As more of the population recognizes that our everyday decisions have a measurable and undeniable impact on future generations, we are spurred to embrace the critical importance of sustainability. But how exactly do we define sustainability – particularly as an educational focus area? Like many environmental concerns, there tends to be much debate, but according to ASU President Michael Crow, “Sustainability is a concept with as much transformative potential as justice, liberty, and equality.”
In the last decade, sustainability has sparked global conversations spanning both governmental and corporate interests forcing the prioritization of the “triple bottom line,” or people, planet and profits. Corporations are especially aware of how their sustainability strategies, or lack thereof, are subject to public perception and consumer backlash. Research indicates that corporations are increasingly seeking out skilled workers who can not only govern their sustainability strategies, but who can also align them with business strategies.
Additionally, in a survey of about 200 managers and executives, 65 percent of small-company respondents and 87 percent of large-firm respondents said they would consider a sustainability concentration when making a hiring decision. Survey participants also said sustainability-related topics should be taught to all managers and executives signaling a sea change in job preparedness.
What does this mean for students interested in the field?
The demand for sustainable business strategy is creating new job opportunities across multiple industries and disciplines. At ASU Online, students are supported by the nation’s first School of Sustainability offering an online Bachelor of Science in Sustainability, Bachelor of Arts in Business (Sustainability) and a Master of Sustainability Leadership. These flexible degree programs equip students to handle the toughest challenges surrounding sustainability in today’s business landscape. Students can join one of the most important leadership platforms of the 21st century, pioneering a nebulous space with integrity, courage, and responsibility, while learning how to evaluate questions of sustainability using a breadth of cross-disciplinary knowledge and experience.
More importantly, students can better position themselves for a job post-graduation.
According to alumni data, 79 percent of BA/BS graduates are employed, and 70 percent of those employed have jobs directly related to sustainability. Additionally, 91 percent of MSUS (Master of Sustainable Solutions) graduates are employed and 78 percent of employed MSUS graduates have jobs directly related to sustainability. With numbers like these, it’s no wonder online enrollment has more than doubled in the last year.
Career opportunities include Sustainability Program Specialists, Global Business Development Analysts, Quality Engineers and more. Students with a sustainability degree have skills that apply to virtually any field or profession – the sustainability degree program through ASU Online was designed to be molded to any student’s aspiration. Whether you want to pursue a career in research, marketing, education, nonprofit – or even start a business – a sustainability degree from ASU can help to get you there. So, what does the future of sustainability look like exactly?
According to George Basile, Professor of Practice in ASU’s School of Sustainability “sustainability is written in pencil, at best. Sometimes it’s written in chalk and it’s evolving and…getting bigger.”
For a more in-depth look, explore ASU Online’s Sustainability degree programs page, which highlights each of our eleven offerings within this field.