Green energy and sustainability are hot topics that make them perfect for those looking to enter the workforce. Many sustainability jobs are available in various fields ranging from social governance jobs, ESG investing jobs, ESG analyst jobs, and more.
A graduate degree will help you to be competitive in the ESG jobs and sustainability field, but knowing which niche to target is how you will find the most success.
Before you start looking for jobs in sustainability, think about your personal interest.
Do you have a knack for building design, or perhaps your interest is in sustainable apparel manufacturing?
If you are looking for a more impactful field, economics of climate change might be one of the ESG job opportunities you should pursue.
What Classifies a Job as ESG?
ESG is a broad definition that covers Environmental, Social, and Governance. There are many possible careers in ESG within just about every industry. Jobs that deal with assessing performance, ethics, governance and risk related to the environment and social realm can be considered holistically ESG related.
This can range from responsible ESG investing jobs to sustainability jobs in the government sector. Social governance jobs are also ESG as they are tasked with managing human risks and creating sustainable, ethical returns.
ESG professionals are critical in accurately measuring the sustainability and societal impact of an investment, professional operation, government program, or environmental initiative before they are put into effect.
Many careers in ESG also work towards providing these tabulations for existing companies and programs so that adjustments can be made to mitigate and reduce risks.
Our Selection Criteria For Great Careers in Sustainability
Our list of ESG job opportunities will help you pick the right positions to set you on a green career path. Many ESG jobs double as sustainability jobs which are also included on our list.
To make our list, a job has to feature social science, civil engineering, and environmental science in a way that focuses on sustainability or that seeks to integrate sustainable practices.
ESG investing jobs, social governance jobs, and ESG analyst jobs also make our list because they work towards helping companies and investors make better choices for the planet even though the positions are not directly in the line of sustainability.
What are the Best ESG Jobs? Here Are Our Top Picks
The best ESG jobs are those that match your interest and will help make a difference to the planet.
Here are some great options that will lead to even more important roles in the sustainability sector down the line.
Environmental Protection Specialist
Have you ever wanted to be a bodyguard but lacked physical strength? If so, an ESG career path maybe your second chance. The role of an environmental protection specialist in protecting the earth, but the main difference is that you use mental brawn to accomplish your goals.
They work to identify, prevent, and repair damage caused by human pollution. This entails collecting samples from the environment and creating detailed reports that reveal potential or actual threats to the environment.
The reports are used to help repair the damage from pollutes and also restore irrigation in key areas. The processes also seek to change local behaviors in the community or even by reclaiming polluted areas.
As a cherry on top, they can also expect to make 70k per year.
See Related: Tesla Road Trip: 1,800 Miles in 3 Days (Case Study)
With an average salary of around 60k per year, not only is this sustainability-focused job a way to shape change, but it is also lucrative. ESG based urban planners work with organizations, companies, and even governments.
They help plan how to use the land to benefit the project while also working to mitigate the negative impact on the surrounding environment. Road systems, communities, retail parks, city layouts, and even green areas are all mapped out by an urban planner.
In addition to planning the design of an area, they will also create complementary programs that account for population growth in the area. An ESG urban planner can coordinate restoration projects, building modernization, and even new construction.
See Related: Best Impact Investing Books to Read
ESG Based Landscape Architect
ESG Landscape architects are tasked with surveying the terrain and geography of the land before creating a design that combines new structures seamlessly with the surrounding natural environment. This field generally is for those who will be working in rural areas and wildlife habitats.
However, they can also work in cities or other unique areas to help craft infrastructure systems that are sustainable. A diverse range of technical skills, ESG knowledge, an eye for design, and a creative problem-solving approach must be successful.
A great deal of time is spent in the office creating reports and 3D models. However, there are sometimes on-site visits required. This position is also team-oriented, so you would need to work with other ESG specialists to accomplish your goals.
ESG Energy Manager
ESG Energy managers are tasked with auditing the use of environmental and financial, and resources. Both the private and the public sectors use these types of managers in a variety of situations. Most municipality planning, new development, and government contracts will have an energy manager assigned to each project.
They are also in charge of designing energy-efficient projects that help control water and energy usage. Design specifications, budget restrictions, and legal requirements set forth at the start of a project that an ESG manager will be tasked with ensuring are enforced.
Manufacturing is also very labor and energy-intensive. As such, the majority of ESG energy managers will find a diverse range of positions available in the sector.
Certification is required on a regular basis as well. Being that these positions require an in-depth knowledge of resource management, it is a great way to set a strong foundation for a career in sustainability.
