The profession of sustainability is doing just fine

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Sustainability professionals are thriving. That in itself is news.

When the 2008 recession came around, the sustainability function inside companies suffered as many positions were shed as part of cost-saving (euphemistically, “rightsizing”) measures. By the time the recession ended in 2010, only about one in four companies said they planned to add dedicated sustainability resources. A decade later, in 2020, that number had roughly doubled, to nearly six in 10 companies.

Today, 76 percent of respondents from large companies reported an increase in head count, an 18-point jump since 2019 — “a strong indicator of sustainability’s importance within the largest companies,” according to the latest “State of the Profession” report just published by GreenBiz Group.

The report tracks trends among sustainability professionals inside both large and smaller companies. This year’s report, the seventh biennial since 2010, is based on nearly 1,500 anonymous survey responses collected during November and December 2021 among members of the GreenBiz Intelligence Panel, with additional respondents reached through partnerships with Weinreb Group Sustainability Recruiting, Global Reporting Initiative and Environmental Defense Fund. Among survey respondents, 56 percent were employed by large organizations — those with revenues greater than $1 billion — and 81 percent of those live and work in the United States.

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