This past week I had the chance to attend my first ISEAL Conference, this one was held in London. The ISEAL Alliance www.isealalliance.org is the leading international organization for sustainability standards, certification, accreditation and labeling. They are based in London and have staff in a number of different countries.
This may seem a little off topic but work in the field of social, environmental or other sustainability standards and certification can be isolating. As many of you may have noticed, certification is not a normal topic of conversation and finding colleagues who work in this area can be a bit hard. If you are working on a certification scheme (on standards, certification, accreditation, labeling, etc...) it is really helpful to find folks that you can talk to.
In organizations that run schemes that I have worked with there are a number of different specialties of the staff. Some are marketers, others are branding experts, some are the issue experts (these are the folks that are experts in the subject area of the scheme) and then there are the people that work on the nuts and bolts of how audits are conducted.
No matter which area you are in it is important to be able to connect with people who are working in a similar field. How one scheme solves a problem can inform how you can solve yours - even if the solution had to deal with calculating a living wage in a wide range of countries and you have to figure out how to deal with sustainable harvest levels across numerous ecoregions. Sometimes solutions are out there and it is so much easier to adapt a solution that works than to create a new one from scratch.
Our common goal is to make the world more just and sustainable --- and we can do that together so much more easily than working in isolation.