In April 2021 Inspire Selection launch of our Sustainability desk to support companies to recruit and build their Sustainability teams. Here we investigate what Sustainability means for organisations and why it is so important.

We talk to Damian Regan Assurance Leader for Sustainability from Deloitte Middle East, one of the regions leading voices on sustainability and Alexandra Scholes Head of Sustainability Recruitment for Inspire Selection about how companies start to build their sustainability processes and how candidates can use their transferable skills to find a job in Sustainability.

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What is Sustainability ?

A simple definition of Sustainability is ‘meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’. However, it does not just refer to natural resources, it also addresses social and economic resources.

Sustainability is often broken into four pillars or distinct areas – Human, Social, Economic and Environmental. It is also known as Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) or Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Companies are being asked more frequently to report on the Sustainability of their organisation. This is generally (and in very simple terms) through auditing their current practices across the four pillars, identifying a strategy and targets to work towards and reporting on the findings.

How do I prepare my organisation to look at sustainability?

Within the UAE, organisations are embracing Sustainability, whilst the market in the Middle East is less mature than the UK, USA and Europe, more companies are working towards identifying their route to becoming a more sustainable entity – be that as a producer, an employer or part of the community.

Deloitte’s recent research (The Future of the Chief Sustainability) showed that three conditions prompt an organisation to take Sustainability seriously (and therefore seek to employ a Chief Sustainability Officer):

1. The external environment is changing more quickly than the interior of the organisation, so it needs someone to help it adapt.

2. External stakeholder scrutiny is intensifying as are expectations on the organisation and it has not yet found a way to deliver within its current structure, executives, and governance frameworks.

3. The firm acknowledges that ESG risks are substantial enough to be strategic.

Damian Regan – Assurance Leader for Sustainability at Deliotte says:

“Often CSR starts with small initiatives (community volunteering, pro bono work, charity spending) and is often run by HR or Marketing. Over time this grows to carbon, water, waste, recycling reporting, diversity initiatives, green finance. This puts it outside the ability of most clients, and they must then invest in getting the right people to do this and oversee this. Hence the development of a new breed of professionals: CSR managers and Chief Sustainability Officers whose remit is wide typically with access to the company board. “

How do I find a job in Sustainability?

As well as employees with Sustainability experience, companies will need people with backgrounds in functions such as Accounting, Law, HR, Marketing and even Engineering.

Interestingly, Sustainable teams are often highly diverse, flexible and make use of remote working, almost a demonstration of what the company should look like and behave.  This opens doors to many employable people in the region who aren’t able to work full time in an office setting.

At Inspire Selection we are building our network of Sustainable Experts and those soon to be Sustainable Experts as well as organisations looking to expand their Sustainability Team. Connect with us here – Sustainability in the UAE and Middle East | Hosted by Inspire Selection



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