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Why Sustainability Management Degrees Are So Hot Right Now

By Laura Bridgestock

Updated March 13, 2021 Updated March 13, 2021

Sponsored by LUMSA

When the US pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement earlier this month, Google, Apple, Goldman Sachs, ExxonMobil, and countless other businesses condemned his move. Why? Because sustainability management isn’t just a global humanitarian challenge, it’s the business opportunity of the century. Here’s why you should get involved.

1. Sustainability degrees are like a fine wine...

… They get better with age. While you could have gotten away a decade ago without a sustainability management degree, green credentials like LUMSA’s MSc in Management and Sustainability are increasingly sought after because businesses need grads with the in-depth expertise and professional toolkit required to untangle complex social issues.

Were you to upskill by doing LUMSA’s MSc, you could expect to find jobs in new innovative fields like corporate social responsibility, sustainability management, consultancy and business analysis, social entrepreneurship, whether for think tanks, multinationals, European and international institutions, public administrations, NGOs or social enterprises.

2. More and more companies have sustainability programs

As sustainability becomes more widespread, an increasing number of businesses across sectors including finance, healthcare, manufacturing and construction will rely on sustainability managers to untangle complex sustainability issues.

A common misconception about sustainability is that it’s fundamentally incompatible with most business models. However, thanks to huge strides in technology, increasingly reliable renewables and shifting public opinion, many corporations have realized sustainability also means greater efficiency and have therefore turned to renewables to cap prices, guarantee supply security and foster brand love.

A 2016 report found that investors worth as much as US$5 trillion chucked fossil fuels from their portfolios, as researchers at UC Berkeley and Stanford estimate $50 trillion savings by 2050 if renewables completely replace fossil fuels. 

3. Grads deal with high-impact social and environmental issues

Whether you choose to serve the public or private sector, working in sustainability management means dedicating your career to limiting the depletion of our natural resources and maintaining the quality of life on Earth. Why is this important? Because research has shown professionals who find their work meaningful are happier and more productive.

4. It’s an emotionally and financially rewarding career

In sustainability, business executives tend to earn very comfortable median salaries. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, median salaries in sustainability range between US$46,000 and US$72,000, with management jobs at the very top end of the payscale. Meanwhile, salaries for sustainability management professionals in the UK are on the rise, with a 2016 report estimating they earn £57,350 (US$73,100) on average, while top earners make £94,000 (US$119,800).

5. You could step into the C-level executive suite

Sustainability leadership roles are on the rise. Most companies these days have a C-level executive suite comprising of executive, financial, operations, marketing, and technology chief officers. A few forward-looking businesses now also employ a chief sustainability officer - a growing role with increasing responsibilities and a bright future. As corporations evolve to survive a warming planet with strained resources, there will be a growing need for sustainability chiefs to come in and manage sustainability from a business management perspective.

Study sustainability management at LUMSA in Rome
The Italian university’s MSc in Management and Sustainability covers topics like corporate social responsibility, sustainability, regulation and the European Union against on-going major global economic reshuffling and environmental and social emergencies. Your training would suit you perfectly for a career as a manager or consultant in the public or private sectors, or at an NGO.

Situated in the Prati district of Rome, with some of its campus buildings dating back to 1859, within walking distance of San Pietro and the Vatican City, LUMA brings together old and new. If you’re interested, you can read about the Club of Rome and the Italian capital’s strong sustainability track record here.

To find out more about the program, drop Professor Nicoletta Rangone a line and she’ll get back to you with more information.

This article was originally published in July 2017 . It was last updated in March 2021

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