GACSO to join IEMA

14 Mar 2014 18:49 | Charles Layton

GACSO, the Global Association of Corporate Sustainability Officers, is to integrate itself into IEMA, the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment, with effect from April 2014. This will combine the sustainability expertise of GACSO members with the resources of IEMA to accelerate the professionalisation process.


GACSO was set up five years ago explicitly to support the development of the sustainability profession and to empower sustainability professionals. It achieved this through the commitment of its members on a voluntary basis, offering their time and skills for the benefit of the wider sustainability community through events, thought pieces, seminars and networking among some of the most experienced sustainability practitioners.


Since its creation, the role of the corporate sustainability officer has become established as a key function in responsible and visionary organisations. GACSO members can justifiably claim to have met their original objective of increasing the profile and credibility of sustainability professionals.


Sustainability membership organisations are now at a crossroads. There is a growing need and desire to establish corporate sustainability practice on a professional basis. This requires a level of commitment and organisation that GACSO, as a volunteer-led organisation, cannot deliver on its own.


The GACSO Board decided that the best way to best meet these new demands would be to find a partner organisation that shared its one planet ethos and had the capabilities and scale necessary to drive the professionalisation agenda. They began the search in the second half of 2013 and were delighted to find that IEMA shared their passion and enthusiasm to capitalise on the work done by GACSO over the last five years.


IEMA has over 15,000 members in over 90 countries. While its origins lie in the professional development of people dealing with environmental issues, it has recognised that its members, particularly at more senior levels of their careers, need to be proficient in a much wider range of disciplines. This is recognised in its Vision 2020: “Transforming a world to sustainability”.


Alan Knight, Board member and founder of GACSO, said, “Our discussions with IEMA have been constructive from the outset. The IEMA leadership share a common vision to GACSO which has made discussions really straightforward. I was amazed by how quickly we reached agreement on key issues.”


Stuart Poore, GACSO Chairman, said, “The GACSO Board is unanimous that that the IEMA union provides the most natural fit for the next stage of the professionalisation process for corporate sustainability practitioners. We were genuinely excited when we were able to announce the news to our members.”

Tim Balcon, IEMA Chief Executive Officer, said, “Joining up with GACSO provides a critical level of practical knowledge and experience in one organisation to allow us to push forward with setting the principles and standards for the emergent sustainability profession.”


Diana Montgomery, IEMA Chairman, said, “This is an important step for IEMA as well as for GACSO. We will retain the identity of the GACSO name as a new category of IEMA membership. We look forward to working with our new colleagues to achieve our joint vision of transformational change to sustainability.”

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