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Accuracy of Sustainability Statistics

Jim Newton, P.E., DEE

Course Outline

This four hour course provides valuable information for those individuals who’s company is promoting sustainability and who are seeking to ensure a balanced and reasonable presentation of their efforts.. Completion of this course will provide the student the necessary information and testing to meet the continuing education requirements in order to renew their licenses.  It was designed by an instructor who has developed and implemented numerous similar training courses. 

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

Learning Objective

At the conclusion of this course, the student will be able to:

Intended Audience

The intended audience for this course is any professional who is responsible for reporting on a company’s sustainability efforts.

Benefit to Attendees

Attendees of this course will understand key sustainability reporting guidelines and how to report progress in a balanced and reasonable manner.

Course Introduction

There are numerous definitions for sustainability.  In order to provide a more complete picture of sustainability, a common definition needs to be agreed upon. One of the most common definitions was prepared by the World Commission on Environment and Development and published in 1987.  This organization defined sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” 

In a sustainable society nothing is wasted or released to the environment.  The wastes and byproducts are either recycled or reused either by the facility or other industries.  A product, once it has reached its useful life is recycled or repaired and reused.

Many organizations look upon sustainability as a union of three distinct areas: environmental sustainability, economic sustainability, and social or ethical sustainability.  This concept has often been referred to as “the triple bottom line” or “the three e’s”.  In the past, organizations have used the word “or” as in environmental sustainability or economic viability, environmental sustainability or social (ethical) progress, social progress or economic viability.  Sustainability concepts replace the “or” with “and”. 

Once a commitment has been made to promote sustainability, it is important to report progress on sustainability efforts in a balanced and reasonable manner.  It is just as important to ensure that the report presents accurate information.  There is a standard for just that aspect of sustainability reporting, AA1000.

Course Content

This course is designed for those organizations who are already promoting sustainability and covers the two main guidelines for reporting sustainability statistics, the AA 1000 Assurance standards issued by AccountAbility.

The texts for this course are the AA1000 Assurance Standard Series which includes the following documents:

The AA1000 Assurance Standard (2008, PDF),
The AA1000 AccountAbility Principles Standard (2008, PDF),
The AA1000 Stakeholder Engagement Standard (2011, PDF), and
The Introduction to the Revised AA1000 Assurance standard and the AA1000 Accountability Principles Standard
(2008, PDF)

Please click on the above underlined hypertext to view, download or print the document for your study. Because of the large file size, we recommend that you first save the file to your computer by right clicking the mouse and choosing "Save Target As ...", and then open the file in Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Course Summary

This course discusses how to report sustainability efforts in a balanced and reasonable manner.

Related Links

For additional information related to this subject, please visit the following websites or web pages:

Global Reporting Initiative


US Environmental Protection Agency


Once you finish studying the above course content, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

Take a Quiz

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of PDH Center or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered architect and/or professional engineer/surveyor. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.