New Program Prepares Workers for Booming Sustainability Economy

December 8, 2022 · 2 min read · By ASU CareerCatalyst

To meet ESG goals, skilled workers are needed in roles across organizations, and the Principles of ESG and Sustainability program is designed to prepare learners to lead.

The green boom is here.

For decades, environmentalists have warned of the challenges climate change will cause to the environment and the U.S. economy. With recent technological innovations and policy trends — culminating in the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act in 2022 — the challenge has turned into a massive economic opportunity.

According to a report by investment bank Credit Suisse, the “The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) marked the most ambitious legislative action the U.S. has ever taken on climate, which will have a profound effect across industries for the next decade and beyond,” the report says. For companies, the IRA “definitively changes the narrative from risk mitigation to opportunity capture.” The bill earmarks $369 billion for sustainability and green energy investment over the next 10 years.

Employer investment in ESG (environmental, social and governance) has exploded, placing workers with sustainability-related skills into high demand. Corporate sustainability skills are listed among the top 10 fastest-growing skills on LinkedIn — while less than one percent of LinkedIn profiles indicated these skills.

As corporate investments in ESG grow, a new ASU CareerCatalyst certificate program, Principles of ESG and Sustainability for Business, harnesses ASU faculty expertise across disciplines to prepare professionals to fill the skills gap and take advantage of this massive opportunity.

Turning challenges into career opportunities

ESG has become a business buzz word, but what exactly does it mean? ESG represents the sustainable and ethical impacts of a company. Once an organization sets sustainability goals, ESG drives accountability by tracking a company’s progress toward its commitments to acting sustainably and responsibly over the long term. ESG impacts every facet of an organization — from material sourcing, to supply chains and analysis.

To meet ESG goals, skilled workers are needed in roles across organizations, and the Principles of ESG and Sustainability program is designed to prepare learners to lead. “We frequently hear from employers about the growing importance of ESG and sustainability,” says Meredyth Hendricks, Head of ASU CareerCatalyst. “Skills in this area are incredibly valuable in the new green economy. Investing in teaching professionals these skills is an opportunity to catalyze their career success and to make a positive impact in the world.”

CareerCatalyst’s Principles of ESG and Sustainability positions learners to take advantage of this booming market in a range of industries, including manufacturing and construction, agriculture and food, retail and real estate, service industries, information technology, health care and government. Learners will have the foundational knowledge for roles including sustainability specialist, environmental manager, environmental consultant, renewable or corporate energy analyst, environmental programs specialist, supply chain manager and many more.

Preparing learners for every facet of an emerging field

Principles of ESG and Sustainability leverages the diverse faculty and disciplines of two of ASU’s leading-edge schools. ASU’s School of Sustainability was the first to offer degree programs in the field, and has become the well-established global leader in sustainability degree programs. ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business is a top-tier business school and a leader in supply chain management — a key component of sustainability in business.

Experts from both schools distill ESG concepts into concise and actionable knowledge. From greenhouse gas accounting to sustainable supply chains, learners discuss real-world examples and how to deliver sustainable success in a variety of different contexts. The program consists of eight short, self-paced courses designed to be accessible for working learners.

Courses and topics include:

  1. Foundations of Sustainability and ESG for Organizations

    • Identify the definitions(s), scope and landscape of E, S and G.
    • Learn the range of tools, standards and skills related to ESG and ESG reporting.

  2. Sustainable Supply Chain Management

    • Define the business case for designing sustainable supply chains.
    • Identify key elements of sustainable supply chain management practices.

  3. Sustainable Materials

    • Describe the important role of sustainable material in everyday life.
    • Build a comprehensive business case for sustainable materials.

  4. Foundations of GHG Accounting for Organizations

    • Learn principles, boundaries and allocation rules of GHG accounting.
    • Identify GHG inventory quality, verification and goal setting.

  5. Sustainability Practices in the Consumer Goods Industry

    • Contrast different approaches to designing sustainable products.
    • Match circular economy best practices to business models.

  6. How Sustainability and ESG Will Change Organizations and Financial Markets

    • Learn basic financial modeling, tools, and concepts.
    • Describe the relationship between financial markets, ESG and sustainability.

  7. ESG Assessment and Reporting

    • Identify typical data for ESG reporting.
    • Explain ESG data assessment methodologies and materiality.

  8. ESG Accounting Concepts for Organizations

    • Identify current standard ESG metrics used by management and provide to external parties.
    • Discuss controls and processes necessary for quality tracking and reporting of ESG activities.

For those who are passionate about the environment and sustainability, the time is now to learn more about ESG principles and advance a career in this thriving field.

Learn more about the Principles of ESG and Sustainability program offered by ASU CareerCatalyst.


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