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Job Description: Environmental advisor

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What does an environmental advisor do? Find out about the typical responsibilities, hours, salary and career opportunities.

A passion for the environment, sustainability and reducing waste is the key reason for becoming an environmental advisor. You will be responsible for helping organisations comply with environmental regulations and laws by evaluating current practices and standards.

Job vacancies for environmental advisors are found within both the public and private sector with a significant proportion working within the manufacturing and production sectors.

The day-to-day

  • Reviewing and assessing current environmental practices against current regulations and laws
  • Visiting sites as part of continuous monitoring
  • Advising on environmental risks for new projects
  • Collecting and reporting on contamination data
  • Auditing environmental targets and managing environmental compliance
  • Keeping abreast of latest environmental guidance and regulations
  • Reporting non-compliance
  • Leading on environmental accidents

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Key responsibilities

Responsibilities will vary according to sector and organisation but may include a combination of:

  • Working as part of the environmental team, reporting into the environmental manager or environmental consultant on key targets and issues
  • Assisting in the production of company procedures, policies and practices in relation to environmental concerns, sustainability efforts and emissions targets
  • Supporting auditing measures and carrying out specific auditing duties
  • Collating findings and reporting data to senior environmental colleagues
  • Keeping up to date with sector specific regulations, standards and practices
  • Ensuring improvement actions are implemented to requirements, monitored and continuously assessed
  • Communicating environmental requirements across the organisation

Key skills

  • Understanding of core environmental principles and regulations
  • Solid communication skills, both verbal and written
  • Strong IT abilities
  • Driving licence may be required for some posts
  • Influencing and good relationship building skills
  • Secure research and auditing knowledge
  • Compassion for the environment and sustainability
  • Can work to deadlines and under pressure

Qualifications

A 2:1 degree in a science based degree including biology, chemistry or physics, is strongly desirable. Many universities now offer environment specific degrees including environmental science, management, engineering or geoscience which are very attractive to employers in this sector.

Membership of IEMA, an international membership organisation committed to global sustainability, is also attractive, as is relevant work experience, volunteering roles or work placements.

Relevant experience

Required experience will vary between organisations and sectors but some common requirements include:

  • Proven experience of carrying out site audits
  • Past monitoring in accordance with compliance targets and regulations
  • Previous provision of environmental reports
  • Competence in leading some investigations into environmental incidents
  • Ability to train others on environment management systems and processes
  • Some experience of leading in environmental meetings and forums
  • Prepared sites in past roles and co-ordinated waste management processes
  • Proven ability to champion environmental causes within organisations and lead on best practice

Hours

Standard hours are Monday-Friday, 9:00am - 5:00pm. There may be a requirement to work irregular hours to fit around particular needs or to respond to incidents - this may also occur over weekends.

Salary

Entry level positions for graduates with relevant degrees may start at around £22,000 and climb to a figure between £30,000 and £45,000 depending on sector and relevant skills. Senior positions can be advertised for as much as £60,000 plus for those that are required to make strategic decisions and play a prominent role in the organisation.

Career opportunities

An environmental advisor can progress onto a number of senior positions – roles will vary across sector and organisations. Next steps may include:

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