Employment in sustainability is rapidly growing and comprises a vast number of elements. Here is a comprehensive and highly detailed job description covering everything you need to know about working in a sustainability related job.
People employed in sustainability address organizational issues, such as waste stream management, green building practices, and green procurement plans. Their job titles include but are not limited to: Champion of Sustainable Design; Chief Specialist, LEED (Chief Specialist, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design); Lead Sustainability Specialist; Senior Sustainability Advisor; Senior Sustainability Consultant; Sustainability Consultant; Sustainability Coordinator; Sustainability Specialist; Sustainable Design Consultant; Sustainable Design Coordinator.
Here is a summary of the most important tasks, tools, technology, software, knowledge, skills, abilities, activities, contexts, interests, education, training, experience, pay, number of jobs and future prospects associated with employment in sustainability.
Core Create or maintain plans or other documents related to sustainability projects.
Core Develop sustainability project goals, objectives, initiatives, or strategies in collaboration with other sustainability professionals.
Core Assess or propose sustainability initiatives, considering factors such as cost effectiveness, technical feasibility, and acceptance.
Core Provide technical or administrative support for sustainability programs or issues.
Core Monitor or track sustainability indicators, such as energy usage, natural resource usage, waste generation, and recycling.
Core Research or review regulatory, technical, or market issues related to sustainability.
Core Review and revise sustainability proposals or policies.
Core Collect information about waste stream management or green building practices to inform decision-makers.
Core Develop reports or presentations to communicate the effectiveness of sustainability initiatives.
Core Identify or procure needed resources to implement sustainability programs or projects.
Core Create marketing or outreach media, such as brochures or web sites, to communicate sustainability issues, procedures, or objectives.
Core Write grant applications, rebate applications, or project proposals to secure funding for sustainability projects.
Core Identify or create new sustainability indicators.
Supplemental Identify or investigate violations of natural resources, waste management, recycling, or other environmental policies.
Tools & Technology
Laser fax machine — Laser facsimile machines
Laser printers — Computer laser printers
Notebook computers — Laptop computers
Photocopiers — Photocopying equipment
Scanners — Computer data input scanners
Special purpose telephones — Multi-line telephone systems
Analytical or scientific software — Life cycle assessment LCA software; PE
INTERNATIONAL GaBi software; PE INTERNATIONAL SoFi software; PRe Consultants SimaPro
Data base user interface and query software — Microsoft Access
Desktop publishing software — Adobe Systems Adobe InDesign; Microsoft Publisher; Quark software
Document management software — Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat software
Electronic mail software — Microsoft Outlook
Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator; Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop software
Internet browser software — Web browser software
Map creation software — Geographic information system GIS software
Office suite software — Microsoft Office software
Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Building and Construction — Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
Sales and Marketing — Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Geography — Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
Clerical — Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
Communications and Media — Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
Transportation — Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
Management of Personnel Resources — Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
•Investigate legal issues.
•Obtain information about goods or services.
•Research issues related to the environment or sustainable business practices.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
•Establish organizational guidelines or policies.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
•Advise others on business or operational matters.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
•Prepare financial documents.
•Prepare operational reports.
•Prepare proposal documents.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
•Create marketing materials.
•Develop sustainable business strategies or practices.
Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
•Monitor business indicators.
Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
•Assess the cost effectiveness of products, projects, or services.
Selling or Influencing Others — Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment — Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
Electronic Mail, telephone, indoors, work with a group or team, coordinate or lead with others, spend time sitting, structured work, freedom to make decisions, contact with others, face to face discussion, letters and memos, time pressure, responsibilbity for outcomes and public speaking.
Education, Experience and Training
Considerable preparation is needed with most of these occupations requiring a four year bachelor’s degree. Related work experience is commonly required, this could include on the job training and/or vocational training.
This is an enterprising occupation which frequently involves starting up and carrying out projects. This could include leading people, decision making and risk taking.
It is also an Investigative occupation which frequently involves working with ideas, thinking, searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
As an artistic occupation this involves working with forms, designs and patterns as well as work that is done without following a clear set of rules.
Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
Recognition — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Median wages (2013) $31.78 hourly, $66,090 annual
Number of Jobs and Future Prospects
Employment (2012) 992,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) 3% to 7%
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 209,400
Excerpted from O*Net Online, a partner of the American Job Center Network.