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What is a Sustainability Coordinator?
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Blog...What is a Sustainability Coordinator?

What is a Sustainability Coordinator?

Business
ESG
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In this article, we’ll explore what it means to be a sustainability coordinator, the skills and education required to become a sustainability coordinator, and the benefits of this role for your company and the planet.
Business
2023-10-17T00:00:00.000Z
en-gb
young woman blonde hair glasses on phone near plant with laptop

The job market is changing alongside climate change, with a newfound wide array of green jobs available for graduating Gen Z students – with one of those many options being to become a sustainability coordinator. 

It can be difficult to choose between becoming an ESG manager, DEI officer, or a sustainability coordinator when all of the roles remain eerily similar in their main mission.

How is a sustainability coordinator different and worthwhile in comparison to other climate jobs? 

In this article, we’ll explore what it means to be a sustainability coordinator, the skills and education required to become a sustainability coordinator, and the benefits of this role for your company and the planet.

What is the profession of a sustainability coordinator?

A sustainability coordinator is someone within an organization responsible for overseeing, implementing and encouraging the improvement of various sustainability policies in order to benefit energy, economic, environmental, and social sustainability both within and outside the company. 

In a sense, a sustainability coordinator is similar to being a part of the PTA board, or the parent-teacher association at your child’s school – as a sustainability coordinator is in charge of raising awareness and concern on issues that could have an impact on the efficiency of a business.
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In order to ensure the most effective policies are being put into place, sustainability coordinators work closely with their colleagues, customers, suppliers, and even members in their community to curate the most suitable policies that will work for everyone involved. 

As a result, many sustainability coordinators work a traditional desk jobs – often subject to analyzing data and creating new sustainability strategies to subsequently share with stakeholders and other leaders of the business. However, some sustainability coordinators may work on site – such as on an agricultural field or traveling to manage sustainability projects elsewhere.  

In addition to this, a sustainability coordinator often interacts with various teams within their organization, such as marketing and finance, to ensure sufficient communication. 

👉 Young graduates who are interested in overseeing sustainable practices, enjoy leadership roles, and demonstrate excellent communication skills may be well-suited to become a sustainability coordinator.

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Why is a sustainability coordinator important?

There are multiple reasons why a sustainability coordinator is becoming more essential than optional in the midst of climate change.

Think of a party planner: they are responsible for hiring a band, photographer, organizing a caterer, finding a venue – and much more. Frankly, a party would be stressful to arrange without the help of the party coordinator – and the same goes for trying to implement sustainability tactics without a sustainability coordinator. It’s much easier to incorporate these initiatives with knowledgeable expertise and experienced individuals.

Here are a few reasons why a sustainability coordinator is turning into an indispensable role:

  • Need for Greater Environmental Responsibility: Climate change is taking the world by storm, and not in a good way – with numerous natural disasters costing company’s their business or making it very difficult to recover. A sustainability coordinator can help companies to ensure they are doing everything in their power to meet the new suggested or required protocols under climate change – such as to reduce water usage or energy consumption.
  • New Environmental Regulations: Several new environmental regulations are on the rise, such as the CSRD and the SEC Climate Disclosure Rule – both of which will require more transparency and consistent reporting on behalf of companies required to comply. Therefore, a sustainability coordinator could prove useful in helping to prepare these reports and ensure the company adheres to all requirements. In addition to this, they could help to prevent legal issues or damage to the company’s brand image – saving the company money in the process. 
  • Improved Stakeholder Engagement: Seeing as stakeholder engagement could prove challenging and detrimental for businesses that do not get it under control, a sustainability coordinator could help to ease this vital problem by encouraging greater communication between all stakeholders – such as employees, investors, customers, and even the surrounding community. 
  • Development of Viable Long-Term Business: Regardless of the size or sector of your company, business regulations and requirements are rapidly changing in the midst of climate change – but a sustainability coordinator could help to ensure your company is always up-to-date on these changing factors.

👉 A sustainability coordinator may have seemed like a luxury add-on for your company 20 years ago, but in today’s rapidly changing world – it may prove more of a compulsory than optional role seeing how many climate-change related factors could result in the demise of your business.

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What are the main roles of a sustainability coordinator?

A day in the life of a sustainability coordinator is bound to look different depending on what kind of company they choose to work for and the goals the organization wishes to achieve. 

A sustainability coordinator can be a flexible job, as it can offer traditional work office environments or on-field assignments.

However, most sustainability coordinators share similar tasks – such as:

  • Creating, implementing, and maintaining a plan to ensure sustainability initiatives are properly implemented;
  • Communicating with other departments and stakeholders to verify that all the current protocols meet everyone’s needs;
  • Monitoring and analyzing data to help develop new sustainability initiatives in the future; 
  • Engaging in further research to help curate the best practices for the company; 
  • Encouraging the development of novel products or services that could help the company adhere to current or future environmental standards;
  • Regularly reviewing the company’s current operations to enhance sustainability in the future;
  • Working directly with project managers to ensure that a project is being planned and executed with sustainability in mind;
  • Support sustainability efforts within the company through the use of excellent communication skills;
  • Sharing imperative information with relevant communities and organizations.
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👉 Did you know that the role of a sustainability coordinator is expected to grow a whopping 15% until 2030 – demonstrating how getting a head start on a viable career like this could prove beneficial in the long run.

