How Does One Pursue a Career in Sustainability?

Posted on September 19, 2016 by Louis Coppola

#Business & Society #Business Case #Corporate Responsibility #Corporate Sustainability #Sustainability Professionals 

This is the question on the minds of many young professionals, as well as a growing number of seasoned professionals looking to change course and work on issues that match their passions and worldview. In our feature article this week, Mike Hower, Senior Writer at GreenBiz group shares some very important takeaways for those that find themselves in this position.

How to make it in corporate sustainability
(Friday – September 09, 2016)
Source: GreenBiz – Making it in corporate sustainability isn’t easy. As a fledgling profession, there are few full-time roles and even fewer entry-level opportunities. While the number of companies with full-time sustainability managers has grown…

Mike points out in his article that the number of companies with full-time sustainability managers has increased by 400% since the late 1980’s according to CSE Research.  He also makes the point that there is a wide variety of positions in the field of “sustainability” – including some that many do not think of when considering a career move.
For example, there is the consulting field; a wide range of non-profit organizations;  a growing number of positions opening in government agencies at all levels; service providers are ramping new offerings with labels like “sustainability,” “CSR,” “Citizenship” and more.  There are also specialized career areas that do not require a college education, such as installers for cleantech (solar panels, windmills, geothermal, etc.).
At G&A we are monitoring sustainability, CSR and citizenship job positions around the world, and have seen a dramatic increase in these opportunities, especially over the last 3 years.  Our clients and others in G&A’s network often come to us asking whether we can help them to find someone to fit a specific position / particular skillsets.  Increasingly these positions are becoming more complex, specialized, and strategically important to the organizations.
To help fill this need, G&A Institute and Rutgers Business School, Institute for Ethical Leadership have partnered together to offer a 2 Day CSR Certificate program in Newark, NJ on Sept 28th and 29th.  You can find out more information and register for the course, click here.
Watch, too, for our coming announcement about an exciting new resource from G&A Institute and partner organizations for remote e-learning courses in the CSR, Sustainability, Citizenship and related fields.
In his narrative, Mike Hower does an excellent job at telling his own personal experience and in sharing lessons learned from others in his network, and in the field.  He summarizes with five key lessons that are detailed in the article:

  • Lesson 1: Develop a niche but also generalize.
  • Lesson 2: Never stop learning.
  • Lesson 3: Cultivate a global perspective.
  • Lesson 4: Embrace mentors and professional networks.
  • Lesson 5: Failure is the key to success.

We invite your reading of the entire feature article below, and let us know your comments and thoughts.
If you find yourself sustainability job hunting, or career path searching, please also consider joining us for our 2-Day CSR Certificate at Rutgers University Business School in Newark, NJ on Sept 28th and 29th.  An outstanding panel of experts in the fields of Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainability, and in the Social Sector (such as foundation managers) will be presenting critical information for participants.  Click here for more information.