President, Third I Solutions
Facilitator – Suburban Sustainable Network
A frequent question I hear with environmentally-focused individuals is ‘How do I find a green job?’
The reality is that there is a significant mismatch between the number of individuals seeking employment with firms that have a sustainable mission and the number of such firms seeking new employees.
That doesn’t mean that individuals seeking a way to make sustainability a more central part of their working hours should simply give up that ambition. Rather, the answer is to change the perspective. Instead of focusing solely on companies or organizations that have sustainability as their central mission, look to traditional companies or organizations and consider ways to bring a green point of view to the positions they are seeking to fill.
Any departmental opportunity can benefit from a green perspective:
Engineering and Product Development – Energy efficient designs, incorporation of recycled materials into the design process, or designing with disassembly in mind to make end-of-life recycling easier.
Operations – Energy efficiency within production lines, reduction of water usage, optimizing logistics and transportation to minimize fuel consumption, and lowering the company’s overall carbon footprint.
Sales and Marketing – Rethink travel plans, utilizing web conferencing, regional versus national meetings or similar alternatives to reduce the carbon impact of air travel.
IT and Facilities – Use of virtualization and blade servers to save significant amounts of energy, building management software and automation of lights, faucets and other water using appliances can save tremendous amounts of both water and energy.
Human Resources: Utilize intranets for HR communication versus printed manuals (that always seem to be out of date), create company-wide recycle programs, and encourage video interviewing of early stage employee candidates.
No matter what your role within the company, you can volunteer to be on (or create, if necessary) a green team. All areas can rethink ordinary behaviors, using recycled content paper for the copier, fax machine, manila folders, and notebooks. Everyone can be encouraged to recycle papers rather than throwing them away. Even simple acts, such as reminding people to ‘think before you print’ on email signatures can contribute to the overall effort.
Firms of all types and sizes continue to move toward a ‘triple bottom line’ that incorporates a simultaneous focus on People, Profits and the Planet. Given that shift, there will be a continuing need for individuals to fill traditional roles while bringing a green, sustainable perspective to the task.