How To Become A Sustainability Manager: A Complete Guide

by | Aug 21, 2023 | Sustainability

Home » Sustainability » How To Become A Sustainability Manager: A Complete Guide

Sustainability managers assist businesses or organizations in managing their activities to ensure they are ecologically sustainable. The job description could involve working their energy resources, eliminating waste, and increasing health and safety practices. A career as a sustainability manager may be appealing if you have a strong desire to practice sustainability and an interest in the environment.

Who is a Sustainability Manager?

A Sustainability Manager guarantees that their organization upholds and strives to develop new, inventive, and cost-effective ways to stay green. A sustainability manager is responsible for creating, executing, and monitoring a company’s or a group of organizations’ environmental strategies. They will also explain plans, develop budgets, and promote green methods to vendors, customers, and coworkers. This is a career that allows you to help have a good impact on the environment.

Sustainability managers are frequently engaged to represent organizations or corporations that are too large to ensure sustainable practices without a committed employee. Hiring a sustainability manager enables a company to reduce its environmental effect by doing the following:

  • Compliance with federal, state, and local environmental standards
  • Putting policies in place to guarantee that the firm is ecologically and socially responsible
  • Educating stakeholders and the general public about the benefits of sustainable management practices
  • Enhancing the corporate reputation

Sustainability managers are not limited to private enterprises and corporations. Local, state, and federal governments and professional and technical consulting firms hire them. They can be found in the manufacturing and healthcare industries.

Corporate Sustainability Manager

A corporate sustainability manager typically develops and implements corporate-specific sustainability plans. They are also in charge of teaching staff about corporate policy to mitigate possibly negative environmental repercussions. Corporate sustainability managers provide three significant advantages to the businesses they serve:

  • Ensure the corporation avoids unfavorable press and legal action while adhering to current sustainability legislation.
  • Enhance the corporation’s public image by emphasizing its intention to care for the environment and accept responsibility for its actions.
  • Improve the corporation’s “bottom line” by implementing practices that minimize waste, lower carbon impact, and maximize efficiency.

At their core, corporate sustainability managers’ responsibilities are comparable to those of private-sector executives; nevertheless, the scope and depth of their work is a significant difference.

Chief Sustainability Officer

A chief sustainability officer works on a smaller scale to reduce environmental effects. This role is focused on creating and implementing industry-specific solutions such as energy consumption, conservation resources, recycling, transportation, and environmentally friendly design. These concerns might arise at the district or county level, as well as at the federal level. Chief sustainability officers are also in charge of supervising staff and volunteers involved in sustainability projects. They also do environmental legislation research and handle stakeholder issues. The fundamental principles of this vocation are equivalent to those of a corporate sustainability manager. Still, they have the flexibility to adapt to diverse localities and mitigation initiatives (for example, recycling).

How To Become a Sustainability Manager?

How to Become a Sustainability Manager?

1. Select your school subjects with caution

Choosing the proper subjects in school can help you become a sustainability manager. Math and scientific studies can help you get the knowledge and transferable skills prospective employers need in a sustainability manager. Obtaining high scores in these subjects and exhibiting superior understanding in areas such as algebra, trigonometry, statistics, physics, chemistry, and biology might demonstrate to a university admissions team that you are prepared for a degree in sustainability.

2. Get a degree

A bachelor’s degree is the next step toward becoming a sustainability manager. Your degree could be in any relevant subject, such as environmental sciences, law, business, science, or biology, but it must include a concentration on sustainability. Some examples of similar fields are:

  • Environmental law
  • Environmental architecture
  • Environmental design
  • Environmental engineering
  • Environmental health sciences
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Renewable energy
  • Biology
  • Public law
  • Marine sciences
  • Wildlife ecology
  • Geology
  • Climatology

Before applying for your first employment, you may want to improve your education by getting a master’s or doctorate. Continuing your study in any of the subjects mentioned above may help you better understand sustainability. When applying for a position in sustainability or, more particularly, as a sustainability manager, this makes you stand out to potential employers or hiring managers.

3. Create an excellent curriculum vitae

Focus on building a great CV relevant to the position you’re applying for before applying for your first sustainability role. Highlight your essential sustainability-related talents from your education. You should provide a few soft abilities that show you’re a valuable employee. This may help you stand out from the crowd.

4. Apply for a position in sustainability

After you have earned your degree and created a CV, you may begin applying for entry-level sustainability positions. Ensure you thoroughly prepare for job interviews and appear on time, as first impressions can be crucial to a potential employer. Once you’ve landed your first job in a sustainability capacity, you may want to look for possibilities in more advanced or senior positions to expand your career when you’re ready.

