Green professions: “the incredible rush for talent”

Posted Apr 20, 2022, 5:01 PM

Measuring the environmental footprint of their company and reducing it: this is the role of the sustainable development departments, popular with the tightening of climate legislation.

“I started as an assistant in a boutique in London in 2004,” says Ruth Andrade, who manages the sustainability strategy for cosmetics brand Lush for the UK and Europe.

A convinced vegan, she persuaded one of the founders of Lush, Mark Constantine, who happened to be passing through her store, to take a closer look at the environmental impact of her products, which were still packaged in plastic at the time. Until ending up in charge of a dedicated department in London.

One of his team members is dedicated exclusively to the analysis of the production chain. “He studied the carbon footprint of all our materials and all the risks: deforestation, land rights issues for local populations, soil degradation or impact on biodiversity”explains Ruth Andrade.

Using analysis software (Markersite, Altruistiq or even Maplecroft), the brand develops a risk score and derives a list of recommended materials.

“Greening Jobs”

The formulas of the soaps or solid shampoos for which Lush is known can then be adapted: less rose essential oil, the production of which is energy-intensive, or more lemon essential oil, which absorbs more CO2 than she does not emit.

The “greening” of jobs is largely driven by legislative changes, according to Dominique Mamcarz, CSR (corporate social responsibility) director at DPDGroup, the international delivery network of the La Poste group.

Because companies must take into account the European “green” taxonomy, a list of energies considered virtuous for the climate and which facilitate certain financing.

A 2014 European directive, revised in 2020, also requires companies to disclose their environmental, social and governance (ESG) data. In 2023, this obligation will concern all structures that employ more than 250 people, and no longer 500.

“Our role is to detect weak signals, in what direction the regulations will evolve, the latest innovation », explains Dominique Mamcarz. His company, for example, wants to deploy low-emission vehicles in 350 European cities by 2025.

But to balance its carbon footprint in 2021 and offset the 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 it emitted in 2020, DPDGroup was forced to buy carbon credits, in particular through wind farms in India.

Technical deficiencies

Short term, “consulting firms want to double their sustainable development teams”estimates Caroline Renoux, of the French firm Birdeo .

Last year, the multinational consultancy PwC announced that it wanted to hire 100,000 people within five years in the field of climate change and artificial intelligence.

“We have an incredible talent rush and we get calls every day from clients”adds Harco J. Leertouwer, who heads Acre, one of the largest European recruitment agencies for “sustainable development managers”.

Originally, these positions came from within the organization itself. Today, they are often recruited from outside, after specialized training. But there is a lack of technically competent candidates, explains the recruiter.

Businesses need to move

In any case, to have a real impact, the management of the company must show voluntarism on environmental issues.

Gold “There is a lot of inertia and bureaucracy in large organizations, so it’s true that it’s complicated”observes Olivier Delbard, academic director of a diploma specializing in “sustainability” at ESCP Business School in Paris .

But the professor recognizes that these positions, formerly often required to “communication and public relations functions”, are now linked “to operations and strategy”.

“You even have in large French groups today sustainable development managers who sit on the board, on the committee” direction, enthuses the researcher. A positive signal, if not symbolic.

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Green professions: “the incredible rush for talent”


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