Will The Person In Charge of 'Stainable Development' Please Stand Up

How about the person in charge of Environmental Affairs? Green Design? Nope. You guys stay seated. For corporate environmental professionals, the reality show for the last decade has not been pleasant, marked by near-universal downsizing of corporate staffs in charge of such matters. Those who started their careers around the first Earth Day, for example, have mostly been RIF'd or retired. Until very recently, if you were looking for a higher level position with environmental responsibilities, recruiters would typically point to slots in remedial engineering, otherwise known as environmental archeology: all backyard work. That's changing. With stockholders and customers pressuring US companies to green up the front yard a bit and take the longer view, and with rumblings in Congress about carbon caps and such, green Veeps are back in evidence. Ford, for example, recently announced it has a "Senior Vice President, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering." Unbelievably, we even saw an internet ad by Aramark Corp. for two Associate VP of Sustainable Development slots. (Advertising publicly for VPs would seem to indicate an imbalance in talent supply and demand.) How will such new executives insert long lasting green genes into the business unit DNA? EPA won't be around to make the stain stick. Adding big support staffs seems unlikely. So, they'll just have to look for ideas from TreeHugger of course! Why "stainable development?" We thought it might be easier for Federal Officials and Pundits to pronounce. Image credit: United Nations

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