Sustainability Officer

Job Description:

Communicate and coordinate with management, shareholders, customers, and employees to address sustainability issues.

Job Category:
Professional Services

What you will do:

Your day-to-day will include tasks such as:

  • Direct sustainability program operations to ensure compliance with environmental or governmental regulations.
  • Evaluate and approve proposals for sustainability projects, considering factors such as cost-effectiveness, technical feasibility, and integration with other initiatives.
  • Research environmental sustainability issues, concerns, or stakeholder interests.
  • Develop, or oversee the development of, sustainability evaluation or monitoring systems.
  • Develop, or oversee the development of, marketing or outreach media for sustainability projects or events.
  • Create and maintain sustainability program documents, such as schedules and budgets.
  • Monitor and evaluate effectiveness of sustainability programs.
  • Identify and evaluate pilot projects or programs to enhance the sustainability research agenda.
  • Write and distribute financial or environmental impact reports.


You’ll need:

  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

As well as:

  • the ability to use your initiative (drive)
  • leadership skills
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things (creative skills)
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • business management skills
  • persistence and determination
  • customer service skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Sustainability Officer, it’s important to have a well-rounded education that includes a strong foundation in environmental sciences, sustainability principles, and relevant skills. While there are no specific subjects required to become a Sustainability Officer, here are suggested subjects that can help you prepare for a career in sustainability:

  1. Science: Taking core science subjects like Biology, Chemistry, or Environmental Science will provide you with a foundational understanding of ecological systems, environmental issues, and the scientific principles underpinning sustainability.
  2. Mathematics: Mathematics is essential for data analysis and making informed decisions in sustainability-related roles.
  3. Geography: Geography can deepen your understanding of environmental systems, climate change, and geographical data analysis, which are highly relevant to sustainability work.
  4. Business Studies or Economics: Sustainability often involves managing resources, reducing waste, and achieving financial efficiency. Business Studies or Economics can provide you with a background in these areas.
  5. Environmental Studies: If available, consider courses in Environmental Studies or Sustainability. These subjects directly focus on the principles and challenges of sustainability.
  6. English: Strong communication skills are important in sustainability roles, as you will need to convey complex information and ideas clearly to diverse audiences.
  7. ICT (Information and Communication Technology): Proficiency in using technology, data analysis, and sustainability software is valuable in this field.
  8. Social Sciences: Understanding societal impacts and behaviors related to sustainability is crucial. Subjects like Sociology and Psychology can be useful for this aspect.
  9. Design and Technology: Courses in design and technology can provide you with practical skills in implementing sustainable design and solutions.

Post School

Although you don’t always need a foundation degree, HND or degree, it might give you an advantage over other applicants. A degree in one of the following subjects may be particularly useful:

  • biology
  • building and construction management
  • business and management studies
  • civil engineering
  • environmental science
  • estate management
  • geography
  • geology
  • urban planning

Sustainability officers come from a range of backgrounds, including environmental, built environment, construction and business-based careers.

Flexibility is important when getting your first job and you may need to get experience in a relevant area of work before moving in to a sustainability officer role. Many start their careers as environmental impact assessors and there are a number of graduate schemes available for both roles.

Postgraduate courses around energy, sustainability and environment management may improve your chances.

In the UK, student or graduate membership of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA), the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) or an equivalent professional organisation could be beneficial.

Working Hours and Environment:

Working hours are typically Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.30pm. However, you’ll be expected to work extra hours when project deadlines approach.

Career Path & Progression:

With enough experience, you might progress to a sustainability manager or chief sustainability officer role.