About 5 to 10 years ago, sustainability was a trending career move and there was a movement to make it a top investment priority. Somehow, career opportunities languished as the Cleantech sector did not take off as everyone expected it to.
I began my career much earlier in the field of sustainability. After college I signed on as a Greenpeace activist clamoring for environmental justice. I got tired of the grassroots and moved into an office wanting to apply my technical knowledge. An internship at the Environmental Defense Fund provided me with a credible foundation as I ventured towards a triple bottom line (link) career.
A brief stint as an environmental engineer at a tech firm taught me about how fearful the business world had become. My employer needed someone who knew enough to keep them barely compliant (and save costs).
In a short span, I did not find a sustainable path for a sustainability career. At that time, I watched many of peers experience similar disappointments. So I pivoted towards management consulting and technology. I shifted my core career and made it part of my contextual environment. In the meanwhile I improved my contextual skills and transformed a generalized skillset into more marketable skills. I became a CRM (link) consultant. As a CRM consultant I’ve been able to help environmental companies and nonprofits. Core became context. Context became a career. The sustainability industry needs marketers, technologists and accountants, too.
This article (link) spells out how one can sustain a meaningful career without leaving environmental interests behind. There are hardly enough eco jobs to go around in spite of extraordinary interest in most places. I’m fortunate that I can hold onto my core values even though my job title doesn’t connect the dots as I once hoped it would. The good news is that everything is about to change again.
You can expect more career opportunities as the world transitions to a low-carbon economy (link).
Green finance would have propelled these kinds of jobs decades ago. With the exception of California and parts of Europe, smart policy-making got lost in the shuffle. It’s never too late to align purpose and profits. The easiest step to take is ensuring that your family and business adopts ‘low-carbon impact’ activities. The hardest action has been investment into the sector. Now, the justification and money is there for the sake of a sustainable world. As the election quickly approaches, be mindful that your vote will determine how many green jobs get created. The scientific and business cases (link) overwhelmingly favor the need for sustainability. The best career move for anyone interested in sustainability is to support the candidates who understand what’s at stake.