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What are the benefits of hiring a sustainability coordinator?

Hiring a sustainability coordinator for your organization isn’t only becoming imperative, but it could allow for additional benefits – many of which help to promote sustainability as well. 

Here are just a few of the reasons why a sustainability coordinator can prove useful beyond necessity for your company: 

  • Cost Savings: Multiple sustainability protocols such as reducing energy consumption or implementing the use of renewable energy inevitably leads to improved energy efficiency, and ultimately – lower utility bills. 
  • Better Brand Reputation: These days, customers and employees want to take part in companies dedicated towards environmental reform – and a sustainability coordinator can help to make sure that all of those involved in the business put their best foot forward to illustrate unwavering commitment to protecting the planet. 
  • Improved Employee Productivity: Studies show that employees are more productive when they work for green companies, and one surefire way to ensure your business is headed towards that title is to hire a sustainability coordinator – as they can help to promote sustainable practices within the workplace and across the organization.
  • New Ideas & Competitive Edge: Sustainability isn’t only good for the planet, but for the imagination – as it can often allow for novel ideas to be applied for future products and services that would have otherwise never come to fruition. This can lead to an increase in business revenue as well, as oftentimes – these new products can lure in customers and investors. Lastly, continued creativity allows for constant improvements – as it promotes “outside-the-box” thinking that can lead to breakthroughs if a problem is to occur in the future. 
  • Helps the Surrounding Community: It isn’t just businesses who are plagued by the negative impacts of sustainability, but the surrounding areas where the business takes place. Therefore, a sustainability coordinator can help to ensure the local community feels safe and supported with the initiatives implemented in the business to help protect the environment and society. 
  • Greater Ethical Standards: A sustainability coordinator is surefire to consider the importance of sustainable tactics such as ethical sourcing, which will ultimately help the company to further demonstrate their commitment to the environment and social responsibility.
One of the greatest aspects to hiring a sustainability coordinator is that it can help multiple aspects of the business – seeing as it will benefit employees, customers, community members, the environment, and the company all at the same time.

👉 Ultimately, a sustainability coordinator could be exponentially beneficial for companies looking to improve their environmental and social standards – and simultaneously help to reduce emissions and business costs. 

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How can you become a sustainability coordinator?

If a career as a sustainability coordinator sounds like the right profession for you, we have all the tips you need to prepare for a successful career in sustainability.

A sustainability coordinator typically needs the following qualifications:

Education

A sustainability coordinator will often need a bachelor’s degree in order to apply for a job – such as a degree in sustainability, environmental studies, or other related fields. Sometimes, aspiring sustainability coordinators seek a master's degree – but it isn’t required.

Strong IT skills, communication, math, and proficiency in English will be more paramount than a masters degree in environmental science – as these skills are essential to become a successful sustainability coordinator.

Training & Experience

As a sustainability coordinator, training is usually given once a role is assigned – as training is often specific to the company’s mission and personally-tailored goals. Therefore, it is best to familiarise yourself with the company you wish to work for and seek internships in other sustainability roles prior to the start of your career.  

Other Skills & Certifications

Additional certifications are not usually compulsory for an aspiring sustainability coordinator, but they can often prove beneficial as it allows for the prospect sustainability coordinator to gain extensive knowledge that may not be received while seeking a degree. An example of a potentially beneficial certification includes a LEED accreditation or other professional sustainability certifications.

👉 In addition to receiving certifications, there are skills that will be necessary to ensure a viable career as a sustainability coordinator.

Some of the various skills that prove paramount for someone looking to become a successful sustainability coordinator include:

  • Time Management seeing as a sustainability coordinator will be responsible to work on multiple tasks at the same time;
  • Organizational Skills due to the fact a sustainability coordinator will be required to communicate with multiple stakeholders at various times;
  • Good Communication so that a sustainability coordinator is personal yet professional when speaking with employees, investors, and customers;
  • Good Research Skills as a sustainability coordinator will be required to read the latest news and environmental regulations to curate their sustainability initiatives to be implemented.

Overall, a sustainability coordinator is likely to grow in demand as we inch towards global reform towards environmental management – making this a great job for those interested in protecting people and the planet from the effects of climate change.

What about Greenly? 

If reading this article about what a sustainability coordinator is has made you interested in reducing your carbon emissions to further fight against climate change – Greenly can help you!

It can be difficult to understand if  to help your company succeed in its climate goals, but don’t worry – Greenly is here to help! Click here to book a demo and get personalised expertise on how you can start to reduce your own emissions and decrease your environmental impact.

Greenly can help you make an environmental change for the better, starting with a carbon footprint assessment to know how much carbon emissions your company produces.

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