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Chief Sustainability Officer

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What is a Chief Sustainability Officer?

Position Description Communicate and coordinate with management, shareholders, customers, and employees to address sustainability issues. Enact or oversee a corporate sustainability strategy.

Life As a Chief Sustainability Officer

  • Direct sustainability program operations to ensure compliance with environmental or governmental regulations.
  • Research environmental sustainability issues, concerns, or stakeholder interests.
  • Review sustainability program objectives, progress, or status to ensure compliance with policies, standards, regulations, or laws.
  • Formulate or implement sustainability campaign or marketing strategies.
  • Develop or execute strategies to address issues such as energy use, resource conservation, recycling, pollution reduction, waste elimination, transportation, education, and building design.
  • Conduct sustainability- or environment-related risk assessments.

Things a Chief Sustainability Officer Should Know How to Do

Chief Sustainability Officers state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Types of Chief Sustainability Officer

  • Environment Coordinator
  • Director of Sustainability Programs
  • Stakeholder Manager
  • Corporate Sustainability Manager
  • Environmental and Sustainability Manager

Are There Job Opportunities for Chief Sustainability Officers?

There were about 308,900 jobs for Chief Sustainability Officer in 2016 (in the United States). There is little to no growth in job opportunities for Chief Sustainability Officer. There will be an estimated 20,000 positions for Chief Sustainability Officer per year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Chief Sustainability Officers in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Chief Sustainability Officer are Washington, Utah, and Colorado. Watch out if you plan on working in Maine, Ohio, or Pennsylvania. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Chief Sustainability Officer Average Salary

The salary for Chief Sustainability Officers ranges between about $68,360 and $208,000 a year.

Salary Ranges for Chief Sustainability Officers

Chief Sustainability Officers who work in California, District of Columbia, or Georgia, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Chief Sustainability Officers in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $204,590
Alaska $179,630
Arizona $194,360
Arkansas $126,960
California $228,270
Colorado $198,130
Connecticut $210,650
District of Columbia $247,500
Florida $187,870
Georgia $218,590
Hawaii $201,680
Idaho $94,470
Illinois $230,070
Indiana $148,730
Iowa $211,560
Kansas $172,100
Kentucky $152,670
Louisiana $208,110
Maine $152,780
Maryland $198,260
Massachusetts $221,810
Michigan $206,660
Minnesota $195,320
Mississippi $112,310
Missouri $167,980
Montana $132,400
Nebraska $220,950
Nevada $215,590
New Hampshire $180,250
New Jersey $233,050
New York $220,040
North Carolina $210,050
North Dakota $172,900
Ohio $201,100
Oklahoma $157,540
Oregon $212,290
Pennsylvania $231,120
Rhode Island $242,350
South Carolina $182,760
South Dakota $251,950
Tennessee $152,730
Texas $239,680
Utah $165,020
Vermont $136,410
Virginia $228,540
Washington $220,730
West Virginia $153,880
Wisconsin $154,820
Wyoming $131,020

Tools & Technologies Used by Chief Sustainability Officers

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Chief Sustainability Officers:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Web browser software
  • Microsoft Access
  • Email software
  • SAP
  • Microsoft Project
  • Scheduling software
  • Microsoft Dynamics GP
  • Teleconferencing software

Becoming a Chief Sustainability Officer

Education needed to be a Chief Sustainability Officer:

Chief Sustainability Officer Degree Level

How Long Does it Take to Become a Chief Sustainability Officer?

Chief Sustainability Officer Work Experience

Where Chief Sustainability Officers Work

Chief Sustainability Officer Sectors

Below are examples of industries where Chief Sustainability Officers work:

Chief Sustainability Officer Industries


Image Credit: Dave Dugdale via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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