Sustainability Manager: Job Description & Salary

Sustainability management may be a good choice for those interested in helping organizations streamline operations in environmentally friendly ways. This article covers the job duties, educational requirements, and job outlook for this position.

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Career Definition of a Sustainability Manager

A sustainability manager specializes in areas like eco-friendly building practices, waste stream management, and green procurement plans. Sustainability managers usually work full-time and can work in an office or a laboratory. They may work for government agencies, such as a municipal government, or for corporations.

Job responsibilities for sustainability managers can vary depending on the type of organization they work for. General job responsibilities can include analyzing and monitoring areas like natural resource usage and recycling, educating people on the importance of sustainability initiatives, and obtaining funding for projects through rebate applications, grants, and project proposals. Sustainability managers may create marketing materials, such as websites or online media, intended to generate awareness of sustainability issues. They must remain informed on new federal and state legislation impacting the field. Sustainability managers can also gather data on eco-friendly building practices or waste stream management to provide recommendations to legislators.

Educational Requirements Bachelor's degree
Job Skills Excellent interpersonal skills, critical thinking, ability to collaborate, and project management abilities
Median Salary (2016)* $69,040 (business operations specialists, all other)
Job Outlook (2014-2024)* 5% (business operations specialists, all other)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Prospective candidates will need to complete a bachelor's degree to work as a sustainability manager. Appropriate areas of study include engineering, environmental science, or other related fields. More advanced positions may require a master's degree. Those interested can join the Association of Sustainability Practitioners, which offers a platforms for members to share ideas and training resources.

Required Skills

Sustainability managers will need strong interpersonal skills since they interact with a variety of groups, including local government or civic organizations, private citizens, and corporate employees. Critical thinking skills are essential for developing and implementing sustainability initiatives, while taking into account cost savings and project practicality. Sustainability managers must have the ability to collaborate, as they may be responsible for coordinating efforts among internal departments or external agencies. They will also need a strong background in program management, particularly with planning methods and coordinating programs, as well as budget preparation and monitoring.

Career Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a 5% growth in employment opportunities for the category of ''business operations specialists, all other'', which is about average for all occupations. Those with relevant work experience, including positions that showcase progressive responsibilities, may have the best job prospects. The BLS reported a 2016 median annual wage of $69,040 for ''business operations specialists, all other'', which includes sustainability managers.

Related Careers

Those considering a career as a sustainability manager may be interested in one of the below related careers. They offer prospective candidates the opportunities to to either work with the environment or improve an organization's efficiency.

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