Environmental Social and Governance Manager

Environmental social and governance (ESG) managers are pivotal in steering a company toward sustainable and ethical practices. They assess and integrate ESG criteria into business strategies, ensuring compliance with environmental laws, fostering social responsibility, and upholding governance standards. Their work supports long-term value creation and risk management, which is crucial for a company's reputation and success.

At a Glance

Imagine you are the new sustainability and environmental social and governance (ESG) strategy Manager at a renewable energy company, tasked with integrating ESG criteria into the company's operations to align with corporate objectives. You have a solid background in ethical governance, transparency, corporate social responsibility, and sustainability strategies, alongside skills in ESG reporting, regulatory compliance, and stakeholder engagement. The challenge is transparent but manageable.

Upon starting, you assess the company's current ESG practices, identifying areas for improvement in environmental reporting, compliance, and stakeholder communication. The renewable energy industry is competitive, and the company must leverage its ESG potential to attract investors and customers focused on sustainability.

You develop a comprehensive ESG framework, starting with analyzing existing data against industry standards. You develop a transparent reporting system showcasing the company's commitment to sustainability and ethical practices. The company strengthens its position in the market through improved regulatory compliance and enhanced stakeholder relations.

Your work contributes to refining the company's business model, making it more sustainable and profitable. Your work highlights the role of ESG management in aligning business operations with sustainability goals, highlighting the tangible impact achievable through dedicated effort and expertise in the field.

Job Duties

Job duties vary from one position to the next, but in general, environmental social and governance (ESG) managers are involved in the following activities:

  • Create and implement strategies that integrate ESG criteria into the company's business model and operations, aligning with overall corporate objectives.
  • Adhere to global reporting standards and prepare detailed reports on the company's sustainability initiatives, including progress on environmental targets, social contributions, and governance practices.
  • Communicate with shareholders, employees, customers, and the community to gather feedback and build consensus on ESG initiatives, enhancing transparency and stakeholder relations.
  • Ensure the company's operations comply with local, national, and international ESG-related regulations, preventing legal issues and penalties.
  • Identify and assess potential ESG risks to the company, developing strategies to mitigate these risks and protect the company's reputation and financial performance.
  • Oversee the planning, execution, and monitoring of sustainability projects, ensuring they meet objectives, deadlines, and budgets.
  • Evaluate the environmental impact of current and proposed operations, recommending practices or technologies to minimize adverse effects.
  • Develop and manage programs that support the company's social responsibility goals, such as community engagement, labour practices, and charitable giving.
  • Review and enhance governance structures and practices, including board diversity, executive pay, and ethical business conduct.
  • Organize training sessions for employees on ESG principles, encouraging a culture of sustainability and ethical behaviour within the organization.

Work Environment

Environmental social and governance (ESG) managers operate in the office and field. In each setting, individuals in this occupation carry out various duties.

The office:

  • Analyze data from company operations to evaluate sustainability performance, preparing ESG reports on progress, challenges, and future objectives for stakeholders and compliance needs.
  • Develop and update ESG policies to meet industry and regulatory standards, collaborating with legal and compliance teams for full business integration of ESG factors.
  • Create materials and presentations to showcase ESG efforts to investors, customers, and employees.
  • Host webinars and meetings for ESG discussions and stakeholder feedback.
  • Design and conduct ESG training for all organizational levels to promote a culture of sustainability and ethics, assessing and refining training effectiveness.
  • Collaborate with senior management to embed ESG principles in strategic planning, seeking ESG-driven innovation and competitive edges.
  • Lead cross-departmental sustainability projects aligned with ESG goals, monitoring and reporting project status, finances, and results to senior management.

The field:

  • Conduct evaluations at company sites to assess environmental and social practices, identify improvement areas, and recommend ESG performance enhancements.
  • Interact with communities to gauge concerns about company operations, developing programs that meet social responsibility goals.
  • Perform audits to verify field operations' adherence to environmental standards, document issues, and coordinate with managers for corrective action.
  • Evaluate suppliers' ESG practices during visits, ensuring they meet company sustainability criteria and offer support to enhance their ESG performance.
  • I lead assessments on projects, focusing on environmental and social effects. I collaborate with experts to minimize negative impacts and promote positive outcomes.
  • Manage field-based sustainability projects to track and adjust initiatives for optimal ESG results.

