Are you “green”? Do you want to develop ways to help organizations reduce waste, recycle and protect the environment? Consider studying sustainable business.
Those who work in sustainability have to be creative and always looking for ways to lessen their organization’s impact on the environment.
John Ebers graduated from a sustainable business program at Aquinas College in 2004. There, he took classes in chemistry, biology, business and sustainable business management. He also had an internship at Metro Health Hospital in Wyoming, Mich.
“My very first task was to do a waste audit of the hospital’s various waste streams and develop a recycling program,” Ebers says. “I had to research diff recycling strategies. I figured out a way to implement recycling and saved up to $30,000 doing it.”
Ebers is now the sustainable business officer at Metro Health Hospital. He works with architects and engineers on everything from selecting furniture to implementing designs that will save energy, reduce water consumption and reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills.
He even installed more than an acre of vegetation on a roof, which 75 percent of the hospital’s patients overlook. The vegetated roof keeps winter heat in, reflects summer sun and is nice for patients to view.
Is it for you?
To pursue a career in sustainability, you have to have a passion for the environment and the creativity to design effective solutions. Have a broad understanding of what it takes to be “green,” but think about an area in which you’d like to specialize.
And then once you start your work, let people know what you’re doing.
“Once people know, it’s amazing how much that catalyzes them to think out of the box,” Ebers says. “I get e-mails and phone calls from them. It creates a culture of creativity—how can we keep moving forward?”
National average salary: $69,940
Education: Have a strong business background with a sustainability focus. You will work with engineers, architects and other business administrators.
Pursue if: You have a passion for the environment and a knack for creative problem solving.