You know that you want to make a difference in the world—but it might be tough to figure out how to go about it in the context of your career. You might start by focusing on careers in ESG, which stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance). ESG principles have become increasingly more important as companies become more aware of the social and environmental impact they have on social justice and the environment. Jobs in this area focus on making the world a better place.
There are many ESG career path options that could help you make a lasting, positive impact. For example, careers in social work, education, or healthcare could all help people get the resources they need to live happier, healthier lives. You may consider making a positive impact on the world by contributing to the environment through working as an environmental scientist, urban planner, or conservation specialist. Or, you could work for a company that is particularly committed to driving positive change. Companies that utilize ESG policies to make a difference include Cigna Corporation, HP (Hewlett Packard), Cisco Systems, and others.
This article is geared toward providing you with a better understanding of ESG and its importance for social and environmental change. We’ll also discuss ESG career options in depth (including job descriptions, salary estimates, and typical education required) that could help you change the lives of people around the globe for the better.
What Is ESG? Defining Environmental Social Governance
Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) refers to a framework of principles that investors, businesses, and organizations use to evaluate and measure the sustainability and ethical impact of an investment or business operation.
The “E” in ESG focuses on the environmental aspects of a company’s practices. It includes considerations related to the company’s impact on nature and ecosystems, such as its carbon footprint, resource usage, waste management, and commitment to environmental conservation.
The “S” in ESG pertains to the social aspects of a company’s operations. This encompasses how a company manages relationships with its employees, communities, and other stakeholders. Social considerations include labor practices, diversity and inclusion, employee well-being, community engagement, and adherence to human rights.
The “G” in ESG relates to the governance structure and practices of a company. Governance considerations involve evaluating the company’s leadership, transparency, ethical decision-making, adherence to legal and regulatory frameworks, and the overall effectiveness of its governance structures.
ESG jobs involve creating policies, procedures, and initiatives that drive a company’s mission to help the world by focusing on environmental and social responsibility. You’ll find such jobs in many industries. For example, the technology sector places emphasis on environmental sustainability, ethical use of technology, and corporate governance. ESG considerations are embedded in the development and deployment of technology solutions. The healthcare sector emphasizes ethical practices in research, development, and patient care. ESG considerations include ethical drug pricing, social responsibility, and corporate governance. And consumer goods and retail companies integrate ESG principles into supply chain management, product sustainability, and social responsibility. Ethical sourcing and fair labor practices are key considerations.
One strategy for finding an ESG job is to research companies that have high ESG rankings. They often have ESG departments that require people with a variety of skills. A second strategy is to pursue careers that embody ESG principles. Following is a discussion of the latter types of careers in each category of ESG, with salary and job projection information for each.
Jobs in environmental science could have a far-reaching impact on the world, contributing to the understanding, preservation, and sustainable management of the environment. Environmental scientists, ecologists, conservationists, and other professionals in this field play critical roles in addressing pressing global challenges.
Environmental science jobs include:
Environmental scientists and specialists are at the forefront of safeguarding the delicate balance between the environment and human well-being. Utilizing their expertise in the natural sciences, they dedicate themselves to protecting ecosystems, mitigating pollution, and advising on sustainable practices. Their duties encompass a spectrum of tasks, starting with determining data collection methods for research projects and conducting scientific analyses on samples of air, soil, water, food, and other materials.
Urban and Regional Planners
Urban and regional planners focus on community development and revitalization. Their duties span a spectrum of responsibilities, reflecting their commitment to creating sustainable, well-functioning, and inclusive spaces. Engaging with public officials, developers, and the community, planners facilitate discussions on development plans and land use, ensuring a collaborative approach that aligns with the community’s vision.
Urban and regional planners are not only strategists but problem solvers. They identify community needs and develop both short- and long-term solutions to enhance and revitalize communities. Whether managing population growth, planning new parks, addressing homelessness, or creating environments conducive to business, planners navigate the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of community development.
Conservation Scientists and Foresters
Conservation scientists are stewards of our natural resources, tasked with the responsibility of managing, improving, and protecting the delicate balance of the environment. Collaborating with private landowners, as well as federal, state, and local governments, these professionals actively seek ways to utilize and enhance the land while concurrently safeguarding its ecological integrity. Their work involves a nuanced understanding of the complex interplay between human activities and the environment, aiming to find sustainable solutions that harmonize with the natural world.