Where to Work

Environmental social and governance managers are employed across various sectors, encompassing government agencies, investment firms, non-governmental organizations, and consultancy firms such as:

  • Multinational corporations.
  • Environmental consultancies.
  • Financial institutions.
  • Government agencies.
  • Intergovernmental organizations.
  • Non-profit organizations.
  • Renewable energy companies.
  • Manufacturing firms.
  • Real estate and construction companies. •Research institutions and think tanks.
  • Environmental social and governance rating agencies.

Search for jobs on the ECO Canada Job Board.

Education and Skills


If you are considering a career as an environmental social and governance (ESG) manager, you should have a keen interest in:

  • Environmental sustainability and conservation.
  • Social justice and corporate responsibility.
  • Ethical governance and transparency in business.
  • Sustainable finance and investment practices.
  • Data analysis and reporting on sustainability metrics.

If you are a post-secondary student considering a career as an ESG manager, the following undergraduate programs are most applicable:

  • Environmental studies.
  • Sustainable Development.
  • Business administration with a focus on sustainability
  • Public Policy with a concentration in environmental policy.
  • Social science with courses in corporate social responsibility.

An undergraduate degree is typically required for an ESG manager who assesses and integrates ESG criteria into business strategies, ensuring compliance with environmental laws, fostering social responsibility, and upholding governance standards. A master's or doctoral degree can enhance your technical knowledge, skills, and leadership abilities to navigate complex regulatory environments and contribute to organizations' sustainability and social responsibility strategy. Relevant graduate programs include:

  • Environmental management.
  • Business administration in sustainability.
  • Sustainability studies.
  • Corporate social responsibility.
  • Public policy with a specialization in environmental policy.

In Canada, ESG managers may enhance their credentials and expertise through the following professional certifications. These certifications formally recognize expertise in essential areas of ESG and offer ongoing professional development to stay current on emerging trends and best practices.

  • Certified Sustainability Practitioner Program: Provided by the Centre for Sustainability and Excellence, this internationally recognized program equips professionals with skills to implement corporate social responsibility and sustainability strategies.
  • Certified Training Program: This program trains on the Global Reporting Initiative Standards for sustainable reporting, which is essential for ESG managers to create transparent reporting mechanisms.
  • Certified Sustainability Professional: The International Society of Sustainability Professionals offers this certification for those with a comprehensive understanding of sustainability and ESG practices and experience in executing sustainability initiatives.

Our Environmental Professional (EP) designation can also help you progress in your chosen environmental career.


Technical Skills

  • Environmental social and governance reporting and disclosure
  • Sustainability assessment tools
  • Regulatory compliance knowledge
  • Data analysis and metrics
  • Sustainable investment principles
  • Corporate social responsibility implementation
  • Stakeholder engagement strategies
  • Environmental management systems
  • Risk management
  • Project management

Personal and Professional Skills

  • Analytical thinking
  • Effective communication
  • Strategic planning
  • Leadership
  • Problem-solving
  • Adaptability
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Ethical judgment
  • Project management
  • Continuous learning

Environmental employers look for professionals who can combine technical knowledge with soft skills. Watch our free webinar Essential Not Optional: Skills Needed to Succeed in Canada’s Environmental Industry or take our Essential Skills courses.


Role Models

Your Impact

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) managers are pivotal in steering organizations toward sustainable and responsible business practices. By integrating ESG criteria into corporate strategies, this occupation promotes practices that reduce ecological footprints, enhance resource efficiency, and ensure the preservation of natural habitats.

It is inherently an environmental role as it focuses on evaluating and mitigating the environmental risks associated with business operations, advocating for sustainable resource use, and fostering biodiversity conservation. The sustainability impact of this role is profound, as ESG managers lead initiatives that aim for environmental protection and ensure that business practices are economically viable and socially responsible. They work towards minimizing waste and emissions, mitigating climate change issues, and promoting a circular economy.

Economically, they help companies navigate environmental and social trends' financial risks and opportunities, enhancing long-term profitability and stakeholder value. Socially, ESG managers drive positive change by promoting labour rights, community engagement, and ethical governance. Their work is critical in aligning business operations with sustainability principles, ensuring that organizations contribute positively to environmental conservation, economic resilience, and social well-being.

Occupational Classification

Environmental social and governance managers are classified into the following occupational groupings:

NOC Code: 00012 – Senior managers – financial, communications and other business services

NOC Code: 11201 – Professional occupations in business management consulting

NOC Code: 40011 – Government managers – economic analysis, policy development and program administration

The National Occupational Classification (NOC) provides a standardized language for describing the work performed by Canadians in the labour market. It gives statisticians, labour market analysts, career counsellors, employers, and individual job seekers a consistent way to collect data and describe and understand the nature of work within different occupations.

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