Part 4: Advancing the Occupation and Growing the Supply of Climate Leaders

Excitement doesn’t mean capacity. A growing field of practitioners are already working on greenhouse gas management, related energy considerations, and business continuity. Thousands of professionals in the public and private sectors are amongst the early members of the evolving climate change profession.

Much like the early years of other recently emerging professions (e.g. ethics and compliance officers, privacy professionals, anti-money laundering specialists), many climate change practitioners don’t yet self-identify as an occupation.  There are a variety of factors that contribute to this outlook.  Some include current broader job descriptions and political drivers.

  • We need to train and mobilize an army of capable practitioners and decision makers. This is our moonshot, or a workforce escalation comparable to that seen in the United States during World War II.  
  • We need to dramatically enhance the credibility and stature of climate leaders who have paved the way for the tremendous advances we’ve already made.
  • We need to rapidly deploy solutions, establish best practices, develop better and more informative tools and resources, forge new partnerships and build public will to support aggressive climate action.

A dynamically changing and uncertain climate policy landscape on its own makes it difficult enough to satisfy these needs. However, this condition is exponentially exacerbated by the lack of harmony of practice, consistent voice and practitioner community.

This is a clear call for our community of practice to come together to advance climate solutions and leadership.

The time is now! ACCO was conceived and designed to drive collaboration, credentialing, mentoring and advocacy. To take this next step, we need you to lead this effort with us. 

This vision includes:

  • COMMUNITY: ACCO already has convened one of the largest and most diverse climate change communities of practice in North America.  We’ll build upon that to bring thousands of practitioners from the public and private sectors together to advance their craft and careers. Members can participate in mentoring programs, access career resources, engage in standards and best practices development, exchange ideas and experiences with peers, join local chapters and other affinity groups, and shape advocacy on behalf of the practitioner community.
  • PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Our members and partners have enabled us to build more than 20 training modules to date. We’ll work with members and external partners to develop more, establish partnerships with peer credentialing bodies and establish a robust accredited provider network consisting of higher education institutions, nonprofit organizations, private sector training services and professional associations.
  • RESOURCES: Our vast library of content includes online training, webinar recordings, presentations, white papers, case studies and research findings. We’ll expand upon these resources and work in collaboration with other organizations.
  • CREDENTIALING: You want to advance your career, earnings and stature. Employers need to know that they are hiring the right person to lead or work on climate related initiatives in their organization. We have already established a core competencies framework and have nearly 1,000 practitioners who have taken courses for credit under our certification program. The first wave of credentialed professionals will hit the streets in March 2017. Testing for the CCP® Designation will be launched in a few weeks.
  • ADVOCACY: Join forces with peer practitioners to establish a strong voice representing the climate change community of practice. ACCO members will enjoy opportunities to collectively address best practices, standards and certain public policy issues. Without a strong professional association, critical issues such as disclosure, metrics for benchmarking success, and raising practitioner compensation are insufficiently addressed.

There is strength in unity. If you have read this far, you are likely passionate about your work and this issue.

We are passionate about this vision. We started this effort in 2008. Our work has led to requirements in executive orders on climate preparedness training and the establishment of an occupational series in Federal agencies. Our community was instrumental in developing the EPA’s Climate Leadership Awards program. We have produced scores of industry leading events and facilitated relationships resulting in substantial

But the time is now. We need to raise the bar and exponentially increase the number of skill assets deployed to tackle climate change. You need more support and resources. We can do this if we come together as one.

Join ACCO today. We will build. We will discover. We will be the change we want to see. And we will make a substantial impact together.