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Introducing the Sustainability Competence toolkit

The Sustainability Competence Toolkit (Hereafter “the Toolkit”) is one of the major undertakings of GoForIT. The ambition of the authors is to solve two systemic problems for operational sustainability in the industry and the society at large:

While it is commonly known what sustainability is, and why we need to change our ways, professionals don’t necessarily know how they should change their ways. This also applies to academia: Lecturers and designers of study programmes don’t know what should be taught in the different subjects. If we don’t coordinate our efforts, it might take a decade until operational sustainability is agreed upon. 

The same applies to procurement: Neither private nor governmental institutions know what to ask for regarding sustainability, be it acquisitions of systems or hiring people on time and material contracts. 

The process of making organizations behave more sustainable, is arguably one of change management. If we want people to change their behaviour, we need to communicate exactly what additional competence they need to have in addition to their existing professional knowledge. And in order for them to communicate precisely, we need to provide a common vocabulary, so that they are able to work in a cross-functional way.

Example: A CEO along with a CSO (Chief Sustainability Officer) needs to know how to produce and evaluate a Materiality Analysis. In other words, we consider it a core competence. Meanwhile, for a CEO, this is a strengthening competence to what he already has to perform his job as a manager. An IT System designer needs to know that such an artifact exist, and ask for it before he starts designing systems. Further, he or she should know how the priorities in the Materiality Analysis can be reflected into the design of the IT systems that support the operation. 

These challenges are part of the reasons for why we established GoForIT in the first places. We are privileged to count individuals from major institutions from the workforce and academia among our contributors.

Inspiration: Information Security

As with Sustainability, Information Security is a vast field of study, and can be intimidating for a professional to learn without knowing what is applicable to her. And within that domain, there are certain terms – like Risk Assessment – who form a common vocabulary. But in contrast to Sustainability, Information Security is a rather established additional competence for many professionals, and it is taught in appropriate ways in academia. 

Operational sustainability is in its infancy

As mentioned previously, the hows of sustainability are relatively unknown, and most of the information we have is less than a decade old. So in contrast to Information Security, we need to cater for that this is a field that can change rapidly, adding more value. We are therefore focusing on finding concepts and frameworks that have certain qualities, and must be prepared to adjust the material as we gain more knowledge and get valuable feedback.

Core and Strengthening Knowledge

Core topics are the ones we consider that a profile should be proficient in, and know how to execute

Strengthening topics are the ones who a profile should know about, and be able to recognize whether they are handled in a sufficient way by other profiles

Compatibility with other knowledge frameworks

Many institutions have excellent competence descriptions for the profiles that we are targeting here, and we only describe additional knowledge, exclusively related to sustainability. Thus, the toolkit should be considered as an add-on, and is not meant to be an exhausting description of the complete knowledge requrirements for a profile

Version log

PA130.5.2022Simen Sommerfeldt
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