that many other people were eager to have such a resource.  The biggest needs, according to our market research, included:

  • Networking: To be able to find other people who shared your interests or were working on similar projects.
  • Sharing Best Practices and Tools: To have a repository for case studies, sample policies and job descriptions, and other resources.
  • Professional Development: To have access to conferences and workshops dedicated to sustainability practitioners

By the end of 2006, a core group of committed Zero Waste Alliance associates had come together to seriously look at the feasibility, outline the framework and determine a timeline for launching. This team put in untold hours getting the organization and an initial website up and running. The Zero Waste Alliance, and its parent organization, the International Sustainable Development Foundation, generously incubated ISSP in the first two years offering administrative support and the official structure of an incorporated non-profit organization.