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Environment, Agriculture & Conservation careers

Environmental Consultancy

What is environmental consultancy?

“Hasta la vista, baby!” weren’t the only words of wisdom to come out of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s mouth. No, no, in his role as Californian Governor he also said: “We simply must do everything we can in our power to slow down global warming before it is too late”.

To be fair to the guy, you can’t really argue with the latter statement.

Environmental consultancy is one of the most important areas of work for protecting and preserving the environment in which we live and determining how people interact with it. A graduate job in this field can be very rewarding in the long run.

What does environmental consultancy involve?

The responsibilities of these jobs can vary massively from one day to the next, but the overall goal is always the same. Essentially, you will make expert environmental assessments and offer advice to clients on environmental issues in order to make sure that their actions do not have a detrimental effect on the world’s ecosystems.

Firstly, you might be evaluating the impact that your client’s company has on the environment. You might get involved in conducting technical audits or you might even be implementing, promoting and coordinating innovative waste management schemes. Whatever you end up doing for each client, you will be using your environmental knowledge and expertise to reduce their contribution to escalating environmental problems.

Environmental consultant roles are highly sought after. Consequently, you’re not going to get your foot on the ladder by simply telling organisations that you have ‘green fingers’ and that you barely ever break wind.

You’re going to need a pretty awesome and relevant academic background. You should consider doing an environmental science degree of some description, such as ecology or environmental engineering. This will set you up nicely for breaking into this area of work.

It’s all about having a cracking mixture of research skills and practical sense. You’ll have to be technically-minded too. After all, you might be getting to grips with technical auditing equipment on a daily basis.

Furthermore, it’s absolutely essential that you act tactfully and diplomatically at all times, as sometimes you’ll be telling your clients things that they don’t want to hear.

What do environmental consultants do?

As an environmental consultant, you’ll be carrying out a range of tasks. You’ll be using your understanding of environmental law and policy to determine how this will affect your client’s business and to what extent it will disturb their operations.

Many companies operate on a ‘money first, environment second’ basis. Your role is all about balancing the need for reducing environmental harm with the commercial interests of the business. After all, no companies are going to hire you if the changes you propose have devastating consequences for the survival of their organisation.

Additionally, you’ll be testing facilities, equipment and processes left, right and centre, documenting your results in great detail and then writing some pretty snazzy reports that communicate all this information in an accessible way. These documents will also detail your suggestions for how things can be improved to make your client’s actions more favourable to the environment.

Furthermore, you might be carrying out computer simulations and technical modelling to forecast any possible environmental problems.

Working as an environmental consultant is not an easy task by any means, but it’s certainly one with a great amount of responsibility. Without a doubt, you’ll get a massive sense of fulfilment in knowing that you’re doing something pretty significant for the environment!