Are you passionate about making a difference in the world? If so, a career in sustainability may be right for you. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common sustainability job titles and discuss what you need to do to prepare for them.
Green jobs are thriving in 2023 as organisations and governments increasingly prioritise sustainability in their strategies. According to research from LinkedIn, between February 2022 and February 2023, LinkedIn job postings requiring at least one green skill have grown by a median of 15.2%.
However, there is concern that demand for green jobs will outpace the supply, leaving employers with difficulty finding qualified candidates. This is especially true for jobs in emerging green industries, such as renewable energy and energy efficiency.
To address this skills gap, governments and educational institutions are investing in green job training programs, and need to work with employers to develop clear career pathways for forward-looking green jobs.
What is a sustainability job?
It depends on the sector, for example, there are those working in deployment of clean technologies, such as solar and wind, sustainable agriculture experts, and those working in product & service-based businesses.
In this article, we’re looking at the latter, and in this context, sustainable jobs are those that focus on the environmental, social, and economic impact of a company’s operations. Sustainability professionals help businesses create and implement sustainable strategies, and remain compliant with increasingly common sustainability regulations.
Where to begin with sustainability
Sustainability jobs increasingly in-demand as businesses recognise the importance of sustainability to their bottom line and their reputation. If you’re interested in a career in sustainability, here’s how you can prepare:
- Work towards a degree in sustainability or a related field
- Gain experience in sustainability through internships or volunteer work
- Develop strong research, analytical, and communication skills
- Stay up-to-date on sustainability trends
A career in sustainability can be both rewarding and challenging, but if you’re passionate about making a difference in the world, a sustainability job may be the perfect career for you.
Sustainability job roles
Below, we share details about a variety of sustainability roles available in organisations today.
Please consider that these are only general descriptions, and specific roles and requirements may vary depending on the business. For example, a small company might only have a sustainability officer, whereas a large organisation may have a team of sustainability professionals with different titles and responsibilities.
If you’re looking for a job in sustainability, don’t miss the handy resources and job boards at the bottom of the article to get you started.
- About the role: Responsible for implementing sustainability strategies and making the company more environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable.
- Suggested skills: Knowledge of sustainability principles, ability to analyse data, project management, communication, and working with stakeholders.
- Additional thoughts: This role is typically entry-level and responsible for implementing sustainability initiatives at a small scale. The sustainability officer may work on projects such as energy efficiency, waste reduction, or water conservation.
Director of sustainability
- About the role: Oversees sustainability efforts, sets goals, and integrates sustainability practices throughout the organisation.
- Suggested skills: Leadership, strategic planning, knowledge of sustainability best practices, project management, and communication.
- Additional thoughts: This role is responsible for overseeing the sustainability efforts of a larger organisation. Alongside setting goals and developing strategies, the director of sustainability may also manage a team of sustainability professionals.
Vice president of sustainability
- About the role: Develops and implements the company’s sustainability vision, strategy, and policies, working closely with executives and stakeholders.
- Suggested skills: Strategic thinking, leadership, business understanding, sustainability strategy, stakeholder engagement, financial analysis, and communication.
- Additional thoughts: The vice president of sustainability job role may work closely with the CEO and other c-suite executives to ensure that sustainability is integrated into all aspects of the organisation’s operations.
Chief sustainability officer (CSO)
- About the role: Leads and coordinates all sustainability efforts across the organisation, providing strategic guidance and driving sustainability initiatives.
- Suggested skills: Extensive sustainability experience, strategic planning, stakeholder management, business understanding, knowledge of regulations, and leadership.
- Additional thoughts: The CSO may set the organisation’s sustainability goals, develop strategies, and drive sustainability initiatives.
Director of ESG
- About the role: Focuses on integrating environmental, social, and governance factors into decision-making processes, developing ESG strategies and overseeing reporting.
- Suggested skills: Understanding of ESG frameworks, data analysis, risk evaluation, stakeholder engagement, and communication.
- Additional thoughts: ESG directors can work for companies of all sizes, but they are most commonly found at large organisations with a global reach.
Global head of ESG
Description: Leads the organisation’s global ESG agenda, develops strategies, engages with investors, and drives ESG-related initiatives.
- Suggested skills: Extensive ESG experience, global perspective, stakeholder management, analytical skills, communication, and leadership.
- Additional thoughts: As the title suggests, a global head of ESG will often work for a large company with a global reach, such as consumer and tech businesses.
Chief growth officer (CGO)
- Description: Drives the organisation’s growth and expansion, often with a focus on sustainable growth, by identifying sustainable opportunities and developing strategies.
- Suggested skills: Strategic planning, business development, market analysis, financial understanding, creativity, leadership, and communication.
- Additional thoughts: This role is responsible for general business growth across all areas. But with sustainability becoming a much stronger focus, this is becoming a sizeable part of their function in the business.
Director of sustainable investments
- Description: Manages the organisation’s investments with a focus on sustainable practices, analysing opportunities and building relationships with investment partners.
- Suggested skills: Knowledge of sustainable investment strategies, financial analysis, risk assessment, ESG factors, portfolio management, negotiation, and analytical abilities.
- Additional thoughts: This sustainability job role is responsible for managing the organisation’s investments with a focus on sustainable practices. The director of sustainable investments may analyse opportunities, build relationships with investment partners, and manage the organisation’s sustainable investment portfolio.
CareerHub – showcases jobs, events and networking opportunities for LSE students
Sustainability jobs boards
ACRE – market-leading sustainability and ESG recruitment agency
Charity Job – a large UK jobs board for non-profit, social enterprise, community interest companies (CICs) and voluntary jobs
Countryside Job Service – a jobs board for environmental professionals
Guardian Jobs Sustainability – a jobs board for sustainability roles
Green Jobs – links to a wide range of job sites including opportunities in renewables, energy and environment
Third Sector Jobs – a specialist jobs board for charity, non-profit and voluntary sectors
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