Social impact jobs
These jobs could make a difference at both the personal and global levels. Some social impact jobs involve working one-on-one with children, young adults, or people in need, while others work at a broader level to help policy-makers and communities improve social programs and conditions.
These jobs don’t just make a difference to the people you meet on the job–they could also help inspire those people to make a difference in the lives of others. Whether you’re educating, providing medical care, or helping someone connect with the resources they need to better their lives, these jobs could make a difference.
Social impact jobs include:
Teachers impact the lives of their students through a variety of roles and responsibilities. They serve as educators, mentors, and facilitators of learning. Teachers create a positive and inclusive learning environment where students are able to develop academically, socially, and emotionally. They design and deliver engaging lessons, adapting teaching methods to meet the diverse needs of their students. Teachers also foster a sense of curiosity, critical thinking, and a love for learning. Beyond academics, they play a vital role in students’ personal development, providing guidance, encouragement, and support.
Social workers support individuals, families, and communities by addressing a wide range of social issues. They work in various settings, including healthcare, schools, government agencies, and non-profit organizations. Social workers assess the needs of their clients and develop strategies to improve well-being and foster positive change. They provide emotional support, counseling, and advocacy for those facing challenges such as poverty, mental health issues, abuse, or discrimination.
Psychologists play a pivotal role in unraveling the complexities of human cognition, emotion, and social behavior. Through systematic observation, interpretation, and recording of how individuals relate to one another and their environments, psychologists conduct scientific studies that contribute to a deeper understanding of the human mind and behavior. Their duties encompass a broad spectrum of activities aimed at identifying psychological, emotional, and behavioral patterns, as well as diagnosing disorders.
Substance abuse counselors
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, there has been a significant increase in reports of substance abuse. Substance abuse counselors play a vital role in guiding individuals through the complex journey of overcoming drug or alcohol addiction. These dedicated professionals conduct thorough assessments to understand the nuances of each client’s substance use history, mental health, and potential co-occurring disorders. Collaborating closely with clients, they develop individualized treatment plans that encompass specific goals and tailored interventions. Through individual and group counseling sessions, substance abuse counselors address the psychological aspects of addiction, helping clients explore underlying causes and develop coping strategies. They educate clients about addiction, its consequences, and provide support to foster healthier lifestyle choices.
Healthcare careers wield a profound impact on individuals, communities, and the broader society. At the forefront of this impact are healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, allied health workers, and support staff, who collectively contribute to the well-being and quality of life of patients. Through their expertise and dedication, healthcare professionals diagnose and treat illnesses, alleviate suffering, and promote preventive care. The impact extends beyond the clinical setting, influencing public health outcomes and shaping healthcare policies.
In addition to direct patient care, healthcare careers contribute to advancements in medical research, technology, and pharmaceuticals. Researchers explore innovative treatments, conduct clinical trials, and enhance medical knowledge, leading to breakthroughs that transform the landscape of healthcare. Technological advancements, facilitated by healthcare IT professionals, streamline operations, improve diagnostics, and enable more efficient patient care.
Healthcare occupations are projected to grow much faster than average from 2022 to 2032.
Information governance jobs
Information governance refers to a comprehensive framework of policies, processes, and controls implemented within an organization to manage and protect its information assets. It includes components such as data management, information security, and privacy.
Information governance careers include:
Information Security Analysts
Information security analysts are tasked with fortifying an organization’s computer networks and systems against potential threats. Their multifaceted duties encompass proactive monitoring, investigation of security breaches, and the ongoing maintenance of security measures to safeguard sensitive information. Using specialized software such as firewalls and data encryption programs, they create and maintain a robust defense against unauthorized access.
Computer and Information Systems Managers
While this occupation typically encompasses a range of responsibilities, one type, IT security managers, focuses in particular on protecting data. IT security managers play a pivotal role in orchestrating and maintaining the security posture of an organization’s information technology (IT) infrastructure. Their responsibilities encompass a broad spectrum of strategic and operational tasks aimed at safeguarding computer systems, networks, and sensitive data.
The intersection of jobs that make a difference and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles represents a powerful force shaping the future of work. As we navigate a world increasingly conscious of its impact on the planet and society, careers aligned with ESG values are at the forefront of positive change. Whether it’s environmental scientists working to protect natural resources, social workers advocating for vulnerable populations, or ESG professionals guiding organizations toward sustainable practices, these roles embody a commitment to creating a better, more equitable world.