What do you mean you don’t have a Sustainability Manager?

Although sustainability is not a new idea, and has been a political buzzword for quite some time, it has recently made its way into the hearts and minds of the general public. The Sustainability evolution, which was once considered a futuristic concept, is at our doorstep. Thus, Sustainability Managers are becoming an upward trending position in many organizations today, and will continue to be highly sought after for the long term, especially as businesses realize that sustainability and economic growth are not mutually exclusive.


Sustainability Manager, an upward trending position

In fact, sustainability has been on the mind of corporate executives for a while now, as this article from The Huffington Post demonstrates. The article is centered on a study conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management that measured the responses of global executives, in regard to questions about sustainability initiatives over a three-year period.

In it they found:

  • 68% of respondents said their organizations increased their commitment to sustainability in the past year. That’s a dramatic increase from 2009, when only 25 percent of respondents could make that claim (Brokaw, 2011).
  • 67% said that sustainability strategies are necessary to be competitive. That’s a 12 percent increase from last year (Brokaw, 2011).

Today, cities and towns, school districts, utility districts, colleges and universities, federal government agencies, military bases, and larger corporations are all demanding fields in sustainability and sustainability managers to meet the increasing need to reduce consumption and meet federal standards.


It’s good business

For one, it’s just good business. UL Environment offers its own data:

  • 87% of global consumers consider a company’s social and environmental commitment before making the decisions to use its products and/or services.
  • 44% of business executives agree sustainability is a source of innovation.
  • 39% see it as a source of new business opportunities.


What is a Sustainability Manager?

Let’s start with a definition: What is a sustainability manager and what are his or her responsibilities?

Sustainability professionals help companies conserve resources when it comes to energy consumption, financial decisions, and in some cases, increasing the bottom line by winning consumer approval through these practices and improve efficiency; create new, more environmentally and socially responsible technologies or services; educate stakeholders about environmental and social issues and engage them in planning and programming accordingly and more.

Regardless of job title, the work of all sustainability professionals focuses on the intersection of environment, economics and social and cultural issues: what’s referred to in the business world as the “triple bottom line” of people, profits and planet.


Top 3 objectives

A sustainability manager has three main objectives:

1- Education: To help maintain the existing and facilitate new sustainability initiatives by integrating a culture of corporate responsibility and attention to the environment from the ground up. This means from the receptionist to the CEO. Google, of course, leads the way in this department. As an article from the University of San Francisco reports, through initiatives such as powering its facilities with renewable energy sources, bringing in goats to trim the grass, and hosting farmer’s markets and sustainable-cooking seminars, Google has established an environmentally aware corporate culture and solidified its reputation as one of the world’s most forward-thinking companies.

2- Efficiency: To audit current trends and make recommendations on how a company and employees can reduce energy consumption and be more sustainable by using current technologies and making simple shifts in behavior.

3- Innovation: Sustainability Managers are constantly in search of the newest green technologies and practices to bring to their companies. By attending conferences and networking with other professionals, they can ensure that they will stay on top of the newest energy efficiency trends and prepare their companies for both new technology and also federal and state policy and regulation revisions that will need to be complied with in a timely manner.


In conclusion, the need to implement sustainability measures into corporate culture has never been more important, and will continue to be a leading trend for the foreseeable future. Sustainably Managers are at the forefront of this evolution and can increase a company’s brand, corporate responsibility and reduce energy consumption. Hiring a Sustainability Manager is a win-win for any company and a meaningful career on the rise.


Virginie Glaenzer is the Executive Vice President, Marketing and Customer Experience for Great Eastern Energy (GEE), a leading supplier of natural gas, electricity and renewable energy in the Northeast. By providing full service solutions, GEE helps businesses and property owners thrive, control energy costs and increase their bottom-line. Virginie holds a master degree from HEC, one of France’s top 3 business schools, and is the author of the eBook Awakened Brands: Five Steps for Creating an Awakened Brand by Tapping into the Consciousness Revolution. Connect with her @VirginieG.

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Sarah Kelly is Director of Marketing and Customer Experience for Great Eastern Energy. Sarah is responsible for overseeing Great Eastern Energy’s Client Services and Marketing teams. She is an industry veteran with over 15 years of experience in deregulated energy markets. Most recently she was Agera Energy’s VP of Marketing and prior to that she managed their Contract and Data Services team. Mrs. Kelly previously established Sunwave Gas & Power, a Canadian based company, as an energy supplier within several deregulated markets within the United States. Additionally, Sarah has held various operational and marketing positions at HOP Energy, U.S Gas & Electric, Gateway Energy, Hess Corporation and Select Energy. She holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Hartford in Connecticut.

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