“Decarbonization manager”, “biodiversity project manager” or even “extra-financial reporting officer”: “green” professions are increasingly sought after and specialized, and often an integral part of company strategy – not just a business communication.
Measuring and reducing the ecological footprint of their company: that is the role of the sustainable development departments, popular with the tightening of climate legislation.
“I started in 2004 as an assistant in a shop in London”says Ruth Andrade, who manages the sustainable development strategy of the cosmetics brand Lush for the UK and Europe.
A convinced vegan, she persuaded one of Lush’s founders, Mark Constantine, who happened to be walking through her shop, to take a closer look at the environmental impact of her products, then still wrapped in plastic. Until he was put in charge of a dedicated department in London.
One of his team members is exclusively involved in 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, land 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.
The formulas of the soaps or solid shampoos for which Lush is known can then be adapted: less rose essential oil, whose production is energy-intensive, or more lemon essential oil, which absorbs more CO2 than it does not emit.
The influence of the law
the “green” According to Dominique Mamcarz, director of CSR (corporate social responsibility) at DPDGroup, the international delivery network of the La Poste group, jobs are largely driven by changes in the law.
Because companies have to take the taxonomy into account “vegetable” European Union, a list of energies that are considered virtuous for the climate and that 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 apply to all structures employing more than 250 people, and no longer 500.
“Our role is to detect weak signals, in which direction the regulation will move”, the latest innovations.”
Dominique Mamcarz, CSR Director (Corporate Social Responsibility) at DPDGroup
His company aims 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 tons of carbon it emitted in 2020, DPDGroup needed to buy carbon credits, particularly through wind farms in India.
Short-term, “Consultancy firms want to double their ‘sustainability’ teams”says Caroline Renoux of the French company Birdeo.
Last year, multinational consultancy PwC announced that it plans to hire 100,000 people over the next five years in the areas of climate change and artificial intelligence.
“We have an incredible talent show and we get calls from customers every day”adds Harco J. Leertouwer, head of Acre, one of the largest European recruitment agencies in “responsible for sustainable development”†
Originally, these functions 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, the recruiter explains.
Bureaucracy as enemy
Either way, to have a real impact, the company’s management must show voluntary commitment to environmental issues.
Gold “There is a lot of slowness and bureaucracy in large organizations, so it is true that it is complicated”notes Olivier Delbard, academic director of a diploma specializing in “durability” at the ESCP Business School in Paris.
But the professor recognizes that these functions, which were once often necessary to “communication and public relations functions”are now linked “to operations and strategy”†
“Nowadays, even in large French groups, you have managers fromsustainable development who sit on the board, on the committee” direction, enthuses the researcher. A positive signal, if not symbolic.