Sustainability Trainer


Sustainability Trainers develop and deliver training programs to help corporations implement sustainable business practices in an efficient and cost-effective manner. These practitioners build a solid understanding of the latest trends in economic, social and environmental sustainability, then create courses, seminars and workshops that present these trends to business audiences using engaging, concise and informative formats. As a result, the role of a Sustainability Trainer is one part Sustainability Researcher and one part Sustainability Educator – Sustainability Trainers need strong subject matter expertise on sustainability issues, as well as a talent for teaching according to different learning styles and needs. By educating businesses about sustainability best practices, Sustainability Trainers help numerous individuals work more effectively, reduce costs, conserve resources and mitigate environmental harm.

Two business women talking at a meeting table in a highrise

At a glance

Imagine you are standing in the sleek new boardroom of a mid-size oil and gas company. The company’s entire operations team of thirty employees are here, carefully working through the exercises you have just handed out on best practices for stakeholder engagement. This is the last session of the two-day seminar you have been hired to deliver on corporate sustainability. This client was especially interested in effective strategies to reduce resource use, increase efficiency and effectively engage diverse stakeholders on the operations team, so you’ve developed detailed content that is tailored to this specific audience.

Although the actual seminar is only two days long, you’ve spent many weeks learning about the company’s needs and priorities in a series of interviews, surveys and site visits. All of the preparation is clearly paying off, as several seminar participants note how your proposed changes will have an immediate, positive impact on their operations.

As you close the seminar with a final presentation summarizing the operations team’s new plan for sustainability, you can’t help but feel a strong sense of satisfaction. You’ve just provided these seminar attendees with practical, valuable information that will help them perform their work more efficiently, reduce resource use and protect the environment.

Job duties

Sustainability Trainers lead a variety of activities in a typical work day, such as:

  • Coordinating courses, workshops or seminars about implementing corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability.
  • Designing course materials, including handouts, guidebooks and Powerpoint presentations.
  • Researching the latest trends in sustainability: new technologies, guidelines, regulations and best practices.
  • Liaising and partnering with stakeholders.
  • Reviewing feedback from clients on courses and adjusting the content accordingly.
  • Evaluating student performance through tests and assignments.
  • Establishing training objectives for your clients that meet their specific skill requirements, objectives and overall organizational strategies.

Work environment

From day to day, Sustainability Trainers usually work:

In the field:

  • Delivering sustainability courses, seminars and workshops.
  • Administering exams.
  • Visiting clients to assess their operations firsthand and determine their needs for your training program.
  • Attending industry conferences and networking events to meet potential clients and learn about new developments in sustainability technologies, practices and policies.

In the office:

  • Creating targeted lesson plans on sustainability best practices that address a client’s unique needs and circumstances.
  • Reviewing online and print resources of journals, magazines, and articles on sustainability issues.
  • Performing administrative tasks, such as managing budgets or staff.

Where to work

Sustainability Trainers work in a wide range of settings, including:

  • Sustainability consulting firms
  • Retail businesses
  • Finance companies
  • Insurance companies
  • Federal, provincial/territorial, and municipal government departments
  • Self-employment (often as the founding President or CEO of their own company)

Education & requirements

If you are a high school student interested in a career as a Sustainability Trainer, you should have strong marks in:

  • Social Studies
  • English
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Geography

For post-secondary students attending college or university, the most relevant courses for a future career as a Sustainability Trainer are:

  • Business or Management
  • Public Administration
  • Education
  • Psychology
  • Environmental Studies
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Geology

Salary

In Canada, a typical starting salary for a Sustainability Trainer averages at about $17,850 per year.

Sustainability Trainers with more experience can earn significantly higher salaries of about $77,250 annually.