Environmental policy analysts define how environmental concerns are approached from an organizational or government perspective. Environmental policy analysts review and analyze trends and impacts in order to develop environmental policies. They work both in the private sector, establishing environmentally responsible business practices, and in the public sector, advising decision-makers and developing regulations. Environmental policy analysts face the ongoing challenge of creating policies, rules, and statutes that balance environmental concerns with the needs of consumers, businesses, and governments.
Imagine you are sitting in a boardroom with top executives watching your company's latest television commercial advertising the organization's new commitment to the environment. You secretly grin and feel a tingle of pride. You are an environmental policy analyst for the company, and it was your team who developed this new policy. The television commercial and media campaign are only a small component of sweeping changes that will convert this company's operation and reputation from that of a polluting dinosaur to a leader in innovation and sustainable production.
As an environmental policy analyst, you started the process almost two years ago, when you presented to the company's executives evidence of consumer trends in which buying patterns were heavily influenced by a company's environmental reputation. In order to take advantage of this trend, management asked your team to develop a policy that would demonstrate to the company's customers and employees its commitment to reducing its impact on the environment. You started by setting out guidelines for the new policy, which had to suit the nature of your company's activities and include a commitment to ongoing improvement.
The policy also had to comply with existing provincial and federal environmental legislation and include a framework for regularly reviewing the company's environmental performance. You then began writing a policy that outlined a number of new environmental goals for the company, including reducing energy use and resource consumption, safely treating disposal and waste, training personnel in environmental procedures, and regular performance auditing. You also outlined how this policy should be communicated to staff and customers, as well as how it should be implemented. You and your team spent months developing a framework to ensure your company had a realistic but progressive environmental policy.
Duties vary significantly from job to job, but the following list includes typical job duties one might encounter as an environmental policy analyst:
Environmental policy analysts work in a variety of locations, including:
In the office:
In the field:
There are a number of places environmental policy analysts can find employment. They include:
If you are a high school student considering a career as an environmental policy analyst, you should have strong marks or an interest in:
In most cases, the minimum education requirement to work as an environmental policy analyst is a university undergraduate degree. If you are a post-secondary student considering a career as an environmental policy analyst, the following programs are most applicable:
It is not necessary to be certified in order to work as an environmental policy analyst.
Environmental employers look for professionals who can combine technical knowledge with business skills. The ECO Academy can help you build the essential skills needed for a successful environmental career. Learn more
I knew when I was ten that I wanted to be involved in the environment. Hunting, fishing, and trapping were a big part of my life. I spent every weekend camping with my family. Being outdoors and a career in the environment was natural for me. I went fishing regularly with my dad for speckled trout. Quite often the creeks where we fished had seen over-harvesting of trees, right up to the stream banks. The creeks were negatively impacted. I could see the damage and it stuck in my mind.
I first thought about being a conservation officer because I didn’t want people to break laws that protect the environment. Some people harvest too many animals and are often wasteful. I wanted to protect the animals from this abuse. I learned a lot from my Elders and my family. I used to sit around and listen to all of the adult conversations. Now, this trait’s a big part of my job. I work with and represent people, and therefore I need to listen to their concerns and to try to understand their values.
Originally, I started as a forestry technician. It was a great experience, but it wasn’t my calling. I wanted to get into ecosystem management, people management, and policy design. To do this, I needed to upgrade my education. After returning to school to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in forestry, I began to appreciate the complexities of land management. I see a huge demand for people with my qualifications in the next decade.
There are currently about forty Aboriginal foresters out of twelve thousand foresters in Canada. With more traditional territories being transferred back to Aboriginal communities in one form of ownership or another, the need for Aboriginal people to link communities with western management systems is high. The most challenging component of my job is communicating with different people with different interests and views. People are dynamic. When communicating with people who aren’t aware of Aboriginal knowledge, my experiences in traditional knowledge have been useful.