Sustainability Specialist: Job Description, Salary & Job Outlook

Sustainability specialists combine environmental knowledge with business operations insights to determine how companies can operate in a more environmentally responsible manner. Read on to learn more about what sustainability specialists do.

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Career Definition of a Sustainability Specialist

Sustainability specialists combine business expertise and environmental factors to determine how businesses can operate in an environmentally responsible way. They specifically look at sustainability issues; they seek business solutions that will not have an adverse effect in the future. This means that they may prioritize renewable energy sources instead of promoting development of products that rely on non-renewable energy sources or materials.

They may prepare reports and perform a cost-benefit analysis of proposals in order to help their business make effective decisions. They review data to determine how to implement sustainability strategies and are involved with setting targets for their company's progress in implementing sustainable practices. Once proposals are implemented they assess them to determine how effective they are.

Educational Requirements Bachelor's degree
Job Skills Analytical skills, attention to detail, computer skills, communication skills, problem-solving skills, leadership skills, mathematical skills, decision-making skills
Median Salary (2017)* $55,000
Job Outlook (2016-2026)** 9% (business operations specialists, all other)

Sources: *PayScale; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

A bachelor's degree is required to become a sustainability specialist. Some potential fields of study include environmental science or business. Those interested in this field may want to combine some courses in both fields in order to have a strong educational background in relevant environmental issues as well as business operations. They may also benefit from completing Lean Six Sigma certification, which will prepare them to analyze data more effectively.

Required Skills

Sustainability specialists need to be capable of paying attention to details and they must have strong analytical skills because their work can involve reviewing a lot of data. They must consider a number of factors in order to develop proposals to improve sustainability practices and they need to have strong decision-making skills in order to effectively determine the best possible solutions. Communication skills are important because they must communicate with other colleagues and managers and must also write reports. They use analytical software on computers, as well as a range of other types of software, so they need to have good computer skills. In order to effectively assess the costs and potential savings associated with their proposals they need mathematical skills.

Career Outlook and Salary

According to PayScale, as of 2017 sustainability specialists earned a $55,000 median annual income. Sustainability specialists are included with the occupational category for 'business operations specialists, all other' by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). From 2016 to 2026, the BLS anticipates the average job growth rate for all occupations will be 7%. It forecasts that 'business operations specialists, all other' will experience a slightly higher job growth rate of 9% during this ten-year period.

Related Careers

Those considering a career as a sustainability specialist may wish to use the links here to explore other careers that focus on protecting the environment and utilize analytical and decision-making skills, such as being an environmental specialist, an environmental analyst or an environmental engineer. Those interested in concentrating on business operations may be interested in reviewing information about what operations analysts do.

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