5 Steps for Becoming a Sustainability Manager

Last Updated:
Fri, 2018-04-20 10:12
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Sat, 2011-10-29 03:18
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sustainability management imageThe need for certified sustainability managers is growing exponentially. Companies are looking to maintain their competitive advantage by “greening” their products and organizational processes. They need a credible professional who is knowledgeable in the likes of reducing an organization’s carbon footprint and initiating positive change.

Perhaps you want to transition into the role of a sustainability manager, but you’re not sure how. Here are five steps you can take that will likely land you in a position that you will enjoy:

1. Get Formal Training

Take courses in a technical or scientific field, such as environmental engineering, at your local college or university. This training will give you the background information you need to work in the industry. More and more educational institutions are introducing sustainability coursework and degrees, so you may consider going straight to the heart of the cause. A degree in a sustainability- or environment-related field will benefit you when you are applying for jobs because you may have the extra bit of knowledge (from a professional institution) that another candidate may not have.

2. Gain industry experience

Work for a few years at a small business, corporation, or non-profit (or any combination of the three!), working your way into a managerial role. By working your way up, you are experiencing and understanding issues at all levels. Later, as a sustainability manager, you will use the experiences you had previously in your work history to help you make informed decisions that you know will satisfy your co-workers and other executives.

3. Acheive an Industry Certification Through Professional Training

Now that you have a solid foundation and experience in the industry, it’s wise to set yourself apart from others in your company. You can do this by achieving an industry certification, such as the ISSP Sustainability Associate credential. Although corporate sustainability is a highly valued strategy among organizations, the number of professional certifications deeming one qualified as a Sustainability Manager are few and far between. Achieving an industry certification shows your passion for sustainability and the initiative you’ve taken to further your knowledge and career.

4. Become A Member of Trade Organizations

There are a number of sustainability-related organizations in all major cities throughout the United States. In addition, there are specific trade organizations that you can join, where you can foster relationships with like-minded individuals and stay up-to-date on industry trends. Meetings and conferences are a great way to network, so if you have your eye on the Sustainability Manager position at a particular company, you may be able to get a foot in the door through another member of one of your trade organizations.

5. Conduct Research 

Research companies that you are interested in and learn about their sustainability strategy. Determine best practices and see which strategies are most effective and most appropriate for each company. This kind of preparation will allow you to think creatively about your own organization and will help you not waste time with ineffective policies. Your supervisors will appreciate this research and will take you seriously as a candidate for the Sustainability Manager role.

After completing these five steps, you should have no problem landing the Sustainability Manager job! Working as a certified Sustainability Manager can be very rewarding, since you are responsible for implementing positive change. The change you bring to an organization trickles down to all of its consumers and eventually affects the world we live in. If you’re reading this post, you want to make a difference. Stay motivated and commit to these five steps, and you’ll find success.

To learn more, please visit Everblue’s ISSP Sustainability Associate training.

By Peter J. Bock