CAREER DEVELOPMENT / NOV. 05, 2014
version 3, draft 3

How to Become an Environmental Economist in UK

Environmental economists help the public understand government environmental policies and the financial implications of making certain environmental decisions. Environmental policy does not always offer direct financial benefits to a company, thus environmental economists quantify it and help in the design and implementation of sustainable environmental decisions. Environmental economists apply mathematical techniques to quantify different environmental aspects often in consultation with other economists and environmental experts.

What Does an Environmental Economist in UK Do?

Your work as an environmental economist will involve tasks such as:

  • Study government policies on natural resources and their economic impact on businesses and institutions
  • Advice organizations and institutions on economically sustainable environmental policies
  • Conduct surveys and employ mathematical techniques to make forecasts on future environmental trends and their economic impact
  • Study the sustainability of different environmental trends
  • Formulate sustainable economic environmental policies
  • Challenge and call out policies that put the environment at risk
  • Study business decisions and policies and their environmental impact
  • Quantifying environmental decisions, their sustainability and try and improve their sustainability
  • Develop models and theories on environmental impact, often in collaboration with other professionals

Qualifications

The following qualifications prepare you for a career in environmental economics:

  • A multi-disciplinary bachelor’s degree with courses in economics, ecology, environmental science, management and quantitative mathematics
  • A master’s degree in economics, ecology or environmental studies
  • Experience gathering and analysing data

Skills

The following skills are necessary to pursue a successful career as an environmental economist:

  • Passion for economics and the environment
  • Logical thinking
  • Innovative and able to think outside the box
  • A close attention to detail
  • Comprehensive understanding of national and international environmental and economic principles
  • Data collection and analysis

Work Environment

You job is similar to that of an economist, but focused on the environment. You will work with the public, government, non-governmental institutions and in educational institutions. Your work will involve the study and analysis of an institution’s operations and policies to advise and help in implementation of a more environmentally friendly framework.

Depending on your contract, your work may require that you travel or spend time collecting data on the field. You will also help in the creation of sustainability policies in rural areas and in the education of more eco-friendly practices. Your job will lead to interactions with different professionals in society.

Salary

Entry level

£25,000 - £35,000

Intermediate level

£40,000

Successful

£50,000

Source: Prospects: Economist Salary and Conditions

Career Prospects

A career in environmental economics presents opportunities to work with different organisations within the country and abroad. You can specialize in environmental economics or on environmental policy, where you will sit on boards and policy-making institutions.

Alternatively, you can pursue graduate studies and work as a researcher or trainer in universities and colleges. You can also work as an environmental advocate, educating the public on sustainable environmental decisions and practices.

If you enjoy nature, environmental conservation and mathematics, you should consider combining the three by pursuing a career in environmental economics.

 

Image:  iStock

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