Careers with a postive impact – Jobs in the environmental sector


Looking to turn your passion for the environment into a career with a positive impact?

At Grow Smart Future we have decided to feature some of the varied job roles  that this sector has to offer.

Environmental Engineers

Are you good at combining problem solving with scientific skills and want to create technological solutions which protect, restore and preserve the planet, then environmental engineer might be the right career for you.

Environmental engineers are concerned with issues such as climate change, drought, population growth, urbanisation, deforestation and the energy crisis. They use a background in science and engineering, to find technology-based solutions to complex problems.

Environmental engineers work on areas such as
– disposal of waste products such as water and plastics, particularly high-volume industrial waste
– environmental compliance
– flood risk and drainage
– infrastructure and development
– management of pollutants that can harm the natural environment
– recovery and cleansing of land which has been damaged, for example by mining, landfill or farming
– water supply and sanitation.

Starting salaries are between £17,000 and £28,000 but experienced engineers can earn up to £45,000 while Project engineering managers or chartered engineers earn  £40,000 to £60,000 or more.

Although engineering degrees are highly relevant to this area, you do not always need to have studied an engineering subject in order to become an environmental engineer. You may have studied another subject that has relevance, such as a science or an environmental discipline.

It’s also possible to move into environmental engineering from other related occupations, such as environmental consultancy or sustainability.


Sustainability Officer

Sustainability officers help their companies balance out their impact on the environment, generally by advising management regarding what should be improved to lessen negative impacts. They may also carry out evaluations of departments and operations within the company to determine areas of improvement, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, providing more effective modes of transportation, managing waste disposal, reducing the company’s “carbon footprint,” and conserving energy and water.

Sustainability managers may also assist in training personnel so they can participate in green initiatives within the company. Much of the work is done in an office environment and involves conducting research, writing reports, and maintaining communication with various parties within and outside of the company. They may also represent their companies in partnerships with government agencies and NGOs, among other organizations.

Depending on the seniority of the role starting salaries are between £17,000 and £28,000 while Chief Sustainability Officers in an executive role can earn £60,000 or more.

Although this career is open to all graduates, it may help if you have a degree or HND in: bioscience, earth sciences, ecology, energy, environmental engineering, environmental health, environmental sciences or management engineering with a sustainability focus.

A relevant degree or postgraduate qualification, provide the necessary skills for employment in this field. However sustainability officers can move into the role from inside an organization as a business qualification or experience in the area of business activity carried out by a company may be considered as important as knowledge of environmental aspects.


Sustainability Consultant

Sustainability consultants promote sustainable solutions for the often conflicting needs of people, the environment, development and successful business. They help businesses develop an environmental conscience, while simultaneously saving them money by making choices that positively impact the earth and all who live on it.

Sustainability consultants need to have a detailed knowledge of the scientific and legal issues concerned with environmental issues and use this knowledge to influence ways of living and working sustainably.

As a sustainability consultant, you will work closely with clients to help them measure and then improve their sustainability performance.

Starting salaries for graduate, junior and assistant sustainability consultants are between £18,000 and £25,000. Experienced sustainability consultants can earn between £25,000 and £40,000. Senior or principal sustainability consultants can earn salaries of £40,000 to £60,000 or more.

You don’t need a foundation degree, HND or degree to be a sustainability consultant. As it is a relatively new area, consultants come from many backgrounds, such as environmental and business-based careers. However, most sustainability consultants do have a degree.

Postgraduate courses around energy, sustainability and environment management can also lead into this career.  Affiliate, graduate or associate membership of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) or the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) or an equivalent professional organisation could be beneficial.


Packaging Sustainability Manager

The packaging sustainability manager works on the development of innovative and cost-effective packaging solutions and the  best sustainable technology to support a company’s Packaging and Recycling Strategy.

Given the importance of a move towards innovative and cost effective packaging solutions and the increased demand by customers for zero waste products, packaging sustainability manager can have an important impact in a variety of industries.

For this career you will need both an understanding of packaging development, processes and environmental issues as well as a good understanding of packaging manufacturing processes and print technology

In this role job you need to work closely with packaging functions and the supplier community to achieve effective implementation activities and solution, maintain effective management and control of the environmental risk and impacts related to the business., drive improvements in sustainability performance to ensure stakeholders have a positive perception of the businesses achievements and strategic intent and work with packaging functions across the global organisation.

Most organizations may require a Bachelor’s degree (Masters preferred) with a Scientific and/or Sustainability background or equivalent,

Starting salaries for packaging sustainability managers are between £18,000 and £25,000. Experienced managers can earn salaries of £40,000 to £60,000 or more.


Sustainable Transport Planner

Sustainable Transport Planners advise local authorities on how to raise awareness and increase active travel and use of less polluting travel options , often working on a a wide ranging set of activities, all designed to deliver cumulative change within this area, for example cycling schemes.

As part of your role you might be addressing some significant challenges associated with Air Quality Management establishing ways of reducing emissions overall through encouraging changes in modal shift, changes in traffic flow and reduction of congestion and provision of suitable parking.

The role requires skills in project management and delivery and is ideal if you have experience of successfully delivering measurable behaviour change as well as a proven record of delivery in a local authority environment. This experience could be gained by working with charities and communities on a local level.

A degree in Transport Planning, Geography, Architecture, urban design, or other relevant subjects may be required.

Starting salaries for sustainable transport planners are between £18,000 and £25,000.
Senior specialists can earn salaries of £40,000 or more.

Have we inspired you to take the plunge and to turn your passion into your career?

Do you or someone you know have an exciting job in this space and would like to share your experience? Please leave a comment below or send us an emial

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