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Chief Sustainability Officer

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What Does it Take to Be a Chief Sustainability Officer?

Position Description Communicate and coordinate with management, shareholders, customers, and employees to address sustainability issues. Enact or oversee a corporate sustainability strategy.

Life As a Chief Sustainability Officer: What Do They Do?

  • Evaluate and approve proposals for sustainability projects, considering factors such as cost effectiveness, technical feasibility, and integration with other initiatives.
  • Develop sustainability reports, presentations, or proposals for supplier, employee, academia, media, government, public interest, or other groups.
  • Identify and evaluate pilot projects or programs to enhance the sustainability research agenda.
  • Develop methodologies to assess the viability or success of sustainability initiatives.
  • Conduct sustainability- or environment-related risk assessments.
  • Supervise employees or volunteers working on sustainability projects.

Chief Sustainability Officer Skills

Chief Sustainability Officers state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

  • Corporate Sustainability Manager
  • Sustainability Reports Director
  • Energy Sustainability Manager
  • Strategy Sustainability Manager
  • Sustainability Coordinator

Job Demand for Chief Sustainability Officers

In the United States, there were 308,900 jobs for Chief Sustainability Officer in 2016. There is little to no growth in job opportunities for Chief Sustainability Officer. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 20,000 job openings in this field each year.


The states with the most job growth for Chief Sustainability Officer are Washington, Utah, and Colorado. Watch out if you plan on working in Maine, Ohio, or Pennsylvania. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

How Much Does a Chief Sustainability Officer Make?

The typical yearly salary for Chief Sustainability Officers is somewhere between $68,360 and $208,000.


Chief Sustainability Officers who work in California, District of Columbia, or Georgia, make the highest salaries.

How much do Chief Sustainability Officers make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $204,590
Alaska $179,630
Arizona $194,360
Arkansas $126,960
California $228,270
Colorado $198,130
Connecticut $210,650
District of Columbia $247,500
Florida $187,870
Georgia $218,590
Hawaii $201,680
Idaho $94,470
Illinois $230,070
Indiana $148,730
Iowa $211,560
Kansas $172,100
Kentucky $152,670
Louisiana $208,110
Maine $152,780
Maryland $198,260
Massachusetts $221,810
Michigan $206,660
Minnesota $195,320
Mississippi $112,310
Missouri $167,980
Montana $132,400
Nebraska $220,950
Nevada $215,590
New Hampshire $180,250
New Jersey $233,050
New York $220,040
North Carolina $210,050
North Dakota $172,900
Ohio $201,100
Oklahoma $157,540
Oregon $212,290
Pennsylvania $231,120
Rhode Island $242,350
South Carolina $182,760
South Dakota $251,950
Tennessee $152,730
Texas $239,680
Utah $165,020
Vermont $136,410
Virginia $228,540
Washington $220,730
West Virginia $153,880
Wisconsin $154,820
Wyoming $131,020

What Tools do Chief Sustainability Officers Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Chief Sustainability Officers may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Web browser software
  • Microsoft Access
  • Email software
  • SAP
  • Microsoft Project
  • Scheduling software
  • Microsoft Dynamics GP
  • Teleconferencing software

Becoming a Chief Sustainability Officer

Individuals working as a Chief Sustainability Officer have obtained the following education levels:


How Long Does it Take to Become a Chief Sustainability Officer?


Where do Chief Sustainability Officers Work?


The table below shows the approximate number of Chief Sustainability Officers employed by various industries.



Image Credit: Dave Dugdale via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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