As we continue to evolve and become more self aware as a collective, new opportunities are coming forward. The world is changing and moving into a new era where we are all conscious of our impact and want to do better. Many aspects of society’s infrastructure need to change in order to create a more sustainable and greener future.
Moving towards 2030 and onwards, green jobs across all sectors will become more and more in demand. The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate estimates that there will be 65 million new low-carbon jobs by 2030.
Jobs In Food And Agriculture
Food is an essential factor in any society and as the population continues to grow, sustainable solutions need to be found so that we can all thrive. Current globalized industrial agriculture is damaging the planet and our health. We’ve been seeing a vital shift away from these unhealthy, unsustainable methods and towards rebuilding ecosystems and the soil’s biodiversity. Permaculture and regenerative farming specialists will continue to grow in popularity.
Future food systems will become more and more localized. A need for urban farmers will help cities access seasonal foods that are fresher, local and more chemical free. Vertical and rooftop gardens will become more commonplace as technology and architecture come together to make it possible. Sustainable cooks will be an important niche occupation that will help busy families source their food and prepare delicious and nutritious meals.
Jobs in Waste Management
Waste management is a sector that is in need of major changes. Waste is polluting our lands and oceans. In 2017, an industrial ecologist from the University of Southern California, Santa Barbara reported that the world had produced and put out 8.5 billion tons of plastic. It was further estimated that it would grow to 12 billion tons by 2050 if we continued on this trajectory.
Jobs like project engineers, waste managers and environmental managers are essential for projects that clean up our oceans and waterways. Recycling technicians will become a lot more on demand and will create 6 million jobs world wide.
As the circular economy business models become more mainstream, waste traders will become an essential cog of the system. They find recycled, pre-used items to be sold as raw material that gets reinserted back into the production cycle.
Jobs In Construction
Like many other industries, construction will be shifting towards more sustainable practices. Sustainable construction seeks to reduce the use of virgin raw materials, reduce energy usage, greenhouse emissions and also waste generation.
The demand for urban miners is growing as construction begins adopting more circular models. Urban miners recover material from buildings, infrastructures and obsolete products. This can be done across industries, like recovering aluminum from cars. However, construction and demolitions provide the most needed materials. Materials like brick, steel, wood and concrete are in very high demand even though only 13% of these building materials are currently acquired through renewable sources.
Eco architects and Green builders play a big role in the future of this field. These professions will be designing, building and converting properties to become more energy efficient and self-sufficient in producing its own energy and food.
Jobs In Fashion
Fashion has been horrible for the environment and is in dire need of change. The industry pollutes and dries water systems, accounts for 10% of global energy emissions and produces a crazy amount of waste. 85% of all textiles produced are thrown in landfills. The world currently produces 92 million tons of textile waste yearly and is predicted to increase to 134 million tons yearly by 2030.
Textile recycling operations managers, textile recycling platforms and resellers are needed to repurpose these materials. Textile chemist jobs will aim to create materials that are more durable and longer lasting, as well as less toxic to the environment.
Jobs In Energy
The energy industry is predicted to provide the most employment demand in the near future. The world is shifting away from fossil fuels and towards greener energy solutions. These renewable energy niches include solar photovoltaic, liquid biofuels, wind and hydropower. Employment in these above technologies is predicted to grow to 43 million jobs over the next 30 years.
The call for wind turbine technicians is predicted to grow 68.2% by 2030 and the need for solar photovoltaic installers is forecasted to grow 52.1% by 2030.
Energy engineers will continue to research, design and develop cleaner, more efficient solutions. Photovoltaic waste managers will help with the circularity of the solar industry by breaking down the panels into its valuable parts.
Additionally, other jobs related to the transition of our current systems to these newer technologies will be needed. These include “efficiency, enhancement and flexibility, storage and hydrogen, to name a few.” (IRENA, p55)
Jobs In Business And Banking
Shifts in business and banking are also coming about. Sustainability consultants will analyze and help companies reduce their carbon footprint. Environmental analysts or green consultants will help businesses manage different environmental issues across all areas like manufacturing, sustainability initiatives, compliance, green building, renewable energy and waste management.
Circular product designers are essential to the circular model possible. Their main task is to design products that can be easily and efficiently taken apart at the end of their life cycle.
Environmental lawyer is also a growing niche as more laws and regulations are being imposed on businesses worldwide.
Banks are also trying to go green by investing in environmental and socially responsible companies. This has created a new and growing sector of jobs around ESGs (or Environmental, Social, Governance). Some examples include sustainable finance investment bankers, green bond specialists, ESG portfolio managers and ESG analysts to name a few.
Jobs That Cross Interdisciplinary Fields
The shift towards circular business models will span over many industries. Currently, only 9.1% of the world economy is circular and in 2018 employed 3.9 billion people. The International Labor Organizations predicts that there will be a net creation of 18 million new jobs in circularity by 2030
Circular tech experts are important positions that are needed in all circular businesses and across all industries. Businesses, big and small, will need these experts to retrieve, repair and refurbish items and raw material. So for example, we will need more experts in bike repairs, restoration of home appliances and mending clothes.
The technology field is also booming and will continue to focus on creating greener solutions across all industries. Forestry and conservation is an area, for example, with a growing demand for tech services. Positions like in carbon capturing tracking and certification combine technology with business and agriculture.
Biotechnology is a growing innovative and interdisciplinary field. It is useful across different jobs areas such as conservation biology, environmental monitoring, water quality, agriculture and food safety. A couple examples of on demand entry level jobs are Agricultural and Food Science Technicians and Environmental Science and Protection technicians
Read all about the circular economy and how businesses are becoming more sustainable, click here.
Sources: International Renewable Energy Agency – Renewable Energy and Jobs 2021 report, International Institute for Sustainable Development – Effects of Circular Economy on Jobs, Leonard Article – Four Jobs Of The Future For Circular Lands And Cities, Global Citizen Article – 6 Green Careers Set To Grow In The Next Decades, College Consensus – Green Careers, Construct – Sustainability in Construction, Metabolic – Urban Mining and Circular Construction, The Ocean Cleanup – Careers, BBC News – “Earth Is Becoming A ‘Plastic Planet,'” Geneva Environment Network – Environmental Sustainability In The Fashion Industry, BBC Future – Why Clothes Are So Hard To Recycle, E- Financial Careers – The Top ESG Jobs In Banking And Finance, Biotech Careers