Working in the green sector can be a fulfilling way to contribute to the environment, but how do you go about it? There are many ways you can work in sustainability, but before you jump in, there are a few considerations.
1) Who do you want to work for? Sustainability exists across most sectors, meaning you could work for a corporation in their sustainability division, or you could work for an organisation that's the sole focus is the environment. A good starting place is to research different companies and their sustainability efforts. What projects do they undertake? What are their goals and values? What are they trying to achieve?
2) How do you see yourself contributing? Again, there are many ways you can work in sustainability. You can work behind the scenes of a projects such as planning, fundraising or marketing. Or, if you are looking for something more hands-on, you may want to look at field work and companies where you can physically assist.
3) Skills and training. You may need to look at where your gaps are and consider what skills and training you can add. Check out online courses through TAFE, university and community colleges. Excitingly, there are more and more courses becoming available that specifically focus on sustainability.
4) Talk to someone in the role you want. One of the best ways to transition into a new career it to talk to someone already in the position you'd like. You can find people on LinkedIn and connect that way, asking for a coffee catch-up or phone call. It's great to hear about their day-to-day experience, the path they took to get there and what challenges they encountered.
5) Write a wish list. Spending some time making a list of the companies and organisations you admire is a great way to get a feel for what you're interested in. Leave nothing off the table and jot down all your dream places to work - no matter how unattainable you may think they are. The benefit of this exercise is that you may see a pattern emerge. For example, you may see you are passionate about food waste, sustainable clothing or perhaps energy.
Finding a career in sustainability can be a great way to combine your passions and work life. Always take the time to research every company and organisation and be clear on their mission, goals and values. Unfortunately, some companies can be involved in 'green-washing'. This is a term used to describe when marketing is to persuade consumers/the public, that the company is positively impacting the environment, when in actual fact, they are not operating in a way that supports the environment. The best way to avoid this is by researching. Even well known companies can be involved in green-washing. On top of looking at the companies overall objectives, mission and values, take a look at the projects and campaigns the run. Do they work with other companies/organisations? Who are they and what are their values and objectives? It may sound like a lot of work, but to ensure you land a role that suits you and your goals, these steps are worth taking.
Finally, don't forget to check out the partnerships of organisations that you admire. It's likely they have aligned with organisations and companies that are similar to their own! For example, here are some of our partners: