An open letter to aspiring sustainability professionals in the Philippines


Since you opened this blog post – like me, you’re probably trying your best to start a sustainability career of your own. Whether it be on energy, waste, green cities, communications, etc., sustainability is very broad. In the Philippines, how much possible is a career on this field?

I’ve spoken with many people on what they think about the industry of sustainability careers in the country. People tell me that careers in this field are typically reserved for higher-up positions in corporate social responsibility and environmental organizations and institutions. It’s also very course-specific, such as environmental science and agriculture.

There is the notion that sustainability is mainly about the environment. For starters, there is no sure way to get into an entry-level sustainability career, because the field itself is still very young in the Philippines. It is not yet as developed, but we are learning more about it.

Let me be the one to say that you’re not alone, and like every aspiring sustainability professional, the field is, indeed, so vast and wide. There is so much to explore.

So where do we start?

Since sustainability careers aren’t as professionalized yet as we hoped them to be – in my thought – starting from the grassroots level is the best way to go.

Two of the ways I do this is by engaging in sustainability-related projects and reading related materials. Some of the projects I got involved with tackle social entrepreneurship, sustainable agriculture, peacebuilding, women empowerment, youth empowerment, and this blog, Triple Bottom Line. On the other hand, one of the main reading materials I’d recommend is, since it focuses on the Asian context of sustainability.

The process varies from person to person – these are just the ways which I personally find helpful.

Trish Kenlon, founder of Sustainable Career Pathways, provides a more general advice that I think is applicable in whatever context you are in. She lists down several reasons and tips and explains why it’s just ‘darn hard’ to launch a career in sustainability.

Just looking for a career in sustainability can be mentally exhausting. I find myself sifting through tons of local job openings and find ‘sustainability specialist’ as the most common one. Then again, however, these job openings are environment-focused.

I think it’s important to remember that to create a suitable industry for sustainability careers in the Philippines, it’s not always just about the environment. There are also the elements of culture, politics, and economics in sustainability. This is, however, a topic for another day.

Considering that the sustainability field is still very young in the Philippines, the only real way I can think of is for aspirants like me to explore until we find the ‘sweet spot’. With this, I’m wishing all of us the best. If you’re an aspiring sustainability professional yourself, message me and let’s talk about it.

Let’s take the conversation forward. Find out how we can collaborate for a sustainable future:

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