The top 5 management careers in sustainability
From project management and compliance to data analytics and finance, improving the sustainable practices in an organisation requires a range of expertise across a variety of business functions. As such, the demand for sustainability skills is growing, with the United Nations reporting that 24 million sustainability jobs will be created globally by 2030.
In this blog, we explore five sustainability management careers that are growing in demand and assess how these roles are positively impacting businesses:
1. Sustainability Data and Insights Manager
A Sustainability Data and Insights Manager is responsible for reporting on the overall performance of sustainability initiatives which aim to develop business practices. They will closely research and assess internal datasets and information and make recommendations regarding the software, tools, and capabilities that the organisation may wish to adopt in order to develop future sustainable strategies.
They’ll typically be responsible for:
- Analysing business trends and identifying areas of sustainable development.
- Presenting findings and outlining opportunities to other colleagues such as project managers, finance, and marketing teams.
- Collating data and reporting on the effectiveness of sustainability initiatives, particularly in relation to external sustainable development goals and legislations.
To become a Sustainability Data and Insights Manager, it’s important to possess robust analytical skills, good attention to detail and the ability to accurately interpret data.
2. Sustainability Project Manager
The Institute of Project Management define sustainable project management as the planning, monitoring, and the controlling of project delivery and support processes, with consideration of environmental, economic, and social factors of the project’s resources, processes, deliverables, and effects.
These responsibilities are fulfilled by Sustainability Project Managers who ensure that sustainability is effectively embedded throughout each stage of a business project’s life cycle. They will typically be responsible for:
- Monitoring sustainability trends and legislative changes that need to be adhered to.
- Interpreting data to identify new opportunities to integrate sustainability into everyday business practices or those of a particular project.
- Working with internal stakeholders to integrate sustainability into operations, including finance, procurement, facilities, and marketing.
To succeed in this role, it’s crucial to be able to competently manage the scope, schedule, budget, risk, quality, and resources of any sustainability initiatives and display strong leadership and organisational skills. These attributes will lead to the effective rollout and integration of sustainability projects from start to finish.
3. Sustainable Finance Manager
Working in collaboration with both Sustainability Data and Insights Managers and Sustainability Project Managers, Sustainable Finance Managers are responsible for demonstrating the value of sustainability to a business. They will assess both the short-term and long-term impact of sustainable investments.
In the role, a Sustainable Finance Manager will typically be responsible for:
- Analysing business expenditure and the income and profit of sustainability and corporate social responsibility initiatives.
- Investigating opportunities where sustainable investment has the potential to reduce business costs.
- Making recommendations for new sustainable business investments.
Sustainable Finance Managers require strong analytical skills and the ability to assess complex economic problems beyond the skills of a typical Finance Manager. They need to be detail orientated and familiar with economic modelling approaches that are relevant to sustainable finance.
4. Sustainability Compliance Manager
Sustainability Compliance Managers are responsible for ensuring that new sustainability initiatives are being adhered to, with the organisation meeting its legislative obligations and abiding to frameworks such as the Paris Climate Agreement.
They will typically be responsible for:
- Conducting audits to ensure sustainability standards are consistently being met.
- Identifying compliance issues and undertaking any necessary follow up action when required.
- Assessing business operations and risks associated with new sustainability initiatives.
The skills required to succeed in this role include a detailed knowledge of policy, governance and legislation, a comprehensive and contemporary understanding of external factors influencing sustainability, good problem-solving skills, and strong communication skills.
5. Sustainability Marketing Manager
Sustainability Marketing Managers will be responsible for the development and delivery of sustainability-related marketing strategies. They engage in a broad range of activities including product development, delivery and promotion.
In their everyday role, they will typically be responsible for:
- Collaborating with sustainability managers such as Data and Insights Managers, Project Managers and Compliance Managers to understand the sustainable developments occurring within an organisation.
- Developing communications both internally and externally to raise awareness of sustainability initiatives through a mix of online and offline marketing.
- Executing and analysing marketing campaigns to measure the customer reach and engagement of sustainability communications.
Sustainability Marketing Managers must possess the creative skills to conceptualise complex sustainable business initiatives into clear and concise messaging for customers, employees, and other stakeholders.
How do you transition into management?
According to Glassdoor, the typical salaries of a Sustainability Manager in the UK ranges from £45,762-£52,309 per year as of December 2021. See our table below for more detail:
|Sustainable Finance Manager||£52,309|
|Sustainability Compliance Manager||£51,062|
|Sustainability Data and Insights Manager||£47,083|
|Sustainability Marketing Manager||£46,660|
|Sustainability Project Manager||£45,762|
* = According to Glassdoor (statistics from December 2021)
If you are highly driven to transition to a more sustainable economy, and want to develop the skills and knowledge to make a meaningful contribution to the implementation and management of sustainability strategies in your organisation, then consider studying an online Sustainable Business Leadership MSc and take your career to the next level.
Disclaimer: This article is not based on data but on the author’s personal perceptions of the sustainability industry.
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