Green Jobs- Careers in the Sustainability Ecosystem
Author: Saloni Dahanukar
The “green job market” as Wall Street calls it, is a modern day bi-product of several companies’ efforts to operate in a sustainable ecosystem. With the growing number of fashion startups investing in sustainable raw materials, such as organic cotton, bamboo, hemp and non toxic dyes, it comes with no surprise that careers in this industry are growing. We are still far from achieving the kind of sustainable business functions required to inhibit harm to our planet, but the emphasis laid on this by students, volunteers, activists, founders and green entrepreneurs alike means that there is a strong demand for a skilled “green” workforce in this field.
To understand the motivations of choosing to be associated in the green job market, I spoke to Dewika, a graduate student at New York’s Columbia university, currently pursuing her Masters of Science in Sustainability Management.
Dewika started her career in the service consulting industry. In the course of her work, she came across the immense wastage of resources prevalent in most industries.
She emphasised, “having grown up in a very environmentally conscious household, I couldn't fathom it, so I started giving my clients tips and tricks to make their business inherently sustainable” After spending some time consulting, she eventually realised that she wanted to amalgamate her two passions, business development and sustainability.
Dewika adds that choosing a career in sustainability was fascinating, as “people have no idea what it exactly means, but that is natural. The industry itself is figuring out the KPIs for sustainability jobs. On the contrary, people are intrigued and want to know more. I am hopeful that one day 'sustainability careers' will cease to exist, as all businesses will inherently built on principles of sustainable growth”
With the boom in climate awareness in the last few years, a lot of focus is given to ESG - environmental, social and corporate governance. The fashion industry in particular is leading this movement and continues to look for passionate individuals, willing to make a conscious change. More and more consumers are educating themselves about the sustainable swaps that could potentially be a game changer in how fashion is perceived. Making the switch from normal cotton, to organic cotton, or consciously choosing to shop for products like bamboo socks are consumer trends that are gaining exponential popularity. With a shift in preferences, it is obvious that employers are creating a purpose driven nature to attract individuals by opening up vacancies in this field.
That said, there are many ways to start a career in sustainability. Here are some resources you may find helpful.
A marketplace for networking, where you can find anything and everything related to the sustainability ecosystem. From connecting with sustainable entrepreneurs to matching with employers looking for talent, CO has it all.
You could call this the Linkedin for sustainability careers. It is a fashion specific job board that advertises positions from internships to senior level executives.
If you are a sustainability maniac like I am, you probably already follow them on Instagram. However, they have a dedicated feature on the website that allows you to browse across numerous fashion sustainability jobs with just a single click.
Apart from this, a few skills that you could find helpful while trying to land a role in sustainability could include:
- Always staying on top of trends! Social Media is your best friend.
- Following activities of sustainability focused thought leaders. This is a good way to have a finger on the pulse in the industry. (You can follow One Less, a sustainable fashion and lifestyle brand here)
- Gaining field experience by volunteering for pop ups, attending networking events or freelancing
- Asking Questions! Probably the single most important of them all. Who knows, you could pave the way for a potential employer to create an opportunity based on your vision.
Though it may not seem like a straightforward career path now, research proves that sustainability careers are set to be the next big phenomenon and a surge in green talent is the only way forward.
So if you are Fashion’s class of 2022, it’s only uphill from here!