7 Sustainability Careers with Financial Rewards

By Arsalan Ahmed

Sustainability has always been the ultimate pursuit of happiness. However, most professionals who opt for a career in sustainability do so because they value the importance of preserving our environment over the amount of money they are getting in return.

The gesture to help people and the community at large is indeed praiseworthy, but the fact is that one’s own sustainability is of equal importance, especially when there are educational liabilities after graduation to clear or a family tagging along or a large amount of student loan debt.

While entry-level jobs in sustainability may not be as lucrative, the good news is that the pay scale gets better as one goes up the ladder. Generally sustainability jobs in the sciences and management pay higher than those in social sciences and humanities. Here are seven careers in sustainability that pay more than just well.

1. Chief sustainability executives

Chief, vice-president, director – the titles generally vary, but these guys fill the top sustainability position in a corporation and rake an average salary of about $166,000 per year. They are responsible for envisioning, expanding and implementing sustainability creativities within the organization. They obviously have immense power as the buck generally stops with them when it comes to deciding how sustainability is practiced and enforced within a company.

2. Natural science managers

As the job title suggests, natural science managers are both scientists and managers who coordinate teams of scientists and researchers working collectively on sustainability projects. For instance, if there are many people, such as a chemist, an atmospheric scientist, and an environmentalist, working on one bi project, the natural science manager will overlook all of the three – and other team members included. And like most sustainability executives, science managers too earn in the six figures with an average of $114,000 per year.

3. Operations managers

Also known as general managers, operations managers bring the ideas, tone and directions of the chief sustainability executive to life in the everyday operations, processes and services of an organization.

The general manager’s responsibilities include things like waste minimization, recycling, pollution prevention, and keeping a track of financials, energy efficiency and conservation. On an average, general managers are paid $95,000 per year, however in some organizations they too are paid in the six-figure bracket.

4. Chemical engineers

These engineers who are paid just about as well as general managers ($92,000 per annum) working within the sustainability industry are actually responsible for making chemical processes more environmental friendly and sustainable. Chemical engineers engineer chemicals that are biodegradable, and those that reduce pollution and waste hazards associated with processes dependent on the use of chemicals.

5. Atmospheric scientists

Atmospheric scientists generally rake in $89,000 per year. Yet their job is key to determining the sustainability of the global ecosystem. Atmospheric scientists study the effects of chemical and industrial processes on the air we breathe, and also the impact of air pollution on the climate and organisms. They are also responsible for coming up with ways to reduce the amount of air pollution.

6. Environmental engineers

Environmental engineers are paid $79,000 per year which still beats a number of high-earning jobs in the healthcare industry. Environmental engineers come up with biological and chemical solutions to a number of environmental problems including water and air pollution control, recycling, safe pest management, waste and sewage disposal, and public health issues. Other areas of focus for an environmental engineer could include developing new processes that turn waste into usable products.

7. Health and safety engineers

Health and safety engineers typically earn $75,000 a year and are responsible for designing processes and systems that help to ensure the safety of people working within a controlled organizational or non-organizational environment. They focus on the work-related safety and health of employees, air and water control, machine inspections among a number of other things.

Arsalan Ahmed is a passionate blogger who loves to write on Finance and Student Career Building related topics.