So how’s that professional certification thing going?

June 30, 2011, by Michael Gillenwater

Your response to the launch of the EP(GHG) professional certification over the last three weeks has been tremendous, confident, and unequivocal. Indeed, the reaction from the international GHG community has obliterated even our most ambitious expectations. Professional certification is the capstone initiative under our mission as a non-profit organization. Therefore, we want to say thank you those of you that have already expressed your support. (If you would like to add you voice to the list of supporters email us at: [email protected]. We will be excerpting some of these responses in future dispatches.)

Looking to the metrics behind your response, EP(GHG) applications, inquires, and web traffic have all exceeded our expectations. We have also been impressed by the diversity of support, spanning an impressive range of sectors and geographies (registrations from dozens of countries).

Your supportive response has validated the investment in the development of a rigorous professional designation for experts in GHG quantification and verification. We are not saying that certification is appropriate for everyone, but we do believe certification is a powerful tool of social transformation that can both provide a career path for many and provide a foundation for greater public and policy maker confidence in those tasked with the work of GHG measurement and management.

We also want to reiterate the message that we see our role at GHGMI as but a conduit for a professional movement; a movement that we want to catalyze and see as being much larger than our organization.

In an attempt to live up to this vision, in the coming months we will be asking you and your organizations to take greater ownership over this process of professionalization and specifically the development of certification programs for carbon management professionals. Our collective success will depend on us all accepting ownership over our evolution as a recognized professional community.

Open call to GHG trainers, educators, and capacity building professionals

As a first step in this direction we are making an open call to the broad network of individuals and institutions directly engaged in GHG training, education, and capacity building. Some of the requirements of the EP(GHG) designation can be met through recognized relevant training and coursework. We are actively seeking to recognize existing and emerging GHG training, education, and capacity building programs, courses, and initiatives to be listed as meeting these requirements. GHGMI offers an expanding curriculum of its own online courses. But GHGMI is not alone in providing GHG training. In the spirit of living up to and even exceeding the requirements of the EP(GHG) program’s ISO 17024 accreditation, which stipulates an unbiased treatment of training providers, and to meet our organizational mission to help build a collaborative and global GHG community, we are actively seeking to recognize other relevant training programs. If you are interested in becoming an EP(GHG) recognized training provider, please contact us at: [email protected].

So, thank you again for all of your support. Recognizing that we are all just starting the trek towards professionalization, it is invaluable to know that we are doing it together as an increasingly vibrant community. We look forward to working with you as we collectively further develop the EP(GHG) certification program.

Reflections on the rhetorical use of “carbon cowboy”

Earlier this month, in a special announcement marking the launch of the EP(GHG) certification program, we used a jocular title to draw attention to the many quality assurance benefits professional certification brings to the practice of GHG measurement and management. (Full text is available here.) In that blog we drew direct reference to the mythical “carbon cowboy,” arguing that personnel certification would help to assure technical competency and ethical behavior and would provide an important step toward our vision of a “supportive and constructive culture of professional practice.”(Being a Native Texan myself and knowing real cowboys, I probably see it as pure caricature more than others.) The point we are making is that the professional model has been powerfully applied in a diverse range of sectors across the economy. We strongly believe that the launch of the EP(GHG) certification is a way for us as a community to meet head on the emotive and generally inaccurate carbon cowboy image that has taken a life of its own since the British press corps coined the phrase a half decade ago. I think we can all agree that the characterization of our community as ungoverned casts a pall over carbon markets and the practice of GHG. We have felt that it is best for us to challenge this image directly and show the broader public that we are serious about what we do and are building the institutions to prove it.

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