Get set for the green economy
As world leaders meet at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, one topic that’s gaining a lot of interest is the increasing momentum behind the shift to a so-called green economy. At the C40 Summit of World Mayors in October, mayors from nearly 100 cities pledged to create 50 million green jobs in contribution towards the climate commitments set out in the Paris Agreement. And with ‘green skills’ sought in industries as varied as finance and fashion, transport and tech, it’s clear the future is green.
When you think of a job in environmental sustainability, what do you picture? Perhaps a career in renewable energy? Or a role in climate policy and governance? But what about areas like sustainable fashion and environmental finance? Data from the International Labour Organisation suggests more and more industries are now searching for candidates who can demonstrate vital ‘green skills’.
The University of London, in partnership with member institution Birkbeck, University of London, offers innovative postgraduate programmes in Global Environment and Sustainability. The programmes – from postgraduate certificate to a full master’s – aim to equip students with the skills they will need for the wealth of jobs opening up in the green economy.
While some students already have practical experience in environmental management and sustainability and want to further develop their theoretical understanding, others are coming to the programme with the ambition of pursuing a brand new career in the field.
Dr Izabela Delabre is Programme Director for the MSc. She explained why this programme has such a broad appeal.
“We’ve seen a real increase in people interested in this area given its importance and relevance today. There’s so much focus on these issues in the media – whether that’s climate change, loss of biodiversity or energy resources. It’s really inspiring people to want to understand them more. We have a lot of students who are just really passionate about sustainability.
“On top of that, we’re also seeing that there is a growing job market in this area and it’s something that companies are showing more interest and investment in.”
We’re seeing more and more roles being advertised that we’ve never seen before.
In fact, research by the World Economic Forum found more than 400 different green job titles on LinkedIn alone, with fields including ecosystem management, environmental policy and sustainable procurement showing particularly fast growth. Global employment in renewable energy grew by a further 700,000 jobs to 12.7 million in 2021, despite the effects of post-Covid recovery and the growing energy crisis.
However, the growth of the green economy extends beyond specialist roles and industries, into areas that are not traditionally associated with environmental sustainability – from fashion designers and stylists with an understanding of pollution prevention, to portfolio managers and investment analysts who focus on sustainable investing.
We want motivated students who want to make a difference and think about what a sustainable future looks like.
Dr Delabre explained why the need for knowledge and skills in environmental sustainability has never been more important.
“There are many opportunities in this field,” she said. “The sustainable development goals and other global sustainability frameworks are mobilising finance and attention to environmental issues in different sectors, including private companies and public organisations. It’s also a particularly exciting area for start-ups emerging in this space, bringing new ideas, new tech and new energy to the market. Investors are now actively looking for experts in environment, social and governance issues.
“Then you have the growth in B corps. That brings a need for standards and certifiers, so we have a whole other industry involved in verification and checking that companies are doing what they said they’d do.
“We’re seeing more and more roles being advertised that we’ve never seen before. There’s a real drive to find candidates who have the knowledge, understanding and practical skills companies need, not only to meet their legal requirements but also to help protect their reputations and stay ahead of the curve.”
Throughout the course, we engage with ‘real world’ case studies to make sure our learning and analysis are grounded in real contexts.
The University of London programme is available to study fully online from almost anywhere in the world. You have the option to study individual modules on a pay-as-you-go basis, and you can also choose to complete a postgraduate certificate or diploma or build up your qualifications to the full MSc.
The programme specifically focuses on interventions and their effectiveness. Dr Delabre explained why this ‘real world’ analysis is so key:
“Throughout the course, we engage with ‘real world’ case studies to make sure our learning and analysis are grounded in real contexts. Our focus is on interventions, including policy, private sector and technologies, and their effectiveness in addressing the sustainability problems. We ask questions like: ‘What suite of solutions is needed to drive meaningful change and by whom?’ Importantly, we consider structures that might limit current thinking about solutions to ‘open up’ more progressive and equitable sustainability transformations – and how to overcome barriers.”
The most important skill you’ll need? Motivation.
Dr Delabre added: “We want motivated students who want to make a difference and think about what a sustainable future looks like.”
Find out how you can find your next exciting role in the green economy with the University of London’s MSc Global Environment and Sustainability.