With the clock ticking, sustainability or adopting sustainable practices has become more important now than ever. It’s about time we do our bit to protect and save the environment by reusing and recycling, using renewable energy, saving energy and the likes. And incorporating sustainability does not stop at the individual level. It is vital for businesses as well. Layton Cox, Fortune 100 Marketing Consultant, has said, “Businesses should focus on creating good by doing good. Having sustainable practices are good for the businesses’ longevity, hence the name sustainable, and their core goal of doing good”. When businesses choose sustainability, they fulfill the requirements of both their shareholders and clients while preventing the exhaustion of our limited natural resources. But, businesses require experts to help them work towards sustainability, which is why professionals should invest in sustainability courses today to make their careers future-proof.
There are numerous types of careers within the field of sustainability. First, the demand for professionals within this field has accelerated over the years. Next, there are also various available sustainability courses that help individuals jump-start their career in the field.
If you are someone who is deeply passionate, has an inclination towards sustainability and would like to make a career out of it, stay right here and continue reading this blog. We will touch upon what sustainability is, introduce you to the various career options within sustainability and ultimately elaborate on two types of careers, namely Sustainability Manager and Sustainability Consultant.
What is sustainability and what does it mean to have a career in sustainability?
What role does sustainability play in our world? It provides a protective cover that safeguards our ecosystem by conserving our natural resources for the future generations and enhances the quality of lives. Under sustainability, there are three pillars. In fact, these pillars are the most fundamental and essential facets of this field:
When we talk about sustainability, it includes everything from waste management and material to how we interact with our communities. All of the three pillars have an impact on one another.
Roles in Sustainability
Sustainability is a wide umbrella of roles. Here are some of the prominent ones:
#1: Sustainability Managers ensure organizations follow a combination of being innovative and economically reductive so that they err on the side of green. Next, they are responsible for developing, implementing, and observing strategies of the organization that are related to the environment.
#2: Sustainability Marketers, as the title suggests, market or sell products or services that are specific to sustainability. They do so by analyzing the latest trends that exist in the market and by applying different marketing techniques.
#3: Sustainability Analysts primarily examine, create reports, and share recommendations for sustainability projects and programs with organizations. They carry out all of these things with the assistance of various research methods. In addition, they are expected to remain informed and updated about the latest trends in sustainable work processes, environmental science, and renewable resources.
#4: Sustainability Consultants are normally hired for either short or long-term projects. Their job is to transform the organization into one that is both environmentally and socially responsible.
#5: Chief Sustainability Officers (CSO) work and collaborate with a wide variety of people including managers, employees, customers, and shareholders. In doing so, they explore the route that the organization has been taking to become environmentally responsible and find ways to reduce the impact of the company on the environment.
#6: Environmental Engineers help enhance recycling, public health, and waste disposal. They also devise ways to control water and air pollution. To solve the existing problems in the environment, they use and apply principles of soil science, biology, chemistry, and engineering.
What are the everyday tasks of sustainability managers and sustainability consultants?
The functions that sustainability managers and sustainability consultants perform differ from one another. Let’s look at what professionals do in each of these roles.
#1: Sustainability Manager
- Handle and step in with regard to issues concerning the environment
- Formulate and maintain plans pertaining to sustainability projects
- Communicate plans to senior staff members and project teams
- Complete sustainability plans and commence renewable energy assessments
- Keep a record of sustainability indicators and metrics
- Enhance all the processes that are carried out by the organization by incorporating some of the market best practices
- Organize and lead meetings
- Build various goals and initiatives surrounding sustainability projects
- Provide advice and suggest the latest zero-carbon technologies to the organization
- Bestow the organization with administrative and technical support pertaining to sustainability programs
#2: Sustainability Consultant
- Measure the depth of various issues like carbon footprint, air quality, performance of energy, noise pollution, and more with the help of environmental impact surveys
- Guide and suggest ways to clients on how they can fulfil the various regulations that have been put in place by the environmental law
- Carry out surveys related to research and the ecology
- Ensure that the company follows sustainability standards pertinent to it’s industry
- Share some of the best market practices with clients
- Notify clients on the most cost-effective and beneficial routes to sustainability which includes alternative energy sources to lower energy costs, smarter water usage, reducing waste, and bringing down carbon emissions
- Formulate plans that can enhance the client’s business practices
- Accumulate and analyze data, which is followed by creating reports that display all of the findings
- Provide recommendations of technologies to clients
What are the required skills for these roles?
