Respondents within Europe report the highest level of traditional educational qualifications

21 February 2024 by Acre
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​​Respondents in Europe boast the highest number of master’s degrees, compared to those in other continents, according to new research.

The recently-released 2023/24 Sustainability Census, conducted by Acre and Carnstone, offers insight into the true state of the sustainability profession to capture an accurate, global snapshot of working in a sustainability-related profession today.

More than 2,253 global sustainability professionals from the United Kingdom, Europe, North America and Asia took part in Acre’s biggest-ever Sustainability Census report, a 43 per cent increase in participation from the 2020 CR Salary Survey.

Respondents were asked a variety of questions including their sustainability qualifications, to better understand the options and opportunities necessary when embarking on a sustainability career.

The census showed a master’s degree is the most common qualification among sustainability professionals across all regions who took part in the census, particularly in Europe (78 per cent). The continent also has the highest number of PhD-educated professionals working in the sector.

Cindy Forde, Author, Activist and Founder of Planetari, said on page 55 of the census: “While it is encouraging to see such high levels of education among sustainability practitioners, both specialist and tertiary, what is more disturbing is that in the 25 years or so since the first sustainability qualifications began to appear, carbon emissions, temperatures and sea levels have all risen at unprecedented rates pushing humanity to ‘Code Red’.

“What kind of education do business professionals need to make the genuine systemic change for Earth to remain a safe space for human life?”

Harco Leertouwer, Managing Director - Acre Europe, said: “While it is commendable to pursue an advanced formal education pathway, I urge those keen to work in the sustainability field to remember that the sector requires not only a deep understanding of sustainability issues, but also a high level of communication skills.

“Collaboration is vital for innovation and to implement solutions so having a natural ability to be able to effect change through the right conversations and networking is, to me, as important as a top qualification.”

For more information about this and other findings from The 2023/24 Sustainability Census report, including how nine per cent of respondents receive bonuses that are partially determined by their sustainability/ESG performance, please click here to download a free copy.


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