Climate change is one of the defining issues of our time, and as a climate company, your hiring decisions can make a huge impact. That's why we're excited to launch our new Climate Hiring Playbook! It's packed with everything you need to know about finding, attracting, and hiring top climate talent.
So to start, let's talk about what inspired me to become "climate concerned." Well, I guess it's more complicated than that — I've always been climate concerned. I grew up fully immersed in the outdoors — hiking, camping, climbing, etc. I truly believe that there's a strong correlation between a connection to nature and an environmental passion. It's an instinct for me to see environmental degradation and immediately — maybe even subconsciously — connect that to my love for the outdoors.
I thought this was a "normal" thing for everyone, however, after accepting an internship at the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter while at university I quickly learned that that was simply my privilege speaking. After having this realization, I committed to learning as much as I possibly could about the complex issues that coincide with climate change — environmental justice, environmental racism, lack of environmental education, racial/cultural/economic divides within adventure sports, etc. The list goes on and on.
More recently, I've transitioned to more of a focus on ClimateTech. This space really prioritizes environmental optimism, something I feel very passionately about. There's so much room for opportunity and growth in ClimateTech and it allows us to have a solutions-oriented mindset.
So what even is ClimateTech?
Due to its recent emergence and rapidly changing landscape, there are countless definitions of ClimateTech. Essentially, any technological service — whether that be software as a service, a web-based tool, a physical satellite, etc. — that works to eliminate/remove, repurpose and/or reduce the harms of carbon emissions can be considered a ClimateTech product. These innovative technologies can be industry-specific or more general. Climate technologies work to decarbonize production, reduce waste, and rewrite the traditional framework of sectors such as industry, transportation, food, buildings, energy, carbon solutions, and climate systems. There are three unique categories within ClimateTech: Greenhouse Gas Mitigation, Climate Adaptation & Resiliency, and Carbon Removal.
Greenhouse Gas Mitigation is any technology that actively works to alleviate carbon in the atmosphere. This is your electric vehicles, solar panels, building materials, etc. A more niche example is a company that Climate People works with called Indigo Ag. They provide a marketplace for crop growers and buyers. All the farmers on the network practice regenerative agriculture. Meaning, their farming practices actively restore soil quality, biodiversity, ecosystem health, and water quality. Regenerative farming practices produce healthier and better foods with less water to increase soil health and naturally draw down carbon.
Climate Adaptation & Resiliency is any technology that reduces the inevitable harms of climate change. Traditional examples of Climate Adaptation are sensors that detect pollution, weather-resistant roofs, fire-resistant building materials, etc. Another niche adaptation company that Climate People works with is Salient Predictions. They are a weather artificial intelligence company that uses ocean data and machine learning to predict weather patterns from three weeks to an entire year out. Currently, there is a big disconnect between meteorologists and climate scientists and Salient Prediction's technology works to fill this gap. The information they provide can be used across multiple different industries. For example, farmers want to know what their crop season will be like and energy companies want to know how the rain is going to affect their energy pricing. This is an exceptional advancement because it helps us move to more renewables-based energy production.
Carbon Removal is any technology that actively removes, repurposes, and/or stores carbon from the atmosphere. A great example of Carbon Removal is a company called Aether Diamonds. They make diamonds out of captured carbon, helping to rewrite the jewelry industry and make it more sustainable.
What Constitutes a Climate Role?
When talking about jobs in climate it's so much broader than a solar panel or a wind turbine. I encourage you to think of every job as a "climate role." This is the very basis of ClimateTech — it's all about reinventing the traditional ways that we do everything. With Biden's "aggressive national commitment to electrification" there will be 15 million good-paying American jobs by the end of 2025. So a climate job can be anything from, yes, a wind turbine technician, to a construction engineer, and everything in between.
Let's dive deeper into that construction engineering firm example I just provided. On average, construction emissions account for 39% of all carbon emissions in the world. Engineers can act as the link between the idea and the implementation of green building practices. These engineers are seeing first-hand the problem and the possibility. These engineers, directly and indirectly, have the ability to impact the carbon emissions of these buildings.
If we take this one step further, we can critically examine the embodied carbon that's going into these buildings. Embodied carbon is essentially any CO2 that's emitted in producing materials — these engineers know all about this. These buildings need a heating system, energy source, cement, lighting, glass, etc. There are countless ways to make these buildings more carbon-smart, let's take inventive glass for example. This glass needs to be produced, manufactured, scaled, distributed, sold, and installed. I argue that every step along that process can be a climate job. So, yes, the engineer behind the inventive glass is working in a climate role, but so is the marketing professional, the salesperson, the delivery driver, and the installation technician.
How Do I Get A Climate Job?
This is the fun part! It's all about putting yourself out there, networking, forming genuine connections, and selling yourself as part of the solution. We've said it time and time again, but applying for jobs is more of an art than it is a science. It's on you to discover your unique value add and sell that as the main reason you'd be a great hire. The beautiful thing about the ClimateTech industry is the sheer fact that we're all working towards the same common goal. The more people we have using their skillset for good, the greater impact we can make.
I encourage you to update your LinkedIn, ensure your cover letter is up to date, and update your resume to have your skills and experience reflect the exact job that you're applying for. Remember, the more you optimize your portfolio and prepare, the more likely it is that a recruiter will reach out to you.
Lastly, and most importantly, you need to network! Networking has been proven to exponentially increase your chances of landing a job. In an industry as niche as ClimateTech, this stat reigns even more true. Join slack communities and hold yourself accountable for introducing yourself to at least three people a month. A simple "coffee chat" can bring an immense amount of value to your job search.
Climate People is a technology recruiting firm dedicated to decarbonizing the economy through placing mission-driven talent into ClimateTech careers. We focus on software, data, product, and user experience recruitment in various sectors. Our team is driven by impact, we're optimistic for the future but realistic that we’re all in a race against time to combat climate change. Delivering hiring solutions quickly is core to our DNA. Whether you’re a hiring manager looking for top talent, an ambitious job seeker looking for your next role, or just want to chat, we have the resources for you. Be sure to head over to climatepeople.com for more information, or reach out to me at email@example.com!