Any employee at any level in any industry can integrate sustainability in their job, said Shari Aaron, co-author of Climb the Green Ladder. And major companies are taking their trusted employees and moving them into their sustainability development departments, she added. Several colleges are adding sustainability management courses.
Aaron led a panel on how to incorporate sustainability in your own job and how to land a “green” job at the Green Market Exposition in Bridgeport.
These jobs aren’t in the classified section, Aaron said. People have to go out and create them for themselves.
“Everyday I look for things that make sense, whether its convincing my co-workers to recycle or to carpool,” Aaron said.
Sustaiability used to only be thought of in the financial sense of the word, but in the modern world, sustainability is a three-le
There are six steps anyone can follow:
1. Get into the mindset – Our country as a whole is still at step one, Aaron said. You have to make it part of the culture.
2. Make the business case – Advocate for the benefits of sustainability. It strengthens your brand reputation and engages your employees in a whole new way around passion. It’s also a new way to reach customers. And it’s a way to “future-proof” your career because it marks you as a leader.
3. Get your colleagues on your side – It’s the same concept as if you wanted to throw a Christmas party in the office, Aaron said. You have to get people engaged.
4. Have two way conversation – You have to understand someone else’s viewpoint. You can’t talk at them and can’t assume they have the same interests you have. Figure out what matters to them. Money is going to matte to the CEO, while people’s comfort in the waiting room is going to matter to the receptionist.
5. Work together - Co-create wth your customers, engage with non-profit organizations and customers. It’s amazing how many people are out there and have the knowledge you need and are happy to shar eit with you, Aaron said.
6. Make it part of the culture - You need to win over management time and time again. You need to think strategically, make it personal and part of everyone’s job.
Major companies are starting to find sustainable solutions, Aaron said. Hewlett Packard, for example, is researching computers that are made of less toxic materials and it reduced the size of its shipping cartons as well to cut down on waste.
Aaron spoke to a group of people interested in looking into getting into the sustainable field. Joan Plucinski, of Stratford, for example, used to be a teacher and has worked for Fotune 500 companies, and now wants a “green job.” Mike Wood, of Trumbull, was laid off in June from an operations management job. His degree is in architecture and environmental planning, and “sustainability jobs peaked my interest,” he said.
Tamalah Bennett, of Bridgeport, who is currently unemployed, said he wants to find a way to get paid for his passion, electonic waste recycling.
“So many blue collar jobs are turning green collar,” XX said. “But I’m 5’5″ and me moving around a ladder is not efficient. I want a business job where I can use my mind.”