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Job Descriptions for Sustainability Officers

April 8, 2015
Recently, a colleague advised me that her office planned to appoint a sustainability officer and had assigned her the task of drafting a job description.  I offered to provide her with some sample duty statements.  It occurs to me that GWG should be a resource to locate examples of the range of responsibilities that a sustainability officer can undertake.  Over the course of time, GWG will add descriptions to our Resources tab, By the Categories—Administrative Stuff and we’ll make of note of new additions in ongoing columns.
The first one is my job description when our Office established our “sustainability officer”.  This accounted for about 30% of a full-time position.  The function reported to the director of Administration and did not have policy-making authority, but was expected to formulate policy recommendations and coordinate implementation of decisions.  I consider this description to reflect a good beginning for an office.  As we post up other examples, readers will find that the scope of authority and responsibility and accountability for results varies among those sharing the title “sustainability officer”.
Chair, Department Green Committee
In concert with the Attorney General’s Office commitment to address the threat of global warming and emerging efforts on a statewide level to expand environmentally sound business practices, the Department of Justice is taking a leadership role to adopt and modify policies and procedures consistent with the goals of conserving and protecting our natural resources and averting the serious consequences of climate change.  The Green Committee is established to consider and make recommendations on policy, program, and procedures to help ensure the Department’s compliance with relevant laws and identify opportunities to improve our environmental performance.  The charter signed by the Chief Deputy sets forth the deliverables from the department committee:
A. Policy recommendations—e.g. conversion to 100% post-consumer content/process chlorine-free paper, installation of energy conservation software for PCs, changing default printer settings to duplex to reduce paper use.
B.  Projects—e.g. recommending actions and initiatives that promote sustainability, such as increasing availability of recycle bins in offices and expanding re-use centers for supplies and equipment.
C.  Procedural changes—e.g. establishing procurement priority for green products and vendors, changing from paper to electronic filing systems.
D.  Educational/informational materials—e.g. information on employee commute options, community agencies that accept surplus computer and electronic equipment and supplies, Earth Day events, Green Intranet pages, monthly newsletter columns, Green topics in employee orientation and training.
E.  Promotional events—e.g. sustainability table at annual health and benefits fair, sales of sustainable products for charity and office fundraisers, Green theme for Bring your child to work Days.
F.  Annual report to the Attorney General and Executive staff which will be published on the public Internet of the department.
G.  Forum for communication among Department employees regarding sustainability.

The Sustainability Officer serves as Chair of the committee taking on the role of organizing and establishing local office committees in legal and other major Department office locations as well as the departmental Committee.  Chairs the meetings and ensures the above deliverables are accomplished.  Manages group interaction and helps guide the team members.  Seeks assistance and advice from internal and external experts on issues and initiatives.  Coordinates with Administrative division managers and other Department managers responsible for execution of Green objectives to ensure progress is occurring and goals are on target.  Keeps team on task and focused.  Assists team in conducting work—providing discussion tools as needed.  Provides reports on team activities to Chief Deputy, Administrative division director, and Department division chiefs.  Makes presentations and represents Department before external groups and organizations.  Read more.

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