Sustainability specialists help their organizations comply with national, provincial and local environmental regulations, while also ensuring their organization functions in a financially viable and socially responsible manner. These practitioners interpret and develop procedures to meet environmental regulatory requirements, establish sustainability strategies and programs, communicate with stakeholders about environmental concerns, and address the risks associated with environmental degradation. This occupation is ideal for mid-career professionals who have significant experience in their employer’s operations, since sustainability specialists often need a comprehensive understanding of all facets of their company, along with a strong knowledge of sustainability principles and practices.
Imagine yourself standing in the middle of a 5,000 square metre manufacturing facility where office furniture, desks and other supplies are created from raw materials and sold to customers throughout the world. As a sustainability specialist, you apply your extensive knowledge of the factory’s production processes to verify that they are safe for workers in the facility, comply with multiple levels of environmental regulation, and allow your company to create high-quality products.
In your role, you need to know how different environmental regulations impact your employer’s operations, so you often research the latest regulatory requirements and meet with government and legal representatives to ensure that your company correctly interprets and complies with these regulations. You also meet with different industry stakeholders, such as suppliers and delivery companies, to verify that the minimum amount of energy is used to transport your company’s products. To demonstrate your employer’s compliance with environmental regulations, you prepare and present environmental impact reports.
Your work is critical to providing a healthy and safe working environment for your colleagues, supporting the long-term financial success of your company, and protecting the environment.
In general, sustainability specialists perform the following job duties:
Sustainability specialists work in a variety of locations, including:
In the office:
In the field:
A wide variety of organizations employ sustainability specialists, including:
If you are a high school student considering a career as a sustainability specialist, you should have a strong interest in:
In most cases, sustainability specialists must have at least a university undergraduate degree to find employment.
If you are a post-secondary student considering a career as a sustainability specialist, the following programs are the most applicable:
If you are a mid-career professional who has comprehensive knowledge of your employer’s operating environment, you may already have the foundation to transition into a career as a sustainability specialist.