Sustainability is commonly defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations. This is achieved through the balance of economic, environmental, and social growth. Sustainability jobs or green jobs are on the rise currently. This is possibly due to increasing awareness of environmental and social issues such as the climate crisis and social inequalities. Many people, particularly university students, are thinking about the future of our planet and people, and what can be done to protect them. That’s why we wanted to create a guide to all the different types of sustainability jobs on offer.

Sustainability jobs can be categorised through the four pillars of sustainability: social, environmental, economic, and cultural. It is important to consider which of these areas you would be most interested in when looking at green jobs. For those thinking of pursuing a ‘green job’, we have narrowed down the top ten sustainability job areas for you.

1. Environmental research and management

Anyone that’s interested in environmental sustainability might consider environmental research and management a viable career option. Environmental managers will organise environmental policies and devise strategies to meet government and company targets. This can include emissions targets and waste management strategies. Within this branch of sustainability are more specific jobs such as Sustainability Consultants or Environmental Engineers.

2. Environmental education and teaching

This version of a sustainable job encapsulates the education of the public on environmental problems and the environment in general. This can be through all ranges of the education system, from primary schools learning about recycling to university lectures. Education for local communities on how they can sustainably manage their lives alongside nature is a fundamental part of sustainability. Thus, these sustainability jobs hold great importance when moving forward in the future.

3. Development and environment campaigning, and NGO work

Working within non-governmental organisations (NGOs) is a good option for sustainability jobs. There is a vast array of job opportunities throughout the broader umbrella of sustainability, from environmental NGOs such as WWF, to socially focused NGOs, such as Water-Aid. Campaigning encompasses marketing skills and the business side of NGOs which may appeal to other degrees outside of the environmental sustainability bracket. Furthermore, working with NGOs can be extremely rewarding, providing a fulfilling career in sustainability ahead.

4. Teaching careers

Source: ICSA, Pexels

In sustainability, one of the main focuses is preparing for future generations. Teaching provides direct interaction and influence on future generations who will be making significant sustainability decisions. Teaching careers within schools and universities provide an opportunity to learn and research about the subject whilst moulding the minds of those who will (hopefully) lead future populations toward the path of sustainability. In addition to the environmental education job area listed above, teaching sustainability may also include a wide variety of themes, such as social, political and more.

5. National, international, and local government

If you believe in a more top-down approach to sustainability, then you could consider a career in national, international, or local government. Sustainability jobs within government involve roles in policymaking, policy implementation and discussion of global sustainability through international relations. It’s a great way to make a huge difference and pave the way forward!

6. Environmental politics

Being a voice for those with none can be a noble aspiration and in environmental politics, you can provide an environmental perspective on social policy and political movements. Careers within environmental politics include the use of communication and compromise as you discuss policies within government and between governments relating to current environmental issues.

7. Environmental auditing

This is composed of the implementation and control of environmental practices, such as political policies and targets. Environmental auditing careers can include the monitoring of land development, mining and forest industries, and any industrial action which may prove detrimental to the environment.

8. Corporate social responsibility

Sustainability careers within corporate social responsibility ensure that companies are held socially accountable for their operations through their stakeholders and the public. The consideration of the social and environmental impact of company actions ensures that corporations are taking steps to meet their targets and become more sustainable as a result.  This is imperative when eliminating social and environmental issues such as child labour practices and inefficient waste management.

Source: Tom Fisk, Pexels

9. Risk management

Although not traditionally linked to sustainability, risk management is a popular choice for many people interested in green jobs. Working within companies you can help to incorporate sustainable development goals into business models and value chains. This is invaluable to companies during the transition to a sustainable society. Risks and issues within companies due to sustainable transition can be identified and mitigated by risk management specialists, making it a great type of sustainability job.

10. Sustainability engineering

Source: Sam Forson, Pexels

If you are more interested in the building and designing of sustainable infrastructure, you should consider sustainability engineering. A sustainability engineer’s work includes the planning of green projects, for example, in renewable energy. This skillset will prove invaluable, not only in present times but also in years to come.

 

Sustainability jobs are increasing within governments, NGOs and companies in present times. With the right qualifications and experience, a job within the green sector of sustainability could provide you with an exciting and fulfilling career where you can make a difference in the world.