Wanted Trained Sustainbility Professionals? Here's A Hack !
World leaders, scientists, and transnational organizations like the United Nations agree it's time for a change.
Without it, we will soon be heading to a dangerous period of history plagued by extreme weather conditions, widening wealth disparity, as well as local and global conflicts.
Thankfully, plans are already in place. More importantly, they are being implemented at local, national, and international levels. Many of these plans come under the umbrella of sustainable development - humanity's best chance of forging a better future. Here's a closer look at sustainable development and why you should consider studying it.
What Is Sustainability?
Sustainability means meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In addition to natural resources, we also need social and economic resources. Sustainability is not just environmentalism. Embedded in most definitions of sustainability we also find concerns for social equity and economic development.
Where Does The Term Come From?
While the concept of sustainability is a relatively new idea, the movement as a whole has roots in social justice, conservationism, internationalism, and other past movements with rich histories. By the end of the twentieth century, many of these ideas had come together in the call for ‘sustainable development.’
Sustainable development requires an integrated approach that takes into consideration environmental concerns along with economic development. In 1987, the United Nations Brundtland Commission defined sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Today, there are almost 140 developing countries in the world seeking ways of meeting their development needs, but with the increasing threat of climate change, concrete efforts must be made to ensure development today does not negatively affect future generations.
Importance Of Sustainability Studies
Sustainability studies focus on the interdisciplinary perspective of the concept of Sustainability. Programs include instruction in sustainable development, geography, environmental policies, ethics, ecology, landscape architecture, city and regional planning, economics, natural resources, sociology, and anthropology. Sustainability studies also focus on the importance of climate change, poverty, and development. Many universities across the United States currently offer sustainability studies. The main goal of sustainability studies is for students to find ways to develop creative solutions to the problems in environmental sustainability.
Why should you study sustainable development? The sustainable development sector is a rapidly growing area full of new opportunities and career paths. Experts anticipate a $600 billion investment into sustainable infrastructure projects over the next 10 years in the UK. Moreover, the UK government has already unveiled a ten-point plan to launch a Green Industrial Revolution. The $18 billion initiative will build renewable energy plants, develop carbon capture technology, and fund public education programs.
This is expected to create over 250,000 new jobs within five years. Similar things are also happening across the rest of Europe, Africa, Asia, and the USA. The Biden Administration's ambitious infrastructure bill includes creating 10 million well-paying jobs in the green energy sector. These jobs could include exciting new roles like sustainability consultant, clean car engineer, environmental scientist, wave producer, or even urban farmer.
Studying Sustainable Development
Undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in sustainability studies empower students with the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values we need to build a sustainable future. Students at the University of Plymouth, for instance, learn about the causes and effects of climate change, food, and farming, biodiversity, ecological systems, how different economic systems can promote or negatively impact sustainability, sustainable tourism, consumerism and trade, and corporate social responsibility.
At the same time, students interested in the social goals of the UN's 17 SDGs can elect to study topics such as human rights, cultural diversity, and intercultural understanding. But sustainability is not just an academic exercise. The University of Plymouth has a dedicated Environment and Sustainability Forum (ESF). It's a weekly get-together where students, staff, and lecturers discuss ideas and launch new environmental campaigns. There's also a weekly beekeeping inspection group and several other societies that collect litter from local greenspaces.
They also help plant more trees. Alternatively, students can become part of the School's Future Leaders Programmes. Open to any student with a passion for sustainability, the Future Leaders Programme is an opportunity for young people to develop their vision and ideas into projects on and beyond the university campus. For example, Peter Redstone, one of Plymouth’s Future Leaders, set up an on-campus gardening group where staff and students grow their own food and learn about making sustainable lifestyle choices. Programs such as Future Leaders are in no way exclusive to the University of Plymouth or UK higher education.
Schools all around the world have made a serious commitment to educating society about the urgent need for new ways of living and doing business. So wherever you decide to study sustainable development, you will have plenty of chances to make a real impact.
Aligned Courses in Sustainability Studies
A) MSc Environmental Science
Master of Science in Environmental Science or MSc Environmental Science is a 2-year full-time PG course, in which a student may take a specialization in many different areas such as Chemistry, Engineering, Biology Conservation, and Ecology.
The different aligned courses are
Sustainability Science (MSc)
Corporate Sustainability and Environmental Management (MSc)
Environmental Economics and Environmental Management (MSc)
Environmental Science and Management (MSc)
Environmental Sustainability Education and Communication (MSc)
B) MA Development Studies
MA in Development Studies is a postgraduation program that is designed to help students gain a deep understanding of Sociology, Political Science, and other allied subjects like Economics and Geography. Running for a period of 1-2 years, it lays emphasis on the political institutions, civil society, and other aspects of public policies that are invariably related to developing countries. As a student, you will be able to gather insight into a chosen community and will learn how to overcome impediments and create a sustainable community.
C) MBA Business Sustainability
The traditional MBA degree (Master in Business Administration) requires coursework and another study of business from a primarily financial standpoint, with some attention to the management of people, conventional economic theory, and to business ethics. A sustainable MBA program includes these subjects, and also the study of managing environmental and social sustainability. These programs are sometimes called "green MBAs".
ESG & Sustainability Certifications You Should Look In An Employee
• GRI Professional Certification Program
The program is comprised of four courses:
Introduction to sustainability reporting and the GRI Standards 2021 update
Reporting with GRI Standards 2021 update
Reporting on Human Rights with GRI Standards 2021 update
Integrating the SDGs into sustainability reporting and a final certification exam
By completing the courses and the exam, you will obtain the ‘GRI Certified Sustainability Professional’ status, which is valid for two years. Your certification can be renewed by earning Continuing Education Units (CEUs), awarded when you complete additional training courses.
• CFA ESG Investing
The CFA Institute Certificate in ESG Investing gives you the knowledge you need to manage investments with a focus on integrating environmental, social, and governance factors. It can help you gain an edge in a fast-moving market.
The Certificate is a self-study course requiring approximately 130 hours of study, culminating in a two-hour, 20-minute computer-based exam comprising 100 questions at a proctored testing center or via online proctored testing, where available and/or permissible by local regulation.
Candidates have one year to sit the exam after registration, and there are no formal entry requirements. On successful completion of the exam, candidates will be awarded a certificate. The cost, which covers the exam and online learning, is $675 and candidates can claim 20 CE credits upon passing the exam.
• GARP SCR
As the leading professional association for risk managers, GARP developed the SCR program to prepare candidates for sustainability and climate risk challenges.
Professionals who complete this certificate will:
Gain the knowledge to become climate risk leaders
Obtain the skills to advance effective change
Be able to lead their organization's incorporation of sustainability standards
• SASB FSA
The Fundamentals of Sustainability Accounting (FSA) Credential equips professionals with the knowledge and skills to understand the link between financially material sustainability information and a company’s ability to drive enterprise value.
The FSA Credential combines two exams to assess professional expertise in the materiality of sustainability information for corporate performance and investment analysis. After passing Level I, candidates are identified as an “FSA Level II Candidate.” After passing Level II, candidates become an “FSA Credential Holder.”
Some other certifications include CC-P Candidate Pilot Program, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design(LEED), Certified Energy Manager(CEM), Life Cycle Assessment Certified Professional (LCACP).
We are at the start of a new era in organizational management. It is as profound a change as mass production, generally accepted accounting practices, real-time computerized performance metrics, and the emergence of the global economy. We are seeing the start of the sustainably-managed organization. It will be led by a new generation of sustainability professionals: recent graduates and more students entering sustainability education programs than ever before.
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