10 ways to a greener career

How to build your career and save the environment at the same time

Not everyone with a passion for the environment will be in a position to lay down in front of the bulldozers to prevent an ancient woodland being destroyed! So to manage your environmental impact during your career what can you do?

Before you continue reading, find out about the events that we are organising in Careers as part of Green Festival this year to help you explore different career options:

Explore Careers Working with Animals | 12 Nov | Book now

Explore Green Careers | 14 November | Book now

  1. Choose a ‘green collar job’.

Green jobs help reduce the consumption of energy and raw materials, limit greenhouse gas emissions, minimise waste and pollution or protect and re-establish ecosystems. Jobs options might include Sustainability Consultant, Ecologist, Political Lobbyist, Charity Fundraiser or a Waste Management Officer, but there are many more options you can choose from. IEMA provide a great list of green jobs.

  1. Work for a green employer.

Before you sign on the dotted line, consider whether your employer has the green halo you seek.

  • What does their Corporate and Social Responsibility report say?
  • Are they in the Global 500 Newsweek Green Rankings?
  • Have they met a green standard such as the ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standard?
  • Have they had any CSR Awards?

But don’t underestimate how important it can be to talk to employees about how far this commitment is really genuine!

  1. Make massive polluters change their ways!

Sometimes heading for an organisation that is doing everything right in terms of sustainability may not provide you with the challenge you seek. If so, why not consider working as a political lobbyist or in a Government Department like DEFRA to get legislation changed, an environmental charity to raise money for the cause, or work for a regulator such as The Environment Agency? Alternatively, you could research who the biggest polluters are and work for them instead and persuade them to change!

  1. Do research.

If you are studying a relevant degree then pursuing a masters and then a PhD to access research careers could prove influential. Head to Find a Masters or Find a PhD to discover more.

  1. Be green at work as well as at home.

When we head out to work we can often leave our green habits at home. Any employee can: turn the heating down (wear an extra layer), turn the lights off when you leave a room, shut doors, avoid printing too much, avoid single-use plastic etc. Head to My climate to calculate your carbon footprint.

  1. Purchasing power.

Once in your influential job, you will often make purchases. Of course, it will be important to avoid purchasing waste producing products such as single-use plastics for example, but you may also want to make sure your company is purchasing products from organisations with great sustainability credentials.

  1. Tech not travel.

The idea of having a meeting in sunnier climes than the UK can be extremely tempting, but can it be resolved via Skype or teleconference? Imagine the air pollution you could avoid…

  1. Green lunch?

Remember to think about the extra waste involved in the production, delivery, sales and packaging of your lunchtime sarnie. While you’re there, you might want to avoid eating food products that enhance greenhouse emissions or destroy the environment or eco-systems and get into the habit of using reusable plates, cutlery, napkins and drinks containers.

  1. Getting to work.

How will you travel to work? On yer bike! Or better off, work from home!

  1. Be aware of the true environmental cost of your business decisions.

Sustainability is very complex. If taken seriously, you or your organisation will have checked out in detail all the suppliers and their supply chain. If not you could campaign for your organisation to do so!

So whether you take up a green job or just aim for a green life, everyone can have a greener career!

Permanent link to this article: https://blogs.reading.ac.uk/careers/10-ways-to-a-greener-career/