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Sustainability Professionals: What does it mean, and how to become one!

The demand for climate-focused careers is on the rise - so a new generation of passionate professionals are needed to provide the skills, knowledge and a fresh perspective to combat the current and future of the climate crisis!

We are seeing that more and more organisations are placing sustainability on their agendas. This means that there is a growing demand for sustainability professionals to embark on green and ethical careers. According to LinkedIn's Global Green Skills Report 2022, "at the current pace, demand for workers with green skills will surpass supply". This suggests that the jobs are there, so why the projected gap? Unfortunately, it may come down to the absence of green skills which are filtered out through the application process.

So what can we do to meet the demand for sustainability professionals?

If you have the knowledge and understanding of the current environmental challenges to our planet and society and you have the drive to make real and positive change, a role in the field of sustainability may be the one for you!

What are 'Sustainability Professionals'?
An illustration of a sustainability professional in green torusers and a canvas jacket with a hard hat observing a built environment with wind turbines and greenery

Though not having a set definition, a sustainability professional is anyone that understands and focuses the purpose of their work on a sustainable agenda for people and the planet.

For example, a sustainability professional may assess the climate impact of an organisation and present innovative and green-thinking solutions. Fundamentally, as a sustainability professional you must be able to inspire, motivate and implement sustainability.

Though, what is important to recognise is that a career in sustainability does not need to follow "traditional" green jobs such as solar panel specialists or environmental engineers. According to the LinkedIn report, roles for 'Sustainable Fashion', 'Environmental Services' and 'Sustainable Growth' have risen by more than 60% in the past 5 years! What you may find more commonly is that the job title might not sound like it's a sustainability focused role, such as Project Leader, Event Manager, or CEO but can have sustainability as part of its core values and daily agenda (or this is can be something you can advocate to bring to the role!).

There is always the opportunity to be more sustainable within the workplace. Sustainability can, and should be, thought through every occupation, every organisation and business and every role that we uptake.

So, with this perspective, a whole new avenue of ethical and green career options awaits you!

How can you become a Sustainability Professional?

Individuals wishing to embark on a career as a sustainability professional are often asked for degrees within Environmental Management, Climate Change, Environmental Science, Sustainability or Development. But it hugely depends on the industry you are interested in and you can bring sustainability into a huge range f careers. For instance you may have a Fashion, Marketing, Policy, Advocacy, Maths, or Art degree and can use your knowledge to develop sustainable practices in these areas. We believe that it is essential for all industries to integrate sustainable practices driven by motivated individuals, so it shouldn't matter what degree you have.

If a Job Descriptions says "Degree in Environmental Management, or equivalent", don't be disheartened or withdraw your application if you have all the essential skills and experience, but not the degree. You may have a degree in a completely different field, or have the required knowledge or passion for sustainability through work or volunteering experience - utilise this and make this known.

We believe - there is space for everyone. Whilst having industry knowledge is more necessary than having a degree, it is the embedding of your dedication to sustainability within any organisations ethos and practices that really counts.

So, as a sustainability recruiter, we have dug out the best tips and tricks to make your sustainability portfolio shine, stand out from the crowd and start you off on an ethical and green career!

An illustration of three men each working on a different sustainability project and all placed around an illustration of the world.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

PRO TIP: If you haven't already, make sure you look and familiarise yourself with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and choose at least one that resonates with you or you feel most passionate about making a change.

The SDGs include 169 targets that cover all realms of sustainable development. All of the SDGs are interconnected and dependent on the achievement of all. This means, that achieving Goal 2 for Zero Hunger, or Goal 4 for Quality Education, or Goal 10 for Reduced Inequalities are all integrated with Goal 13 for Climate Action, for example.

You may find one that closely relates to your degree or most relevant work experience. Researching into these and identifying how they each have environmental targets and indicators can really narrow down how you can make an impact on an individual and organisational level.

When you get through to the interview stage, this is where you can showcase your passion and knowledge to make individual and collective change for peace and prosperity for people and the planet. Let the future employer know what your goals are and what you can bring to the organisation to achieve the SDGs - it may be a hit!

A graphic of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, a key part of a Sustainability Professionals life

The Importance of the Organisation

It is important that you find an organisation that you will be proud to work for and fills you with purpose. If you truly feel the desire to work for the company because you match with their ethos and values, you will be more inclined to put extra effort into your application. So be sure to find an organisation that you are proud to work for and uses your skills and embeds sustainability into that role.

"We will be most engaged in our work when the mission and goals of the organization also matter to us—and when we feel like we can make a contribution to the bigger picture" - Tracy Browler, Forbes

For more information on becoming a sustainability professional, speak to one of the team today or ask your employer to enrol you on the Sustainability Leadership Skills Course!


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