Why We Are Hosting this Congress & How We See the Congress as a Critical Pivot for Our Communities of Practice

We are at a critical point in our efforts to drive the unprecedented transformation called for by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.  Tens of thousands of professionals, in organizations across multiple sectors, are leading and supporting increasingly bold efforts to transform their operations. From day-to-day decisions to big-picture goals, everyone is making huge strides toward a more climate-prepared and sustainable future world.

While the goals and the emphasis are getting greater, it’s clear that we need to invest in maturing the fields of practice, the efforts of our members and improve the resources our communities rely upon to inform their work.  ACCO and ISSP have spent considerable resources over the years shaping competencies through training and credentialing programs, among other actions, and we are both looking to take that next evolutionary step. To do so, we recognized our need to host a large convening of like-minded members to focus on the issues that are hurdles and key opportunities for our communities.

The Format Matters

American Author, Motivational Speaker and Blogger Rachel Hollis nailed it when she said:

“A conference is powerful because you’re immersed. That’s something you can’t get anywhere else. You have to be immersed in a space with a bunch of like-minded people in order to have that moment of...Wait a minute, what if… What-ifs only happen when you’re immersed long enough to strip away the normal, everyday narrative that rules our lives.”   

This is precisely the type of experience we will deliver to Congress attendees and sponsors, local elected officials, and business leaders. We want to tackle the hard questions and most pressing issues facing our membership, and produce conclusions that shape future programs and priorities for ACCO, ISSP and our members.  

We also want to challenge how our respective fields are operating, and to reveal how we might pivot and accelerate the shift to a more just and climate change-prepared way of living.   

A Program Informed & Designed by Our Membership

In order to ensure that we shape a program whose themes and topics resonate with you, we have formed a planning council with more than 30 practitioners from our communities, issued a call for topics that generated more than 100 submissions, and conducted two virtual town halls in which more than 60 practitioners participated.

We have already received a great set of recommendations from our respective communities.  Here are three examples of the types of topic suggestions we received through this process:

  • A staff member from a large city shared how budget constraints are the biggest issues facing city officers like herself, and how we must keep our collective work from being seen as unnecessary and cost prohibitive.

  • The head of a consulting firm indicated that market research, strategic communications and effective channeling are critical to how decision-makers in both the public and private sectors prioritize and attribute resources to sustainability.

  • Several town hall participants indicated that ACCO and ISSP should work to get a standard occupational (NAICS) code with the U.S. Department of Labor for our respective professions, and should work to advise peer credentialing bodies on incorporating climate change and sustainability into their codes of ethics and standards of conduct.

Next week, we will announce a detailed set of track themes and session topics you can expect to see at the Congress. These themes will help define more than ever the exact issues you and your peers have identified as needing immediate attention. Together, we can find solutions, and design - and then implement - the best way to tackle these issues head-on. It can’t be done alone; we need to join forces as a convening body for the greatest impact.

Where You Come In - Contributing to the Event

Your preparation for and follow up from the event will be as important as your engagement. The goal is to not just invest in ourselves, but in our occupations and the elevation thereof. And that does not happen overnight.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Register today to attend the Congress

  2. Help us get the word out about the Congress and why it’s important

  3. Participate in the next sets of virtual town halls and online discussions we will host  

  4. Follow us on social media (@ClimateOfficers & @ISSP_Org) and look for the hashtag #GlobalCongress

  5. Learn about sponsorship opportunities

If you are not interested in these objectives or approaching your work differently, this might not be the conference for you.

If you are, if this opportunity excites you and you want to have more of an impact, we will see you in December!