Given below are some of the most essential skills required to become a sustainability manager and sustainability consultant:
#1: Sustainability Managers
#1.1: Comprehensive understanding: You cannot make an entry into any profession without the appropriate amount of knowledge or subject matter expertise. In the case of this role too, you need to have an in-depth knowledge and understanding of various aspects like waste management, water, air and noise pollution, hazardous substances, ecological and health risks, community disturbance, and more. If not anything else, this will help you make decisions when you conceive strategies related to sustainability. In fact, doing sustainability courses is a great way to get a head start for this role.
#1.2: Excellent communication and interpersonal skills: This is to ensure that you can communicate and interact with different sets of people effectively. As a sustainability manager, communicating with many different stakeholders is a must.
#1.3: Critical thinking skills: This is necessary to help formulate and incorporate sustainability initiatives while being mindful of cost-savings and the practicalities of the project.
#1.4: Other skills: You must be an expert at monitoring, project management, and preparing budgets.
#2: Sustainability Consultants
#2.1: Change management: What does change management mean? It simply means managing or handling the change and development of an organization. You must see to it that your recommendations and suggestions are not simply provided to the organization but also implemented.
#2.2: Well-versed at all things sustainability: You must have a comprehensive understanding of sustainability and all the issues related to sustainability. Moreover, having this knowledge will help you explain why water footprinting, carbon reduction, and energy management are required. You need to also know all the industry-approved sustainability practices and tools.
#2.3: Other skills: Some of the other skills required for this role are good project management, communication and business development.
What are the educational qualifications required for these roles?
Having the right educational qualifications can help you make advancements in your career. Given below are some of the educational requirements you need to become a sustainability manager or sustainability consultant.
You must possess at least a Bachelor’s degree in environmental science, engineering, environmental studies or any other related field. If you wish to climb up the education ladder, you can go ahead and pursue a Master’s degree. In addition, many large organizations are always on the lookout for candidates with advanced degrees like a Master’s degree.
On account of being a comparatively new area, there isn’t a particular educational requirement that a candidate must have to become a sustainability consultant. However, as it goes in most other areas under sustainability, you would need to at least have a Bachelor’s degree in environmental science, geology, engineering, architecture or construction management. Next, if you wish to study further after earning a Bachelor’s degree, you can go on to pursue a Master’s in Business Administration.
Apart from earning a degree through the traditional route, you can also pursue online sustainability courses. For instance, numerous platforms like Emeritus offer online sustainability courses that will help you further your career in sustainability, which is a need of the future.
How much do sustainability managers and sustainability consultants earn?
Regardless of the type of career in sustainability, the amount professionals earn is highly dependent on their education, certifications, skills, and experience. As of May 2022, a sustainability manager in the United States earns about $124,515. However, typically the range for this role is somewhere between $101,553 and $144,108. In the case of sustainability consultants, they earn about $68,097 (as of May, 2022). However, normally, their salary ranges between $60,200 and $79,463.
Is there a demand for sustainability professionals like sustainability managers and sustainability consultants?
Sustainability managers, ecologists, environmental health and safety specialists and solar consultants were listed the fastest growing green job titles between 2016 and 2021 according to LinkedIn. By 2028, 119,600 job openings are expected for sustainability managers, which has an average growth rate of 4% to 6%. According to a Global Environmental Consulting Strategies & Market Assessment Report, the environmental sustainability consulting services market across the world experienced a growth of 5-6.5% per annum from 2017 to 2019 and 0.6% in 2020 to a total of $38 billion.
With the growing concerns regarding the climate and environment, the field of sustainability will grow, along with the demand for qualified professionals. Moreover, the field is currently witnessing an accelerated growth and is only expected to grow further. In addition, businesses are looking for the right professionals who will help them further their sustainability agenda.
FAQs About Sustainability Courses and Careers
#1: Which environmental degree is best suited for a career in sustainability?
There are different types of career options under sustainability. Therefore, the field you choose to study is dependent on the type of career in sustainability that you desire to pursue. In conclusion, speaking to an advisor or a professional in sustainability will help you choose the right educational path.
#2: How to kick-start a career in sustainability?
Explore the different career options within this field before you decide which direction you would like to take your career towards. Then, go on to pursue a Bachelor’s degree and/or a Master’s degree, acquire relevant certifications, speak to professionals working in the field, and read up on everything related to sustainability.
#3: How important is sustainability?
Sustainability helps protect our planet and our environment for future generations. As it stands, our natural resources are currently depleting. Therefore, by adopting sustainable practices, we can prevent the complete exhaustion of our natural resources for our future generations.
Want to pursue sustainability courses to grow in your career or make an entry into the field of sustainability? Click here to check out the sustainability courses that are available on Emeritus. Additionally, these sustainability courses will assist you in addressing the problems that the world is facing today and will help you prepare for the future as well. In fact, these courses will lay focus on the various facets of sustainability and will teach you how to apply the same in business.
By Annabel George
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