Sustainability analysts play a vital role in organisations by helping them to become more socially and environmentally responsible as a primary objective while also helping companies adapt to a rapidly changing world and remain profitable.
As a sustainability analyst, you will assess and evaluate your organisation’s impact on the environment and society and suggest and implement changes where necessary. It is a crucial role that is becoming increasingly popular as more institutions and businesses are adopting sustainable practices and making responsible decisions.
As a sustainability analyst, you will:
- Collect and analyse data related to the economic, social, and environmental performance of an organisation.
- Monitor greenhouse emissions, energy consumption, water usage, waste generation and other metrics.
- Prepare sustainability reports for investors, stakeholders, and members of the public.
- Track progress towards the sustainability goals of an organisation.
- Identify areas and opportunities for improvement and propose more sustainable practices to improve social and environmental performance.
- Involve stakeholders (internal and external) with sustainability initiatives.
- Build partnerships with stakeholders and garner support for future sustainability projects.
- Ensure organisations are compliant with regulations and sustainability standards.
- Liaise with different departments within an organisation to design and implement sustainable strategies for the business.
- Carry out risk assessments by anticipating potential social and environmental risks that could harm the reputation or bottom line of an organisation.
- Research the latest environmental policies and relevant developments in sustainability.
- The starting salary of a graduate, junior or assistant sustainability analyst is £18,000 – £25,000.
- The average salary of a sustainability analyst is £29,162 – £41,551 – depending on the company’s location and size.
- Experienced and senior-level sustainability analysts can earn over £60,000 per year; sustainability managers and those in leadership roles can earn over £100,000 per year.
Most sustainability analysts work 35–40-hour weeks; however, hours may vary depending on the urgency of sustainability initiatives or projects.
In the corporate sector, working hours will be steadier, whereas analysts working in consultancy roles can expect more sporadic working hours, involving fluctuations in work during busy periods.
What to Expect
- During busy periods or on the run-up to report deadlines, overtime may be necessary.
- Local, national, and international travel may be required to carry out field assessments, meet with stakeholders, and complete audits.
- Flexible working arrangements can be made available to the right candidates.
- Seasonal variations may influence your working hours if you are working on a consultancy basis.
- The work can be stressful and challenging due to deadlines and pressure from stakeholders. However, it is meaningful work that will bring a great sense of satisfaction when you can implement positive changes that benefit the environment.
- Continuous learning is a requirement of the role.
For entry-level sustainability analyst positions, the minimum educational requirement is a bachelor’s degree, preferably in the following fields:
- Environmental studies
- Environmental science
- Sustainability/Sustainability Management
- Environmental engineering
For specialised roles, a postgraduate degree may be required, alongside relevant work experience. With the ever-growing field of sustainability, employers are starting to have more specific preferences in their candidate criteria.
To be a successful sustainability analyst, you will need:
- A passion for environmental sustainability.
- The dedication to keep learning throughout your career to stay up to date with new sustainability technology, standards, and policy.
- The confidence to champion your own ideas.
- Excellent time-keeping skills to complete reports on time.
- Interpersonal communication skills that allow you to engage and charm stakeholders and work with professionals from a variety of fields.
- Excellent data analysis and problem-solving skills.
- An eye for detail and a mind for innovative, creative, and lateral thinking.
- The ability to prioritise tasks.
- Technical skills which enable proficiency with data visualisation tools and sustainability management software, such as Geographic Information Systems.
- Understanding of sustainability concepts, greenhouse reporting protocols, and energy efficiency practices.
To be successful as an entry-level sustainability analyst candidate, in addition to a relevant educational background, ideally, you will need work experience on your CV which exhibits your sustainability knowledge, analytical skills, technical skills, proficiency in project management and experience in working with environmental policies and regulations.
Voluntary work in environmentalism on your CV will also demonstrate your passion for sustainability. Whether you are cleaning up beaches in your spare time or working with a wildlife trust to conserve wildlife, clocking up hours as a volunteer will give you an advantage in the competitive job market.
After gaining experience in the field, you can advance into senior, management or leadership roles, which come with more responsibility and far higher salaries. In a management or leadership role, you will oversee the sustainability policies and strategies for the entire organisation.
While some sustainability analysts choose to follow the employment route, others widen their network of industry contacts before working on a self-employed consultancy basis.
Alternatively, you could become an environmental manager, a corporate social responsibility manager, a supply chain sustainability specialist, an environmental policy analyst, a green building consultant, or an environmental compliance specialist. Other sustainability analysts move into a career in academia and research.
The number of employers in the sustainability field is only expected to grow in the coming years. However, there are already many environmental analyst recruiters including corporate businesses, government organisations, sustainability-focused NGOs, educational institutions, property development firms, technology companies, the tourism industry, and the fashion industry.
Look for job vacancies on company websites, within sustainability and environmental organisations, at sustainability conferences and other events, via recruitment agencies or on websites such as Green Jobs and Environment Job.
The MSc Sustainable Technology and Management degree taught at the UWS London campus is a 1-year degree which focuses on the sustainability needs of the manufacturing and services sectors. Even if you aren’t looking to enter these fields, you will learn the operational and strategic challenges faced by businesses trying to go green by working in line with environmental policy and best practices. After graduating, you will be best placed to help organisations to achieve their net-zero targets. Many graduates have gone on to secure sustainable analyst and sustainable project manager roles.