While the glimmer and spotlight on green jobs may have faded in the minds of some in the media, the green/clean/sustainable economy continues to grow. In 2010 clean tech investing by venture capitalists totaled $4 billion, an 8 % increase. Venture capitalists were not the only deep pocket investors in 2010. The Department of Energy also invested millions clean energy. Among major corporations, General Electric has or will be investing $10 billion in their Ecomagination sector over the few years.
All of this investment and funding is having an effect. It may not be happening as fast as many of would like it to be, but there are companies moving forward and hiring. One of the keys to getting hired and moving up is having the drive and desire to make a difference.
Take the case of Cheri Chastain, hired as a part-time recycling assistant in 2006 at Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico, California. A short time later she was promoted to recycling coordinator where she continue to track data about the amount of waste that was being diverted from landfills. By making a strong business case for recycling and sustainability, Chastain was promoted to Sustainability Coordinator, a position she wrote the job description for. Under Chastain's leadership, Sierra Nevada has installed solar panels and fuel cells to guarantee continuous power to the plant. They now get 85% of their power from renewable sources. Sierra Nevada has diverted 30,000 tons of waste from the landfill, saving $4.7 million in fees, money that can be used for employee benefits, update equipment and philanthropic involvement. Nearly 99% of the production waste and byproducts produced by the plant is recycled, including the oil used to cook the french fries in the on-site visitor restaurant. (It is used as transportation fuel.) "Closing the loop" is Chastain's mantra.
All of this effort has not gone unnoticed. The EPA named Sierra Nevada one of their Green Businesses of theYear.
By being enthusiastic and passionate about sustainability and working for a owner that valued the environment, Cheri was able to quickly move up the green ladder.