Editor's Letter

Sept. 22, 2016

The Career Value of Sustainability.

Sustainability has become business as usual for many organizations.

And sustainability can be a highly visible component of the FM business.

Are you working to add sustainability expertise to your résumé?

If you want to join the C-suite of senior executives in your organization, sustainability may be your path. In 2004, DuPont was the first publicly traded company to add the position of Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) to its corporate hierarchy. Since then, similar positions have emerged among private and public organizations under a variety of titles – director of sustainability, energy manager, director of environmental responsibility, etc. As reported in this month’s feature article on the trend (page 30), a study by a recruitment firm found that 86% of CSOs were hired from within the organization. Why not someone with FM expertise?

Sustainability involves a long-term outlook, much like the long-term goal of operational economy over the lifetime of a building. It involves working with all departments within an organization, as facility management does.

It requires compliance with regulations and the recognition that going beyond current compliance minimums may be a profitable investment for the future, much like facility investments. Sustainability recognizes the value of increasing occupant wellness and productivity, a goal familiar to FMs who optimize workspaces and maintain healthy, comfortable environments. Not to mention most organizations’ interest in minimizing waste and keeping expenses in check – a highly prized skill for which FMs do not receive the credit they deserve.  

Even if your organization does not currently have a dedicated position, developing sustainability skills is a career-advancing benefit. It is also a good antidote to C-suite executives who think facility managers are only an expense, not an asset.

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