core competencies

Defining a profession: core competencies for SUSTAINABILITY
An information paper by Stephen Bickell, CEM Tutor. CEM OCCASIONAL PAPER SERIES – July 2013

There is a general awareness of sustainability issues in the built environment professions as well as a growing focus on using technical skills to provide sustainability solutions. In recent years the subject of sustainability has increasingly come to the fore at a strategic level within organisations. However, at present there is still relatively little clarity about which skill sets genuinely facilitate the delivery of sustainable outcomes even though – or perhaps because – education and training providers deliver a bewildering array of products. While sustainability knowledge and skills continue to be so poorly defined, sustainability itself will continue to lack credibility, which in turn will hinder people’s ability to identify and acquire the skills they need to deliver sustainability solutions.
This paper primarily seeks to draw together the latest thinking on what the core knowledge and skill sets among white collar professionals across all sectors of the built environment industry should be. This core knowledge and these skills are essentially the building blocks of sustainability literacy. In addition, they have other important ramifications – in particular in terms of the methods that are used
in sustainability training and education, and the ways in which these skills may be translated into business opportunities.

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