Green Technology

How to keep your passion burning with a career in ESG

By nature of our roles as sustainability professionals, we constantly find ourselves with people who don’t hold ESG issues to the same level of concern as we do. It’s an inevitability — we’ve dedicated our careers to it and so have a much more acute awareness of the problem and what we need do to change the course. It’s not therefore surprising that we regularly need to find ways to convey the significance of ESG issues and the duty of our job to find solutions to others, and on occasion face rebuttals and rejection when doing so.

While climate change and other ESG issues are not a new concept, the acceptance of accountability across corporates is and so progress is still relatively novel and slow. This can be frustrating for those of us who work in the space day in and day out.

Faced with this, how can we stay motivated so we can continue having the greatest impact possible, while also enjoying our work?

Look after your well-being

An initial place to start is always with yourself and your own well-being. Motivation is an emotion, therefore it’s easier to keep going — especially when something feels challenging — when you’re in a positive mind space. Invest in physical and mental well-being and scope out time away from your 9-to-5 to think about other things. Fighting for sustainability can feel all-encompassing at times, so giving yourself dedicated time to switch off can be extremely beneficial.

Find your tribe

Consistently facing questions about the integrity or purpose of your work can be draining, therefore surrounding yourself with people who support you both at work and outside of work is essential. Maintaining a support network of individuals who share similar beliefs and life goals, whether in a professional sense or just through a sustainable lifestyle, is a solid tactic to staying motivated as an ESG professional. It also creates an environment where celebrating achievements and discussing challenges is welcomed, which is needed to stay hopeful and positive about the profession.

Remind yourself why you started

Whether it’s on a post-it note or discussed with your inner circle, it’s helpful to remind yourself why you got into this role. Starting at the beginning can reignite the passion that might sometimes feel hard to harness.

Set internal goals — and celebrate when you conquer them

Climate change, sustainability and ESG are so broad that goal-setting can often focus on the decade or centuries long-term impact we want to see incur. The reality is that we can’t solve the climate crisis in five or 10 years, or it may never be solved at all. But people like us are working hard across the globe to make positive changes, every day. Work with that mantra while you set yourself goals to understand the impact of small wins. And make sure to celebrate them to keep motivation going.

Consistency is key

When you don’t feel like working, rest; when you feel ready; start again. It feels simple, but as purpose-driven, hard-working individuals, we sometimes forget that we have to refuel the tank at times in order for our output to remain consistent. Find a sustainable working style; if we go over our limit too often, burnout can be a reality. Work-life balance looks different for everyone, so listen to your body and mind and make your work schedule work for you.

Working within the sustainability field is both an honor and a challenge. Naysayers will always exist, and the need for everyone to work together to make the desired impact can sometimes feel impossible. But working for a purpose, which is far greater than any individual and dedicating your career to it is a significant feat. Be proud of your choices. Feed your brain and body with fuel and positivity. Reward yourself when things go right and surround yourself with a support network. It sounds cliché, but Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will stopping climate change — but the actions you take in a professional environment every day is making an impact. Don’t forget it.