14 Unusual Sustainability Jobs You Need to Know About

08 April 2021 by Grace Coleman
blog author

A career in sustainability stretches beyond fitting PV solar panels or working at a wind farm – there’s a plethora of jobs out there for those who are looking to promote a better world.

It is estimated that by 2030, there could be nearly 694,000 green jobs in the low carbon and renewable energy sector across England, which could increase to more than 1.18m by 2050.

At Acre, we specialise in sustainability recruitment. We only have one planet and it is our duty to help keep it revolving - one of the contributions we make is to connect companies to people with the same sustainability beliefs and thought processes.

We have uncovered some of the more interesting or unusual sustainability careers out there (not just current vacancies on our own website by the way!) to see if these juicy green jobs will whet your appetite.

There is no limit to your dreams of netting that perfect sustainability job and if you think you can add to our compilation, we look forward to hearing from you.


1. Dormouse Ecologist

An ecologist with a hazel dormouse licence gets the green light to survey areas for evidence of the tiny dozing creatures, prior to development work being conducted (such as railway and housing schemes).

An experienced ecologist requires a European Protected Species licence from Natural England before they can survey areas for dormice.

The licence protects the vulnerable hazel dormice when development proposals may affect their habitat, as the species is given full protection under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. It is an offence to deliberately kill/catch/disturb a hazel dormouse (or else face six months in prison and an unlimited fine).



2. Field-base Volunteer Medic on expeditions

If you are a doctor, nurse or paramedic in need of a change of scenery, take your medical knowledge with you on an expedition that helps create lasting change in communities.

Volunteering with sustainable development charities, such as Raleigh International, will help deliver safe and impactful expeditions for young people.

A field-base medic volunteering with Raleigh International will utilise their medicine and leadership skills to oversee the medical care of volunteers on project sites in Nepal or Costa Rica. This role would be ideal for those taking a gap year in medicine or looking for some experience abroad.


3. Innovative Social Entrepreneur

Are you a highly driven individual who can turn ideas into profitable activities that deliver environmental impact?

Shiza Shahid is a successful social entrepreneur worth noting. She is co-founder and global ambassador of the Malala Fund, which helps empower women and girls by advocating and spreading access to education.

Shiza manages business operations for Malala Yousafzai, the teenager who was targeted and shot by the Taliban for promoting education for girls, later becoming the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. Shiza was inspired by Malala’s desire to continue campaigning for gender equality and education, so decided to help strategize the campaign.


4. Ethical tea taster

Fancy a job in sustainability where it’s important to get your taste buds insured for a cool £1million?

That’s what happened to Sebastian Michaelis when he worked for the Tetley Group as a tea taster (Dream job alert: “I’ll just go on my tea break and then get back to work - drinking tea.”).

Mr Michaelis is now Head of Tea at Tata Consumer Products, the company responsible for the Tetley brand, and a board member of the Ethical Tea Partnership. Wonder if he ever fancies a flat white just for a change...


5. Safety Consultant

Ever wondered how journalists manage to keep their cool when reporting in war-torn countries? It’s all down to training.

First Option Safety creates simulated terrorist situations to train reporters before they go to war zones.   The organisation provides experienced safety consultants in the media and broadcasting industry, with specialists in extreme and remote locations and security experts to support working in hostile environments or on high-risk productions.

Last year the company developed the world’s first TV and Film production Health and Safety Advisor training course which is IOSH (Institution of Occupational Safety and Health) accredited. 

First Option Safety runs courses such as Hostile Environment Training, which includes minefield awareness, kidnap and detention and working in a disaster zone training.

6. Education Coordinator, Instant Network Schools programme

Developing projects that enable vulnerable communities to get online and access broader learning opportunities is a rewarding task.

The Instant Network Schools programme by Vodafone Foundation & UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has connected more than 86,000 refugee students in South Sudan, Tanzania, Kenya and DRC to a quality digital education. INS is now expanding to new regions, including Mozambique and Egypt, to support 500,000 young refugees and their communities with access to digital learning by 2025.

