Business Sustainability and Green Operations
While “sustainability” and “green” have become buzzwords for attending to environmental practices, it is best to first define what these words mean. Perhaps the most common definition of sustainability comes from a 1987 United Nations conference, which defined sustainability as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Since then, degrees in careers that subscribe to this philosophy have been popping up all over the place.
Overview of Business Sustainability
According to Onet, there are specific tasks one must consider in the field of business sustainability. These include:
- “Create or maintain plans or other documents related to sustainability projects.
- Develop sustainability project goals, objectives, initiatives, or strategies in collaboration with other sustainability professionals.
- Assess or propose sustainability initiatives, considering factors such as cost effectiveness, technical feasibility, and acceptance.
- Provide technical or administrative support for sustainability programs or issues.
- Monitor or track sustainability indicators, such as energy usage, natural resource usage, waste generation, and recycling.
- Research or review regulatory, technical, or market issues related to sustainability.
- Review and revise sustainability proposals or policies.
- Collect information about waste stream management or green building practices to inform decision-makers.
- Develop reports or presentations to communicate the effectiveness of sustainability initiatives.
- Identify or procure needed resources to implement sustainability programs or projects.”
As sustainability is often part of a company’s culture, there are often no set career paths, but a general ethos of sustainability within the company. This means that one can find work in the field with a background in logistics, business management, environmental science, civil engineering, accounting, and more. However, degrees or certificates specifically related to sustainability or environmental management are becoming more common.
Job Prospects in Business Sustainability
Even if your degree is not in sustainability per se, it is still possible to get a job related to the field. Managerial positions with a business sustainability degree include transportation, storage, and distribution managers; industrial production managers; general and operations managers; and chief executives. As the Bureau of Labor Statistics currently has no data with sustainability in particular, they can only suggest the wages and sector growth of these positions in general. The median salary for these positions ranges from $80,860 for a transportation, storage, and distribution manager to $166,910 for a chief executive. Higher up positions generally require a master’s degree in addition to years of work experience.
Other possible jobs include:
- Champion of Sustainable Design
- Chief Specialist, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)
- Senior Sustainability Adviser
- Sustainability Consultant
- Sustainability Coordinator
- Sustainability Specialist
While there may not be an abundance of programs specified with sustainability management right now, it is a specific area of the logistics field that is only sure to grow.
Business Sustainability and Green Operations Degrees
- Liberty University — BSBA – Green & Sustainable Management
- Norwich University — MPA – Public Works and Sustainability Concentration
- Pennsylvania State University — MPS – Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems
- Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota — Accelerated MBA – Environment Management & Sustainability