A look behind the scenes of our new training course “think GREEN, act SMART: Introduction to sustainability for companies”

Interview /

Sustainability management and life cycle assessments are gaining in importance on the road towards climate neutrality. In order to sensitize and qualify employees from widely differing areas such as purchasing and sales or (prospective) sustainability managers, the demand for suitable further-training formats is increasing. We spoke to Education Manager Doris Jandel about the new Fraunhofer IST certificate course on the topic of sustainability in companies, which starts on the 9th of April 2024.

Doris Jandel, Education Manager at the Fraunhofer IST.
© Fraunhofer IST
Doris Jandel, Education Manager at the Fraunhofer IST.

The slogan for the new further-education program on the topic of sustainability for companies is “think GREEN, act SMART”. What exactly does this mean?

We are all feeling the shift in society and the economy towards a more sustainable future. Companies face new requirements at various levels, for example the political framework conditions for a sustainable supply chain, and also the desire for more conscious consumption by society.

In our training course, we want to explain and demonstrate how companies and their employees can deal with these new requirements and where they come from. We want to provide them with practical approaches and recommendations on how they can master the challenges in their jobs.

To provide you with a better idea of what we cover in the course, we listed you a few questions that we answer in our training:

  • How can people in the purchasing department recognize, for example, whether a product they want to order is really sustainable and not just greenwashing?
  • What considerations have to be incorporated into a genuine sustainability strategy?
  • How can real sustainability be communicated?

A broad selection of seminars and courses on the topic of sustainability are already available from a diverse range of providers. What is special about this course?

Conversations with numerous companies have shown that whilst there is indeed a wide range of courses available, the target audience that we are responding to have not been addressed to date. This is a unfortunate, because we are convinced that employees from purchasing and sales play an important role on the road towards sustainability and therefore have a significant influence on the future success of the company.

In addition to the target audience, our training courses at the Fraunhofer IST are characterized by the proximity to scientists from the institute and users from industry. Participants will have the opportunity to interact with them throughout all phases of the training, as these experts conduct the training.

The training takes place partly online and partly in face-to-face sessions. Why is that the case?

We combine the best of all worlds. For one thing, we enable participants to take part flexibly whilst continuing with their work. This allows them to acquire knowledge on sustainability, regardless of time and place, through our high-quality curated e-learning courses. During the direct live online exchange with the experts, this knowledge is deepened and expanded. In the concluding face-to-face event, it will then become firmly anchored. Furthermore, networking is facilitated through direct contact between the participants and with the experts. 

You are the “Education Manager” at the Fraunhofer IST. What exactly were your tasks during the development of this training course?

As Education Manager, I advise the experts on the methodological and didactic design of the training courses. Based on the results of market research, we work together to develop a needs-based training concept. Furthermore, I am also involved in the preparation of the teaching/learning materials. The experts provide the expertise, and I provide the concepts and scripts for the individual learning units. To achieve this, I work closely with my media designer Elsa Spitzenberg, who is responsible for implementation. In this way, attractive teaching/learning materials with a and low-threshold are created for our participants. An important task in this regard is to refine the topics in such a way that they are tailored precisely to the needs of the target audience. 

© Fraunhofer IST

Are there any other courses planned on the topic of sustainability?

Yes, we are currently working on a continuation of the training course with a focus on life cycle assessments (also known as LCA) in companies. There are also prospective plans for expert modules that delve deeper into the world of life cycle assessments for specific sectors. We plan to develop these in collaboration with other Fraunhofer Institutes.

And finally, a call to our readers: Our next training courses start on the 9th of April and the 3rd of September - register now! We look forward to seeing you.

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