Pursuing sustainability jobs: strategies for success

Pursuing sustainability jobs strategies for success

Sustainability jobs are ideal for those who are driven to protect the environment and want to have a positive impact on the world around them. As companies work to address corporate sustainability, the number of green jobs available is continuing to rise. Sustainability careers are all about addressing environmental, social, and economic factors to make the Earth a better place. Keep reading to discover strategies for success to land your dream role in corporate sustainability.

What skills are required for a sustainability career? 

Businesses are facing mounting pressure to operate in a socially and environmentally responsible way, and with this, they need people who can drive the change. 

However, we currently have a green skills gap, which makes it difficult to transition to a more sustainable world. If you’re curious as to how to build a career in corporate sustainability, below are some of the key skills you need to venture into sustainability jobs.

Communication skills 

Embedding sustainability into a business is not a task that can be accomplished independently. Rather, it requires a collaborative effort, meaning effective communication skills are essential for sustainability professionals. Therefore, with sustainability jobs, you will need excellent communication skills to discuss complex sustainability issues with a wide range of stakeholders. 

Additionally, you will also need to navigate complex power dynamics and create trust with these stakeholders, who may have varying priorities and perspectives. You will need to relay subject matter with jargon but also do it in a way that is engaging and adds value to the discussion. 

A quality understanding of key sustainability principles

Sustainability is not just a passing trend; it is a rapidly growing sector that has already seen significant transformation across industries. With this in mind, it is vital to keep up with the latest developments and trends in sustainability, including but not limited to biodiversity, climate change, and pollution. Additionally, you should also pay attention to social issues like human rights, poverty, and inequality. 

Analytical skills

To accelerate sustainability efforts in a business, those in sustainability careers require analytical skills to interpret and assess data. Both staff and management must possess this skillset to take the company in the new direction of sustainability. By analysing and collating data from a wide range of sources, sustainability professionals can pinpoint areas for improvement and ultimately steer the business towards its sustainability objectives. 

Sustainability is a multifaceted field, encompassing economic, social, and environmental aspects, so the ability to analyse and gather complex data is vital to achieving positive outcomes. Through determining existing gaps, businesses can then build sustainable solutions and frameworks. 

Project management skills

A lot of environmental initiatives also require project management skills for them to come to fruition. Therefore, sustainability jobs will require an ability to not only plan but also execute projects, manage budgets and timelines and coordinate stakeholders during the process. Not to mention, you will also likely need to define objectives and delegate tasks, as well as monitor progress and ensure timely delivery within the assigned budget.

Leadership skills

Leading the change towards sustainability requires strong leadership skills to navigate the upheaval of traditional business practices without causing any disruption. Effective leadership skills are vital for those filling sustainability careers because there is a massive need to inspire teams and conceive and implement strategies whilst ensuring business objectives remain on track. 

Skilled sustainability leaders can engage stakeholders, manage sustainability professionals across different regions and departments, and leverage their team’s strengths. Ultimately, these skills are vital to navigating the difficult and complex challenges of embedding sustainability practices into business operations for meaningful impact. 

Strategic thinking 

With sustainability jobs being relatively new, old thinking and methodologies will no longer suffice in working to implement environmental solutions. Those in sustainability careers must think strategically to ensure solutions that are not only sustainable but efficient are implemented. This sort of thinking requires a person to anticipate future trends, develop innovative solutions, and identify potential risks and opportunities.

What jobs can I get with a sustainability degree?

Pursuing a sustainability degree opens up many potential sustainability jobs. For instance, you could work as an environmental scientist. An environmental scientist studies the natural environment and its relationship with human activity. They work to identify, assess, and solve issues and help create strategies and policies to protect the planet. 

An environmental scientist could work with a consulting firm, a government agency, a not-for-profit, or a research organisation. Additionally, as an environmental scientist, you can choose to specialise in specific areas such as wildlife preservation, soil contamination, air quality, and water use efficiency. Besides working as an environmental scientist, you could consider a career as a sustainability manager.

The LinkedIn Global Green Skills Report unveiled that demand for sustainability managers is incredibly high across many countries. Sustainability managers work for all sorts of enterprises that are looking to become more environmentally sustainable. The role generally comprises planning, strategy, research, oversight, and implementation of sustainability initiatives. 

Those who gain a sustainability degree could also find employment as a renewable energy project manager or an ecologist. Ecologists work to gain a better understanding of the natural world. They then utilise that knowledge to promote the preservation of biodiversity and sustainable use of natural resources. The job entails examining how animals, plants, and other organisms interact with each other and their surroundings. 

Another potential avenue could be working as a supply chain manager. In this position, you would be responsible for the entire supply chain process, including sourcing raw materials and delivering the final product. You would work to make sure the supply chain is operating in an ethical and environmentally conscious way. This often includes reducing emissions, curbing waste, and promoting fair labour practices.

Summary

According to The Conversation, which analysed job ads from a global database, there has been a tenfold increase in the number of sustainability jobs over the last decade. 

People are becoming increasingly aware of the impact of their choices and activities on the planet and want to take action in their professional lives. If you’re ready to dive into the exciting world of sustainability, consider a business sustainability course at the Institute of Sustainability Studies.

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