Today, the money fueling climate-change management is found in scientific research and government sponsored grants. But corporations may consider hiring climate-change managers to help them anticipate and mitigate the business impact of climate change.
When President Bush stepped-up America’s commitment to fight global warming at last week’s G-8 Summit, he also helped to legitimize climate-change management as a career possibility.
Today, the money fueling climate-change management is found in scientific research and government sponsored grants. But corporations may consider hiring specialists to help them anticipate and mitigate the business impact of climate change.
Not only is climate-change management a relatively new course of study on campuses such as UC-Berkeley, it’s also a new career path, at least in the United Kingdom. A scan of several leading U.S. job boards shows a wide range of related environmental services jobs, drawn from diverse disciplines such as meteorology, geology and engineering.
Futurists, take note: Jobs that are today lumped into the environmental-services bucket may morph into something a bit more strategic.
When it comes to environmental planning or strategies, corporations hire specialists as needed but turn to consultants for strategic advice or project management. Yet driven by successes in creating “green” energy use strategies, many corporations that consume natural resources or have business operations in climate-sensitive locations are hiring environmentally-savvy managers.
Typical entry-level academic qualifications include a B.S. or B.A. in engineering or environmental fields or a science-related graduate degree with a business emphasis, too. That last part is key. If you can mix environmental management with a business degree, you can write your own ticket. Climate problems won’t be cleared up any time soon.
While there’s no formal pedigree-setting standards body for climate-change management, as graduate schools begin to produce candidates adept in these technical areas employers – particularly environmental consultancies – will swoop in with job offers.
Companies are looking at hiring talent to set and implement strategies in these areas:
- energy (including fuel, electricity) efficiency best practices
- low carbon emissions, aka carbon management (managing and trading credits)
- smart buildings/infrastructure
- sustainable business practices
If you’re prospecting for work, bear in mind that there’s no environmental job gold rush yet. “You have to realize the way this works is where is the money coming from to do these projects?” says Dan Eastman, principal, The Eastman Group, LLP, an environmental engineering recruiting firm in Baton Rouge, La. “Since Bush went to G-8 you may start to see more stuff coming out of it. But as for industry, I don’t see those kinds of jobs yet.” At least, not in the States.
Some companies will for competitive or PR reasons get out in front of this macro-trend. A Fast Company article in February called “Degree of Difficulty,” profiled Auden Schendler, director of environmental affairs at Aspen ski resort. He came to the resort from the Rocky Mountain Institute, a renowned environmental think tank.
In America, most of the climate-change management investment is found in government-funded research, alongside corporate or academic Research & Development. This investment could be characterized as more of a lava flow than a backwater. The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) has invested almost $20 billion in the areas of climate change and global change research.
If you are the type to plan ahead, this is a career path destined for important things.
Rusty Weston, My Global Career • San Francisco, Ca • firstname.lastname@example.org • http://www.myglobalcareer.com/