Wendy Jedlička
An Invitation

In a July 16, 2010, The Chronicle of Higher Education blog post "Hiring for Sustainability," writer David Evans, voices the problem many schools and firms are having now: How to hire the right eco-professionals.

It would be easy to hire in one of the "traditional" sustainability-related areas (say, ecology or environmental ethics), but what I'd really like to do is leverage this hire by seeking someone who has truly new disciplinary expertise...But the problem then becomes how to articulate the position in such a way as to cast a wide net in any ads we'd place, without making it so broad as to be either impossibly vague or irresponsibly capacious.

Crafting a job post for sustainability isn't difficult if you know the language. But if you're not already deep in the effort and fluent with the terms, how do you know what to say if you're just starting your sustainability program or business-model change? How do you attract quality candidates with solid track records, rather than just scores of tender light-greens?

As part of the effort helping both businesses and schools make the shift to a more sustainable operating model, over the years working eco-practitioners have found getting people comfortable with the tools and language they need is key to moving the whole of this important paradigm shift forward. To this end, the Upper Midwest chapter of the o2 International Network for Sustainable Design has some great tips on where to start (o2umw.org/WhereDoIStart) and offers this checklist to help further get things rolling...

Checklist for hiring sustainability practitioners:

1) Do your homework
There are two books that will give you a good overview of language, systems thinking, and eco-strategic methodologies currently being used by sustainability leaders: Packaging Sustainability: Tools, Systems and Strategies for Innovative Package Design (PackagingSustainability.info serves consumer goods industries on a variety of levels), and Sustainable Graphic Design: Tools, Systems and Strategies for Innovative Print Design (SustainableGraphicDesign.info serves print and media focused firms, with an additional chapter on eco-operations [Working Smarter], and an expanded section on carbon accounting).

2) Have a strategic goal
You may be hiring someone to help you solidify and flesh-out your long-term eco-strategy, but if you have no clue at all, you will be easily taken-in by anyone painting a utopian picture covered with fields of easy-buttons. Look at what your competition is up to, look around for initiatives in your industry. Having a good idea of who the eco-leaders are and what they're up to, will give you a basic idea of where you also need to start heading, and can better identify what sort of candidates can best help you achieve your goals.

3) Look for targeted experience and certification
Unfortunately anyone can wake-up one day and say "I'm an eco-pro," then go out and peddle their wares. Look for candidates with a proven track record. Those who can talk in detail about the work they've done over the years, and those who have earned credentials in applied sustainability will be ready with real and actionable solutions, vs. a bunch of green-ish maybes.

An Invitation:

As part of the o2umw.org "Higher Education Campaign: Eco-responsibility in the Classroom" campaign (o2umw.org/ecoinedu), as well as part of their ongoing advocacy efforts for sustainable design, if any institution needs help crafting their job postings, o2 has been connecting long-time eco-practitioners with those new to sustainability for over 20 years. They're happy to help, give them a call!

For more information contact Wendy Jedlička, CPP at:
(001) 651-636-0964




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