7. Urban Grower

If you want to commit to feeding city dwellers in a way that positively impacts communities and the environment, this could be the job for you.

A combination of aquaponic and vertical growing equipment is used to produce fresh fish, salads and herbs sustainably, without the need for pesticides.

Producing pesticide-free food indoors also means that consumers are protected from disruptions in the food supply caused by natural disasters and farmland could be restored to ecosystems, such as forests, that could absorb greenhouse gases.

There are other benefits to urban growing - growing food indoors uses 98 percent less water and 70 percent less fertiliser.


8. Green Doctor Advisor

Is there a green doctor in the house? A green doctor advisor (or home energy advisor) will use their strong organisation skills to help transform people’s lives and places through social, economic and environmental action. The role is to monitor and evaluate each individual project as required with a view to helping reduce the effects of climate change.

Projects include evaluating water usage in houses and helping improve water efficiency in the home.


9. Health and Safety Business Partner

A health and safety business partner helps establish a business strategy, supporting regional and local leaders in the ownership, leadership and delivery of their health and safety strategies. These form part of their business plan to improve health, safety and wellbeing across the business.

The job involves delivering health and safety-related training and sharing best practice, while acting as a visible leader for the safety principles.

10. Green Design Professional

Professionals including building and landscape architects, engineers and urban planners, design green buildings including their energy, waste and water systems, and the surrounding landscapes.

​A "green" architect or designer will work towards safeguarding the air, water and earth by choosing eco-friendly building materials and construction practices.


​11. In-vitro Meat Scientist

Lab-grown meat enables meat to be produced without actually killing an animal. It’s all about growing stem cells and in theory, this process could supply meat globally.

The first lab-grown burger was served up in 2013 by scientists in the Netherlands but it needs to be grown to scale efficiently to become commercially viable.

Scientists at the University of Bath have grown animal cells on blades of grass in a step closer to enjoying bacon without killing pigs, but these things take time to perfect.

While global consultancy AT Kearney estimates that 60 percent of all meat consumed globally by 2040 will not come from slaughtered animals, it is still largely in the research process at the moment, so don’t look out for that non-bovine beef burger just yet.


12. Landfill Miner

Landfill mining and reclamation (LFMR) excavates and processes solid waste which has previously been landfilled.

Digging the dumps will enable metals such as aluminium, copper and lithium to be extracted and recycled, which will then leave room for more environmentally friendly waste disposal. The sites are hazardous to the environment as they emit methane and other greenhouse gases.

The procedure involves a series of mechanical processing operations which could also repurpose waste as a renewable energy source, although this is still in its early stages of development.


13. Amusement Ride Inspector

OK, while this sounds like a dream job, don’t assume you can just rock up at your favourite theme park (once Covid restrictions lift) and while away a few hours thrill seeking.

Amusement industry safety professionals (otherwise known as amusement device inspectors) have to sit exams and study hydraulics, electrics and inspection techniques to be able to certify fairground and amusement park rides as safe for the public to use.

It is definitely not all fun and games and there are definitely some highs and lows to this health and safety career. In fact, some might say it’s a bit of a rollercoaster…

14. Chief Safety Officer

The role of a chief safety officer can vary but it is deemed one of the most important roles in safety worldwide.

Acre Resources has recently successfully placed a chief safety officer at Nirapon, a non-profit organisation committed to building safe and sustainable working conditions in approximately 600 factories across Bangladesh.

Nirapon was established for North American brands to achieve safety management of their supplying Ready Made Garment (RMG) factories in Bangladesh.

On this occasion, the chief safety officer required thorough knowledge and practical experience of building, electrical and fire safety codes to ensure the safety of the company’s employees, as well as proven experience in leading an organisation related to life safety standards in a challenging environment.

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