Sustainability Career Path: Top 4 Tips to Grow in Your Career

Sustainability Career Path: Top 4 Tips to Grow in Your Career | Sustainability | Emeritus

Deloitte’s 2023 Sustainability Investment Report reveals that climate change is one of the top three concerns for modern business leaders. Consequently, 75% of organizations have increased their sustainability investments in a year owing to increasing business uncertainty. Some of the major concerns that leaders are facing due to climate change are changing consumption patterns, emission regulations, and supporting their employees’ mental and physical well-being. The report thus indicates the importance of sustainability initiatives for companies which will create a huge demand for sustainability jobs. But how do you embark on a sustainability career path?

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In this blog, we shall discuss the following:

  • What are the Different Career Paths in the Sustainability Field?
  • How Can Sustainability Professionals Enhance Their Skills and Knowledge?
  • What are the Key Qualifications and Certifications for Sustainability Careers?
  • How Can Networking and Professional Connections Contribute to a Sustainable Career? 
  • What are the Emerging Trends and Opportunities in the Sustainability Job Market?

What are the Different Career Paths in the Sustainability Field?

The following are some of the most popular paths for a sustainability career. You can start working as a sustainability specialist and gradually move on to senior roles like sustainability director.

1. Sustainable Engineering

The main role of a sustainability engineer is to design and manufacture new products using renewable resources and producing minimum waste. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, sustainability or environmental engineering jobs are likely to grow by 6%—faster than average—between 2022 and 2032.

2. Corporate Sustainability 

This is an interesting sustainability career path for business leaders and entrepreneurs. Corporate sustainability refers to a business strategy that focuses on being socially, economically, and environmentally responsible, and contributing to sustainability initiatives.

3. Sustainable Fashion

Fast fashion is one of the most significant contributors to the planet’s increasingly volatile climate change. Hence, many organizations and consumers are focusing on manufacturing and buying sustainable fashion, creating huge growth opportunities in this field.

4. Sustainable Finance

This career path is suitable for professionals with a background in finance or investment. It involves focusing on the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) aspects while investing. Moreover, this role also involves making strategic funding decisions to reduce the impact of climate change.

5. Renewable Energy 

This is one of the fastest-growing career paths which involves using technology and various strategies to conserve renewable energy. Some of the most popular job roles in this field are urban planner, ecosystem manager, and air quality engineer.

ALSO READ: The Top 5 Jobs You Can Pursue With Sustainability Education

How Can Sustainability Professionals Enhance Their Skills and Knowledge?

The climate change threat is increasing significantly every passing year. Hence, new technologies and strategies are emerging constantly to reduce the impact of climate change, making it difficult for professionals to keep up with the latest skills. Here are some of the best ways to acquire green skills and knowledge for well-paying sustainability jobs:

1. Read Authentic Reports and Blogs

Another way to gain advanced knowledge of the sustainability industry is to frequently read global reports and blogs on sustainable development published by Gartner, LinkedIn, World Economic Forum, Deloitte, United Nations, and other organizations.

2. Join Communities

Join local and online communities and participate in group discussions. This can help professionals learn in-depth about sustainable development issues and strategies, enabling them to focus on relevant sustainability skills.

3. Participate in Offline and Online Events

Participating in seminars or conferences on sustainable development is an excellent way to learn about industry trends, understand what challenges leaders are facing, and the areas that require more work. It ultimately helps you to gain advanced knowledge and skills to build a successful sustainability career.

4. Follow Leaders

Another effective way is to follow and engage with leaders working in the sustainable development field. They can help learn new trends and strategies in the sustainabile development sector. Moreover, it can also help you find sustainability job opportunities.

ALSO READ: Why is Sustainability in Business Important and How to Achieve It

What are the Key Qualifications and Certifications for Sustainability Careers?

According to LinkedIn’s Global Green Skills Report 2023, there has been a 22.4% increase in job listings containing at least one green skill. Some of the top skills for entry level sustainability jobs are:

1. Corporate Sustainability

It refers to creating and implementing business strategies to support a better economic, social, and environmental landscape.

2. Climate Action Planning

This skill involves tracking, measuring, and reducing the impact of greenhouse emissions.

3. Environmental Impact Assessment

It involves analyzing the impact of a new policy or project on the environment.

4. Energy Management

This skill emphasizes the development of frameworks and the use of tools for tracking efficient energy consumption.

5. Carbon Accounting

Sustainability specialists use carbon accounting skills to measure the amount of greenhouse emissions by an organization.

6. Waste Disposal 

This skill focuses on efficient waste reduction and disposal generated by various industries.

The key qualifications for a sustainability career depend on the path you choose. For example, professionals inclined toward sustainability engineering should be well versed with the latest sustainability technologies and have an educational background in engineering or computer science. Similarly, if one decides to build a sustainability career in fashion, they will require a background in fashion and clothing, along with knowledge of sustainable manufacturing strategies.

Pursuing online certifications is one of the best ways to learn green skills and qualify for sustainability jobs. However, it is imperative to ensure that the courses are taught by industry leaders. Moreover, certification courses offered in collaboration with leading educational institutions can further enhance your sustainability career. You can also choose these top sustainability courses offered by Emeritus. They are based on circular economy and sustainability strategies, fashion management, investment in sustainable initiatives, and sustainability leadership.

ALSO READ: Why is Sustainability Important for Companies? Is It Really Helpful?

How Can Networking and Professional Connections Contribute to a Sustainable Career? 

Building a professional network is one of the most underrated tips to build a successful sustainability career—or a career in any other industry. The following are some of the significant ways a strong professional network can contribute to your success:

1. Help Secure Sustainability Jobs

There is a high growth of sustainability jobs in the market today. Hence, professionals can easily secure entry level sustainability jobs. However, moving on to senior roles is difficult because it requires extensive knowledge, skills, and experience. Networking and building connections can help you get job referrals for senior positions, thus benefiting your career.

2. Receive Mentorship 

A strong professional network is highly beneficial in receiving mentorship and guidance for a sustainability career. It helps you exchange knowledge, learn the latest industry insights, and stay updated with current job trends. A professional network can also help you learn strategies to navigate through the complex challenges in the sustainability landscape.

3. Partnership and Collaboration

Sustainable development is not a sole initiative; it requires community work. This is where you can leverage your professional network by connecting with other organizations or sustainability leaders to come up with innovative ideas. Moreover, a large number of connections also helps in getting client referrals. It not only helps boost business revenue but also benefits your sustainability career.

ALSO READ: How to Build a Great Career in Sustainability Management

According to GreenBiz’s State of the Profession 2022 Report, the demand for sustainability workers is quite high but organizations are unsure how to fill those roles. Consequently, there is a huge competition in this field. Moreover, there is rapid hiring for sustainability jobs in comparison to other roles. According to LinkedIn’s Global Green Skills Report 2023, merely one out of eight workers have green skills. This indicates a shortage of talent for sustainability jobs. 

Therefore, now is the time to invest in learning green skills and staying updated with sustainability trends to build a future-proof career. It will give you a great head start, allowing you to become a sustainability specialist. Online sustainability courses can help you build a successful sustainability career by teaching the latest industry trends and relevant skills.

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About the Author

Content Writer, Emeritus Blog
Sneha is a content marketing professional with over four years of experience in helping brands achieve their marketing goals. She crafts research-based, engaging content, making sure to showcase a bit of her creative side in every piece she writes. Sneha spends most of her time writing, reading, or drinking coffee. You will often find her practicing headstands or inversions to clear her mind.
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