Sustainability Specialists address organizational sustainability issues, such as waste stream management, green building practices, and green procurement plans. They also create or maintain plans or other documents related to sustainability projects. Other tasks include:
Develop sustainability project goals, objectives, initiatives, or strategies in collaboration with other sustainability professionals.
Assess or propose sustainability initiatives, considering factors such as cost effectiveness, technical feasibility, and acceptance.
Provide technical or administrative support for sustainability programs or issues.
Monitors or tracks sustainability indicators, such as energy usage, natural resource usage, waste generation, and recycling. Research or review regulatory, technical, or market issues related to sustainability. Review and revise sustainability proposals or policies.
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Career Definition of a Sustainability Specialist Sustainability specialists combine business expertise and environmental factors to determine how businesses can operate in an environmentally responsible way. They specifically look at sustainability issues; they seek business solutions that will not have an adverse effect in the future. This means that they may prioritize renewable energy sources instead of promoting development of products that rely on non-renewable energy sources or materials. They may prepare reports and perform a cost-benefit analysis of proposals in order to help their business make effective decisions. They review data to determine how to implement sustainability strategies and are involved with setting targets for their company's progress in implementing sustainable practices. Once proposals are implemented, they assess them to determine how effective they are.
Required Education A bachelor's degree is required to become a sustainability specialist. Some potential fields of study include environmental science or business. Those interested in this field may want to combine some courses in both fields in order to have a strong educational background in relevant environmental issues as well as business operations. They may also benefit from completing Lean Six Sigma certification, which will prepare them to analyze data more effectively.
Required Skills Sustainability specialists need to be capable of paying attention to details and they must have strong analytical skills because their work can involve reviewing a lot of data. They must consider a number of factors in order to develop proposals to improve sustainability practices and they need to have strong decision-making skills in order to effectively determine the best possible solutions. Communication skills are important because they must communicate with other colleagues and managers and must also write reports. They use analytical software on computers, as well as a range of other types of software, so they need to have good computer skills. In order to effectively assess the costs and potential savings associated with their proposals they need mathematical skills.