Sustainability has become an integral part of modern society and impacts every aspect of our lives.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, sustainability has created an increasing demand for professionals who can help to ensure that industries and governments minimize their environmental impact.
As of May 2021, environmental scientists and specialists had a median annual wage of $73,230, with a projected job growth rate of 6% from 2020 to 2030, which is faster than the average for all occupations.
Similarly, environmental engineers had a median annual wage of $91,790, with a projected job growth rate of 4% from 2020 to 2030, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations.
As you can see, if your interest lies in this field, there is no point in second-guessing it. We will explore the world of sustainability careers and the steps you can take to build a career in this exciting and rewarding field.
- What is a sustainability career?
- Which industries are leading in sustainable careers?
- How do I start a career in sustainability?
- Why is sustainability important in a career?
- What are the biggest sustainable companies?
Understanding Sustainability Careers
Sustainability careers cater to jobs that create sustainable solutions benefitting both the environment and society.
Sustainability jobs can be found in a variety of industries, from renewable energy and agriculture to engineering and management. These jobs aim to reduce humanity's negative impact on the environment while creating a more sustainable future for everyone.
Careers in sustainability take 4 key areas into account: human, social, economic, and environmental, which are also known as the four pillars of sustainability.
Indeed listed the following 7 sustainability jobs to rapidly grow in the recent as well as coming years, combined with good pay.
|Environmental Health & Safety Specialist||$84,913|
5 Leading Industries Generating Sustainable Careers
Based on recent growth and progress, certain industries have been identified as having the potential to generate a significant number of sustainable careers.
By understanding the current state and potential for growth within these industries, individuals and policymakers can make informed decisions about career paths and investments in education and training.
Architecture & Construction: The architecture and construction industry is responsible for over 40% global energy usage. This is why organizations in this sector are rapidly implementing product lifecycle management platforms. Moreover, the construction sector alone in the United States employs over 7 million people.
Retail & CPG: Nearly 90% of new-generation consumers are willing to spend extra for sustainable products, records increasing by 2 times in three years. The industry is also growing, with global revenue expected to reach $3.7 billion by 2025.
Energy, Process & Utility: The energy, process, and utility industry is responsible for producing and distributing energy, including electricity, gas, and renewable energy sources. With ongoing progress in renewable electricity generation, analysts are predicting a growth of $373.84 billion by 2029.
Life Sciences: The life sciences industry includes pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and medical device companies. Life Sciences are taking a closer look at its supply chains, implementing transparent, transactional, and collaborative platforms which are helping them to target sustainable development goals more effectively. In the United States, the industry employs over 1.3 million people.
Transportation & Mobility: The transportation and mobility industry includes everything from traditional modes of transportation such as cars and airplanes to emerging technologies such as autonomous vehicles and drones. The industry is projected to grow, with employment in the transportation and material moving occupations expected to increase by 6% from 2020 to 2030.
Education and Training for Sustainability Careers
Education requirements for sustainability careers vary depending on the career path. Some entry-level positions might only require a bachelor's degree, while others might require a master's or a Ph.D.
To build a career in sustainability, you will need to have a relevant degree or training. Some popular degree programs include:
- Environmental Science
- Sustainability Studies
- Renewable Energy
- Sustainable Agriculture
- Sustainable Fashion
In addition to formal education, there are numerous certifications available that can enhance your sustainability career prospects. Some popular certifications include:
- LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)
- BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method)
- WELL (Building Standard Focused on Health and Wellness)
Also read: Should I put my GPA on my resume?
Benefits of Sustainability Careers
Making a Difference: Sustainability careers offer the opportunity to make a positive impact on the environment and society, making it a meaningful career path that aligns with personal values.
Growth Potential: As we discussed the increasing focus on sustainable practices in multiple industries, sustainability careers are in high demand and offer the potential for career growth and advancement.
Diverse Opportunities: Sustainability careers span a range of fields, including renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, green building, waste management, and more, providing a wide range of career options to suit different interests and skill sets.
Competitive Salary: Sustainability careers often offer competitive salaries and benefits, particularly in fields such as renewable energy and green technology.
Innovation & Creativity: Sustainability careers require innovative and creative problem-solving skills, providing opportunities for professionals to work on cutting-edge solutions to some of the world's most pressing environmental challenges.
Also read: What are the most popular employee benefits?
Top 5 Global Sustainable Companies
Based on the information provided by S&P Global through the Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA), the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index includes the top 10% of the largest 2,500 companies in the S&P Global BMI based on long-term economic, environmental and social criteria.
Some of the companies included in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index as of 2023, according to S&P Global, include Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp., Alphabet Inc., Procter & Gamble Co., and PepsiCo Inc.
Sustainability has become a crucial aspect of modern society and has created a demand for professionals who can help ensure that industries and governments minimize their environmental impact.
Careers in sustainability can be found in a variety of industries such as construction, retail, life sciences, etc. These industries are projected to grow, providing many opportunities for those interested in sustainability careers.
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