Environmental employment and sustainable development
During the late 1980s and early 1990s the number of job advertisements incorporating the word ‘environment’ suddenly increased. Posts ranging from environmental policy officers to environmental engineers and others with environment implicit in their name such as ‘Local Agenda 21 Officers’ are now commonplace.
If sustainable development, heralded at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 as the universal answer to global environmental problems, is to be realised in national and local policies and actions, then all sectors (government, business, industry, community, etc.) require appropriately qualified and experienced personnel to implement the required actions.
Over the past few years the environmental careers market has been transformed from what was often regarded as an amateur, predominantly voluntary body employment sector, to a highly professionalised area of specialist expertise. The demand for expert advice and assistance to business and industry and local and central government in environmental policy formulation, environmental management and conservation has grown rapidly. In addition, industry specific environmental expertise and knowledge are increasingly required in existing professional, industry and business areas.
The further application of statutory regulations as well as voluntary codes of practice to both the public and private sectors, in areas such as pollution control and sustainable resource management, has meant that personnel with the appropriate environmental skills are needed to find practical work-based solutions to these new environmental demands.
In addition to the new legislative requirements, the commercial logic of ‘going green’ has also been more widely recognised. This can result in lower costs from increased energy efficiency, recycling initiatives and careful purchasing policies. Investment in state-of-the-art environmental technology