See Related: Best ESG Funds to Invest for Impact
For those looking to work on a contractual basis in both the private and public sectors, a career as an environmental consultant is a great way to get a head start in the sustainability field.
Their duties tend to be geared towards working with water treatment facilities and other environmental agencies with services or products that affect the environment.
An environmental consultant will help target, identify and recommend solutions for common concerns such as soil contamination, water pollution, and air quality control. A consultant will ensure that laws and regulations are being met and that the environmental protocol of the area is part of the planning process.
In some cases, an ESG environmental consultant may work with groups, companies, or organizations to come into complaints to prevent fines or avoid legal action.
See Related: What is a Quadruple Bottom Line?
One of the best jobs in the ESG field that will help people get their foot in the door to a sustainability career is becoming an ecologist. In this role, it would be your job to point out the many ways people and their activities affect the environment.
Most work will be with environmental organizations or governmental agencies. This role aims to understand the impact of humans on the environment through consumption and interaction.
They are then tasked with discovering and create actionable solutions to mitigate the negative impact. Ecologists also may dive into the side effects of restoration, construction, and other community-based interactions with the environment.
Working with energy is an easy way to get your foot in the door to working with a career in sustainability. Energy engineers are a critical part of the ESG field tasked with designing, developing, and in many cases helping to implement energy efficiency programs.
Most Energy engineers are called in during the planning and construction stage of development. This can be for big buildings, communities, manufacturers, or even small residential projects. This field is rather broad, even with an ESG specialization.
An energy engineer may work with green construction, HVAC planning, energy procurement, air quality, or even a combination. Those working in this field manage evaluation and energy auditing for their projects and are also needed to help calculate environmental conservation costs.
See Related: How to Start Investing in Women
What better way to get your foot in the door of sustainability than by working with renewable energy directly. As an ESG sustainability engineer, you will be tasked with creating and implementing viable renewable energy mandates, projects, and programs.
This will be put into effect by going over the finances and assessing the sites of the client, company, or government project you are assigned to.
In most cases, as an ESG sustainability engineer, the work will be office-based, but at times reviewing the site in person is required for a comprehensive assessment.
To work as an ESG sustainability engineer, you will need to pass a fundamentals course in engineering.
With at least 4 years of active work as an ESG sustainability engineer, you can secure an engineering license or more into a field more directly related to sustainability.
See Related: Here’s How to Achieve Carbon Neutrality
For those who love nature and science, becoming a conservation scientist is a great way to start a career in sustainability. A person in this role is tasked with managing the conservation efforts that come with forestry.
ESG conservation scientists are also in charge of enforcing government regulations surrounding habitat protection and restoration. Other fields of work for an ESG conservation scientist are agriculture management and advising.
They will monitor clear-cut land to ensure that it remains useable for future planting and cultivation.
Soil quality monitoring is another task of an ESG conservation scientist.
If there is a natural disaster such as a fire or flood, or in cases of environmental damage due to logging, they will evaluate the soil and create solutions to either bring it back to its natural state or prevent further damage.
See Related: What is Ethanol’s Carbon Footprint?
ESG Air Quality Engineer
Air quality is a critical part of the environment. Sustainability efforts as an ESG Air quality engineer work with the environmental effects of factory emissions, smog, natural fires, and more.
In this role, you will be tasked with using highly efficient and carefully calibrated monitoring practices to study air quality and create a detailed analysis or computer model of the results. In addition to monitoring, they are also in charge of creating standards for air equity which is an essential part of environmental sustainability.
When hired by government agencies, ESG Air quality engineers are responsible for tracking pollution in a specific area and, in many cases enforcing fines and triggering legal action against those who are breaking the rules.
ESG Air quality engineers can also be hired privately by commercial or industrial clients to help monitor emissions and create solutions to help reduce or mitigate their pollutant output.
See Related: What Are The Three E’s of Sustainability
Energy & ESG Analyst
Energy & ESG Analysts have complex jobs that are in high demand. This one of the best jobs to take if you want to have a successful career in the sustainability field. This job covers everything regarding energy efficiency, clean power, renewable solutions, and more.
As an Energy & ESG Analyst, your job will be data-oriented, and the bulk of your time will be spent analyzing reams of collected data. Once the data is analyzed, you will be responsible for recommending improvements and creating energy models for communities, buildings, planned projects, and more.
In most cases, you will also need to provide technical support to contractors and perform various tests to ensure energy efficiency.
In terms of moving on to a career in sustainability, working as an Energy & ESG Analyst is one of the best foundations to have when building your eco-centered resume.