Becoming a Sustainability Analyst: How to Do it in 2024

Author profile photo for CareerFoundry blog writer Elliot Gun

If you’re wondering about how you can make a difference in the world of corporate responsibility, you might want to check out what a career as a sustainability analyst entails.

This relatively new role blends the precision of data analytics with expertise in sustainable business practices. 

As more companies embrace environmental stewardship, they’re on the lookout for talent that can turn data into eco-friendly strategies. But what does it take to break into this field? How can you combine your analytical skills with a keen understanding of sustainability principles to make a meaningful impact?

In this article, I’ll discuss how you can become a sustainability analyst and cover the following:

  1. What is a sustainability analyst?
  2. How to become a sustainability analyst
  3. Navigating the sustainability analyst career path

1. What is a sustainability analyst?

A sustainability analyst combines expertise in data analysis with a deep understanding of environmental and social responsibility.

This is a pretty unique niche in the corporate world, and analysts are tasked with the critical responsibility of helping businesses make informed, sustainable decisions. Although initially a niche, this is by no means a shrinking field—the opposite is true, with the sustainability analyst role making it onto Linkedin’s Jobs on the Rise list for 2023.

What does a sustainability analyst do?

Sustainability analysts assess and interpret a wide range of data, everything from environmental impact studies to corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Their goal is to guide companies towards practices that are not only profitable but also environmentally sound and socially responsible. 

The best way to think of their role is to imagine that they interpret a company’s operations through the lens of sustainability. What are the existing policies around energy consumption and waste management? What’s the social impact of the company’s practices?

They then use this data to identify areas where the company can improve its environmental footprint and increase operational efficiency at the same time. 

How sustainability analysts help companies

This is a tricky road to walk, but there are many levers they can use to achieve these goals.

For example, sustainability analysts can recommend shifts to renewable energy sources, suggest improvements in supply chain sustainability, and develop strategies to reduce carbon emissions.

They typically do so through sustainability reports, which help in setting measurable sustainability goals and communicate progress to internal and external stakeholders. This transparency achieves both a reputation boost to the company and helps drive long-term sustainable growth.

2. How to become a sustainability analyst

Becoming a successful sustainability analyst requires a combination of education, technical skills, and soft skills. 


Many roles require a bachelor’s degree in fields such as environmental science, sustainability, data analytics, or a related combination. These programs provide a good foundation in ecological principles, environmental regulations, and the basics of data analysis. 

But it’s not sufficient to stop there since the role of sustainability analysis is so interdisciplinary. Many find that further specialization in areas like sustainable business practices and advanced data analytics can be helpful to landing roles.

This is especially true if you’re transitioning from another career: courses like CareerFoundry’s Data Analytics Program can complement your professional background in sustainability or corporate social responsibility. 

Technical skills

Being proficient in data analytics is pretty important. Successful applicants have a foundation in data collection methods, statistical analysis, and the ability to interpret complex datasets. 

Knowing how to use programming languages like SQL for database queries, R or Python for data analysis and application building, and GIS for spatial data analysis will give you an edge among applicants. Having an understanding of sustainability assessment tools and frameworks, such as the Life Cycle Assessment and Carbon Footprint Analysis, will help you shine in interviews where you have to demonstrate a deeper knowledge of the role. 

Soft skills

Ethical judgment is perhaps the most important skill to have in this role. Analysts will need to balance profit priorities with environmental and social considerations. 

On the soft skills front, having effective communication skills is crucial. Sustainability analysis must be able to communicate complex data and sustainability concepts clearly to a diverse audience that can range from fellow colleagues to senior executives and external partners. 

Being able to work with different functions is essential to their role, and sustainability analysts are often adept team players who can work cross-functionally. As their work intersects with various departments in a company (think supply chain management to marketing), they ensure that sustainable practices are embedded into every aspect of the business. 

Learn more about these and how to find your own in our full soft skills guide.

A sustainability analyst looks at a tablet out in the field.

As it’s a relatively new field, the career path of a sustainability analyst is dynamic and evolving quickly. I’ll explore some of the industry trends, career opportunities and how the need for continual professional development is key to understanding how to break into sustainability analysis.

Over the last decade, sustainability has shifted from a niche concern to a central business strategy, largely driven by increased environmental awareness, consumer demand for sustainable products, and stricter regulatory requirements. 

Technological advancements in AI and big data are changing how companies track and manage their environmental impact. It has opened up new opportunities for analysts. The rise of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing has also created new demand for professionals who can accurately assess and report on sustainability metrics. 

To be successful in this field requires staying on top of these trends and learning technical best practices to produce data-driven insights for positive change. 

Career opportunities

Sustainability analysts face an abundance of opportunities across sectors:

  • In corporations, they are vital to developing and implementing sustainability strategies. 
  • In environmental consulting firms, they work with a portfolio of clients seeking to improve their own sustainability practices. 
  • In the government and non-profit sectors, analysts contribute to policy development and environmental advocacy. 

Sustainability analysts are also becoming more popular in industries like renewable energy, green construction, and sustainable agriculture. 

As a result, analysts face a wide range of potential career paths. The role’s versatility means that you can choose to specialize in areas that particularly interest you, like carbon footprint analysis or supply chain sustainability. 

Professional development

Continuous learning is especially important in rapidly evolving fields like this one. You can find opportunities for professional development through workshops, webinars, and conferences. These not only keep you updated on the latest trends and frameworks, but also provide valuable networking opportunities. 

You can also consider more formal education routes such as pursuing advanced certifications in sustainability or data analytics. As sustainability increasingly interacts with other disciplines, you can enhance your career prospects by learning cross-functional skills in areas like project management, finance, or marketing. 

To go the extra mile and stand out as a sustainability analyst, consider contributing to research publications or taking on speaking roles to establish yourself as an industry leader. 


The role of a sustainability analysis is both challenging and rewarding. It offers a unique blend of technical and soft skills in a rapidly evolving field.

By staying on top of industry trends and committing to learning on the job, you can work effectively to craft meaningful corporate sustainability practices. As environmental and social concerns continue to grow in importance among businesses, sustainability analysts play a pivotal role in guiding businesses towards a more sustainable and responsible future. 

If the world of data analytics interests you but you don’t know where to start, why not try CareerFoundry’s online machine learning with Python course? It covers the basics of machine learning as a field through hands-on projects with an expert mentor, and will give you a good idea of whether or not it’s a career path you’re interested in pursuing further.

You may also be interested in the following articles:

Sustainability Analyst FAQ

How much do sustainability analysts earn?

The average salary for a sustainability analyst in the United States is around $71,000 per year, according to job site Glassdoor. That’s almost 50% more than the average U.S. salary of $53,490 per year. Linkedin back this up, putting the salary range for sustainability analysts at $41,800–$98,500 .

What is sustainability analytics?

Sustainability analytics is the use of data and analytics to measure, track, and optimize environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance. It helps businesses and organizations make informed decisions about resource consumption, waste management, environmental impact, and other sustainability initiatives.

What are the four pillars of sustainability?

The four pillars of sustainability are seen to be environmental, social, economic, and cultural sustainability. Essentially, they’re designed for achieving a future where society, the economy, and the environment can coexist harmoniously and equitably without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

Is sustainability a good career choice?

Yes, sustainability is most definitely a good career choice. Whether that’s as a sustainability or environmental analyst, a sustainability consultant, this is a definite growth area all over the globe. In the U.S. the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 6% growth for the environmental specialists field between 2022 and 2032, which is double the average for all roles.

Interested in combining your sustainability efforts with product design? Read our guide to sustainable product design.

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