One of the biggest questions those of us working in sustainability get is "How do I get a job with a green ethics company?" The simple answer of course is: Be the most qualified candidate. That means you not only need to have a complete mainstream education and -- perfect -- resume (and portfolio for the art types), but also have extra training in sustainability concentrations, general certification in whatever your industry offers (IOPP and AIA offer this), and if possible, job, internship, or volunteer experience working in sustainability. (Volunteering for green groups is a GREAT way to learn about eco while helping others.)
For those of you ready to go out into the world and seek your fortune, finding a company that fits with your ethics is as simple as reviewing the ever growing group of companies listed on the Dow Sustainability Index, the companies participating in CERES reporting, and companies that are actively participating in industry group green-committees and outside eco-groups (DesignersAccord.org, GreenAmerica.org, SustainablePackaging.org, o2.org, etc.).
In a tight economy though, dedicated eco-firms are swamped with resumes from people who have not invested in updating their education on their own, who are looking to get on-the-job training. Because of this investment the job seeker is asking the company to make in them, the skills the new-to-green person brings to the table needs to be well past job-norm in several other areas. The biggest contribution those new to green can make toward affecting real and positive change though, and the easiest way into working green, is to be an eco-ethics professional working for an UNgreen company. And then taking the time to fill-in the education needed based on opportunities for improvement the UNgreen company presents.
As an eco-ethics professional working for an UNgreen company, every little bit you do is a big step forward, and way more than the company had been doing before. Being an eco-ethics professional working for an eco-ethics company, you're just another cog in an already green machine — your footprint (the visibility of your actions) will be tiny in an already tiny eco-footprint (the tangible eco-impacts of the company). For there to be any real movement forward, to get the eco-footprint of every company to become tiny, every company needs to be moved. With that in mind then ...
Eco by stealth is the most powerful tool for deep change. And it's easier than you'd think.
Do what you do best, but go the extra mile and do eco-research for each project, create innovative and cost-effective work, then simply don't tell them how green it is until the project is done. When the result is a huge success, they won't care about anything else. They'll value you as part of their competitive advantage, and will want to know more about how to apply "your special techniques" to other areas and projects.
A win all around.
Looking for sustainability training to learn how to ask the right questions? Here's where to start: o2umw.org/WhereDoIStart.html
Award-winning designer Wendy Jedlicka, the founder of Jedlicka Design Ltd., is a Certified Packaging Professional with more than 25 years packaging and print experience, coupled with 11 years as a retail industry insider. Wendy will be a guest speaker at the Greener By Design Conference on May 19 and 20 in San Francisco.
Image by ilco.