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Environmental/sustainability manager

A graphic showing how social, environmental, and economic impacts all affect sustainable development.

What do they do?

Environmental managers (or sustainability managers) oversee the environmental performance of private, public and voluntary sector organisations. They carry out environmental audits and assessments to identify environmental problems and ensure changes are implemented. By examining activities, environmental managers can assess where improvements can be made and ensure that organisations comply with environmental legislation.

The role of manager and consultant are often combined so that environmental/sustainability managers may also act as consultants. See the environmental consultant and sustainability consultant green career profiles for more detailed descriptions of these types of consultancy roles. 


What’s a typical day like?

The role involves both desk-based and out in the field work and the proportion of time spent in an office or on site varies with different employers and particular requirements of specific projects.

Environmental managers work is often quite varied, tasks can include:

  • Developing and implementing environmental strategies

  • Leading implementation of environmental policies

  • Ensuring compliance with environmental legislation

  • Auditing, analysing and reporting environmental performance to internal/external clients and regulatory bodies

  • Participating in environmental education and research

  • Writing environmental reports


This career would suit people with:

  • Good organisational and communication skills

  • Initiative to recognise problems and pro-actively develop solutions

  • A good understanding of environmental systems to carry out problem solving

  • Commercial awareness and an understanding of business

What makes it a green career?

Environmental managers are able to spot where organisations from all sectors are making a negative impact on the environment and ensure that organisations comply with environmental legislation to increase their overall sustainability.


What qualifications do you need?

Although this role is open to all graduates, it helps to have a degree with an environmental focus such as earth sciences, ecology, environmental health or management, engineering with a sustainability focus, environmental engineering, energy, ecology or biosciences.

How much would you earn?

Salaries range from £18,000 to £30,000, depending on experience. A common graduate starting salary is £22,000.

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