06 Nov 2023

The common tasks of sustainability professionals: Shaping a greener future


This blog post has been produced for the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce as part of the 2023 Sustainable Business Series. The Sustainable Business Series seeks to help local firms understand the role that they play in progressing to net zero, as well as the opportunities and challenges that may arise from the net-zero transition. Through an expansive range of blogs, webinars, events and Q&A’s, the Sustainable Business Series offers useful information to businesses interested in adopting a sustainable business approach. Click here to register for Sustainable Business Series events and webinars.

In our work with businesses, we emphasise the importance of recruiting the right Sustainability Manager to spearhead your organisation's sustainability initiatives.

From initiating change at the grassroots level to driving high-level corporate strategy, the Sustainability Manager’s expertise is wide ranging. In this blog post, we'll explore the most common tasks and responsibilities for this modern profession.

  1. Developing Sustainability and Mitigation Strategies

At the heart of a sustainability professional's role is crafting and implementing long-term sustainability plans aligned to the organisation's goals and values. These strategies encompass environmental, social, and economic factors, setting the course for a sustainable future.

Environmental Impact Assessments of the organisation's environmental footprint identify areas for improvement and recommend strategies to reduce resource consumption and waste.

Risk Assessments highlight potential environmental and social risks and help protect the organisation's reputation and operations. Sustainability professionals develop mitigation strategies to address these risks.

  1. Regulatory Compliance

Staying up-to-date with ever-evolving environmental laws and regulations is paramount. Sustainability professionals ensure that their organisations comply with relevant standards and guidelines, mitigating legal and reputational risks.

Part of Compliance is Innovation and Research: Staying informed about emerging sustainability trends, technologies, and best practices to continuously improve the organization's approach.

  1. Data Collection and Analysis:

They gather data on energy usage, greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, and other key metrics. This data informs decision-making, tracks progress, and supports transparency in sustainability reporting. Sustainability Audits: Conducting audits is part of their responsibility to assess the effectiveness of sustainability programs, identify gaps, and recommend improvements. Reporting: Sustainability Managers compile and publish sustainability reports that communicate the organisation's performance, goals, and achievements to internal and external audiences, fostering transparency and accountability.

  1. Implementations

Energy Efficiency: Implementing energy-saving initiatives and advocating for the use of renewable energy sources reduces an organisation's carbon footprint, aligning with sustainability goals. Waste Reduction: Developing waste management strategies minimises waste generation, increases recycling rates, and promotes circular economy principles, reducing environmental impact. Eco-Friendly Initiatives: Initiating and supporting projects such as sustainable transportation options, green building certifications, and eco-friendly product development.

  1. Stakeholder Engagement

Collaboration with internal and external stakeholders is a cornerstone of sustainability. Sustainability professionals engage with employees, customers, suppliers, and community groups to build support for sustainability initiatives. Supply Chain Management: Working with suppliers to ensure sustainable and ethical sourcing practices. Community Outreach: Engaging with local communities to support sustainability efforts, promote environmental education, and contribute to social responsibility initiatives. Employee Training: Educating employees about sustainability practices, fostering a culture of awareness and responsibility throughout the organisation.

In conclusion, sustainability professionals are the driving force behind positive environmental, social, and economic change within organisations. Their diverse tasks and responsibilities collectively contribute to shaping a greener, more sustainable future for us all.

Our Commitment to Your Sustainability Success:

At Worksmiths, we developed checklists and processes that help you with definition and scope of the sustainability role needed in your organisation. Our experienced consultants will guide you through the process of team vision, role definition and candidate selection criteria, ensuring that your Sustainability Manager becomes an essential driver of your sustainability success.

Beate Pesian
Director, Worksmith Ltd

Related topics