5. Gain practical work experience

Before becoming a sustainability manager, you may need to work in a sustainability capacity for a few years to gather relevant industry experience. Ensure that you make the most of your professional experience during this period. Learn from your management and solicit feedback on how you might improve. Increase your company’s exposure to as many facets of sustainability as feasible. When you are ready, you can also request increased duties from your boss.

6. Advance your career or seek a position as a sustainability manager

Your employer may promote you to a more senior function or a sustainability manager position after a few years of work in a beginning sustainability role to take on more responsibility. Alternatively, if it is the quickest or most effective method to advance in your career, you may apply for a job as a sustainability manager elsewhere. This is the time to put your knowledge and abilities from all of your efforts and commitment to the role that you’ve been preparing for to use.

7. Networking and making contacts

In any industry, having a solid network is advantageous. You might benefit from broadening your network in sustainability and similar areas. Participating in sustainability websites and forums can be a terrific way to network and make relationships. It can help you stay in touch with people in the business and provide a platform for your work and ideas to be shared with your followers. Having these relationships can lead to new chances and achievements in your profession.

What is the Job of a Sustainability Manager?

A sustainability manager oversees an organization’s environmental sustainability practices. A sustainability manager may design plans, execute protocols, and manage the organization’s resources daily to lessen the organization’s ecological effects. A sustainability manager’s primary responsibilities may include:

  • Evaluating an organization’s present sustainability plans and practices to determine where they might lessen their environmental impact.
  • Investigating and staying current on the most recent local and global sustainability news, trends, and practices.
  • Creating and preserving papers for the organization’s sustainability practices.
  • Assisting with environmental funding applications.
  • Training employees on eco-friendly practices and demonstrating how to enhance their sustainability knowledge to lessen environmental effects.
  • Constantly reviewing the company’s sustainability statistics.
  • Providing input to the executive team on how the organization functions regarding sustainability.

What Skills are Required by Sustainability Managers?

When seeking a sustainability manager, hiring managers may seek several technical and soft talents. Some instances are as follows:

  • Environmental concern: Sustainability managers typically assist businesses in reducing their environmental effects. A passion for the environment may help you succeed as a sustainability manager because you are aware of and care deeply about it.
  • Working in a team or with colleagues: As a sustainability manager, you could work in a group or with colleagues, regardless of whether they be your direct reports, other managers, or executives. The capacity to work in a team, irrespective of whom you engage with, might be helpful for a sustainability manager.
  • Communication: Sustainability managers interact with individuals both inside and outside the organization. To be a great sustainability manager, you must have excellent communication skills.
  • Organization: As a sustainability manager, you may simultaneously be in charge of several things. Organizing and maintaining detailed records are essential for executing your duties as a sustainability manager.
  • Computer Skills: Strong computer skills and an analytical attitude may assist you in analyzing data and creating reports and presentations.


Responsibilities abound in the role of Sustainability manager. A sustainability manager creates a sustainable environment when a company’s product or service is being delivered to the public. As a sustainability manager, you’ll be responsible for developing policies, analyzing and forecasting the company’s future outlook, current stability, and various other tasks. Depending on one’s professional responsibilities and expertise, one may also be required to manage a team and work with juniors.


Q1. Sustainability managers are employed by whom?

Larger organizations that must be more complex to meet sustainability criteria on all levels frequently hire sustainability managers. Private corporations, NGOs, or the government may also employ these specialists. Sustainability managers are commonly needed in the healthcare, energy, and industrial industries. Many sustainability managers work for themselves, running their private consultancies.

Q2. What distinguishes a sustainability consultant from a sustainability manager?

In many cases, a sustainability consultant and a sustainability manager may appear to be in the same profession, but there are significant differences. A sustainability consultant may be considered a specialist by prospective employers, whereas a sustainability manager oversees sustainability. A sustainability consultant is typically an expert who gives high-level or technical sustainability advice on a specific topic. In contrast, a sustainability manager manages an organization’s sustainability practices from start to finish.

Q3. What is a sustainability manager’s working environment like?

Sustainability managers in smaller companies may operate alone; however, in larger organizations or organizations, they may work as part of a team committed to the company’s sustainability activities. In both circumstances, sustainability managers collaborate with other company managers and executives to improve sustainability practices. They also collaborate with external stakeholders to enhance sustainable practices wherever possible.

Also Read: Environmental Consultant: A Sustainable Career For Youngsters


  • Dr. Emily Greenfield

    Dr. Emily Greenfield is a highly accomplished environmentalist with over 30 years of experience in writing, reviewing, and publishing content on various environmental topics. Hailing from the United States, she has dedicated her career to raising awareness about environmental issues and promoting sustainable practices.

    View all posts


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