Five Popular Sustainability Jobs

  • Green Building Professionals
  • Environmental Scientists
  • Sustainability Consultants
  • Corporate Social Responsibility Professionals
  • Water Engineers

Sustainability professionals are becoming increasingly more important across a variety of industries, and as this is a rapidly growing field, sustainability careers are in high demand. These positions combine environmental science with business, ethics, and sociology to ensure that products and manufacturing processes do not put natural resources at risk. As scientists become more aware of hazards to the environment and how that can affect future generations, companies are investing more in sustainability professionals. These jobs require project management, communication, and analytical skills to balance maximization of profits and minimization of detrimental effects on the environment. Another aspect of this profession involves a company’s effect on social welfare issues. Some popular positions include the following.

See our ranking of  20 Affordable Colleges Offering Degrees Online for Sustainability Jobs .

1. Green Building Professionals

This career encompasses a variety of specialized disciplines including architecture, city planning, and construction, civil, and mechanical engineering as well as environmental and water sciences. These professionals develop new materials for construction to avoid using up natural resources like forests too quickly as well as different methods of building, heating and cooling, and plumbing. More companies and developers are making the switch to these types of products due to lower utility bills and tax incentives as well as the environmental benefits.

2. Environmental Scientists

This is primarily a research-based career in sustainability. These scientists collect data in the field, run lab experiments, and spend time in an office studying other research as well as analyzing their results. Many of these professionals work for universities, local and federal governments, and nonprofit conservation groups to research topics like climate change, air pollution, and waste site cleanup. They try to understand the extent of the problem, the cause, solutions to the existing problem, and future prevention methods. Some environmental scientists also work for corporations to evaluate their impact on the environment.

3. Sustainability Consultants

This career in sustainability involves working on a project basis. Whether working for a firm or freelance, consultants analyze the environmental impact of a process and make recommendations on how to reduce the effects while still maintaining profits. Some companies may not have the resources to hire a full-time sustainability team, so they bring in consultants. Some issues commonly evaluated are emissions, water pollution, and energy consumption.

4. Corporate Social Responsibility Professionals

This sustainability career involves not only looking to protect the environment but also focuses on improving society as a whole. As Forbes reports, younger generations like Millennials prefer to spend money on brands that give back to their communities and minimize pollution. Given this trend, more companies are hiring professionals who can not only implement these types of policies but also communicate these efforts to the customer.

5. Water Engineers

As potable water is necessary for life, threats to earth’s water supply are a major cause for concern. Too much water is also an issue when it involves hurricanes and massive flooding events. Water engineers handle a variety of different tasks from building flood walls to designing a town’s sewage system. Some of these professionals also look at the larger picture, analyzing global conditions and making recommendations about large-scale water preservation methods.

All industries from manufacturing to food service and healthcare to energy have an impact on both the natural world as well as society as a whole. As trends change and companies are being held more responsible for this impact, sustainability careers are and will continue to be in high demand.

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