Environmental Reporting takes a data centric approach that helps divulge critical information about an organization’s environmental impact through accountability and transparency !
Shuchita Jain, our next pathbreaker, Sustainability Consultant, works with clients to calculate and reduce their carbon emissions as well as helps them to build a sustainability report on the same as per legal requirements.
Shuchita talks Shyam Krishnamurthy from the The Interview Portal about the immense opportunities for carbon mitigation and sustainability accounting through data driven methodologies.
For students, we can all play a part in making this world a better place not only through a change in our lifestyles but also through better processes and frameworks that help organizations make a positive impact on the society !
Shuchita, tell us about your growing up years?
I was born and brought up in the city of Agra. As a child, I loved animals and the environment. Though I didn’t quite know exactly what I would do, I knew that my passion lies in making this world a better place. My father is a doctor and my mother a homemaker. I chose science as my stream to give my dreams an initial shape as I knew by choosing science I could pursue various careers in the environmental field.
What did you do for graduation/ post graduation?
I pursued a BTech in Electrical & Electronics for my graduation as my parents said that it is a core field and there would be more opportunities in the same going forward. During my course of engineering, I knew that I am not passionate about this field and would not be happy making a career going forward. After completing BTech, I pursued Master’s in Environmental Science & Engineering from BIT Mesra. It was the best decision I ever made. I loved what I studied and effortlessly excelled in it. From my experience, always find work in your passion. When you pursue a career in what you love, you not only excel but also are happy. It gives you more job satisfaction than anything else.
What made you choose such an offbeat, unconventional and unique career?
My initial trigger was my love for animals. I just knew I wanted to save the world and biodiversity. Through the course of my studies I found out what all can be done. I am still figuring out all the new career pathways that lie ahead of me and shaping my career path as I pick up new interests in my field. It is important to keep learning and upgrading your skills, that is the key to having a fulfilling career, and success follows!
How did you plan the steps to get into the career you wanted? Or how did you make a transition to a new career? Tell us about your career path
After BTech, I got a job in TCS as a software engineer. I joined TCS and not only started working but also started simultaneously preparing for MTech in Environmental Science. Once I got admission, I learnt what I loved and after completing MTech I joined WSP which is an infrastructure design consultancy.
The first role I got was to design utility networks. As there are many pathways when you do environmental engineering, this is the first one I got introduced to. Then I came across an opportunity in the same company and switched to the UK Environment team where I was closer to the type of work I wanted to do. In this team I did environmental reporting to assess whether it is ok to go ahead with a building development project as long as it is not affecting the protected species and sites in the United Kingdom. I took the first relevant opportunity I got when I graduated, but then discovered my interests while working for the company and kept moving through various teams.
I am currently a Sustainability Consultant and I do carbon accounting and sustainability reporting. I learn something new everyday. I chose this area as I know the job market for carbon accounting and sustainability is very big right now and for the next decade or two, is going to be on the rise.
How did you get your first break?
I got my first job at WSP through networking. I believe networking is the key to getting a job. Always build a strong network of seniors who can refer you.
What were some of the challenges you faced? How did you address them?
Challenge 1: There are many people looking for a job as a graduate. When you reach out to people via email or Linkedin you don’t always get a response. Reach out to people through mutual contacts- that gets you more responses.
Challenge 2: There are not as many jobs in an unconventional field as you would find in the IT industry, etc. It is important to have a strong network of people. It not only helps in getting the first job but also to switch jobs when you need to.
Challenge 3: Build an impressive resume and compelling story. It is important not only to show all technical skills on the resume but also to have the right attitude. Most hiring managers test if you have the right attitude and can learn on the job. It’s not important to have all the technical skills, but it’s important to show that you are willing to learn.
Where do you work now? What problems do you solve?
I work for a sustainability consulting firm in the United States as a Sustainability consultant. I help clients calculate their carbon emissions and to reduce their emissions. I also help them to build a sustainability report on the same as per the legal requirements. You need to know how to calculate carbon emissions as per the GHG protocol and have knowledge about various sustainability frameworks such as GRI, TCFD, CDP, etc. I acquired skills through reading all the guidance documents available online and also through a few projects that I got a chance to work on initially.
What’s a typical day like?
A typical day involves talking to clients about their goals in terms of carbon emissions reduction and then looking at the data needed to calculate it. I help clients fill the gap between their ambition and action. I love that I am instrumental in saving the world in some way.
How does your work benefit society?
I help companies reduce their carbon emissions and to limit temperature rise as per the Paris Agreement and it aligns with my dream to make this world a better place which gives me a lot of satisfaction.
Tell us an example of a specific memorable work you did that is very close to you!
I got to work on a project where I was to calculate the carbon emissions of the company I was working with. It was the project that raised my interest in the work that I am doing now. It was also the project that I worked on right from the beginning through the end. Seeing things progress and having tangible outputs from the same gives a lot of satisfaction. I spread environmental awareness throughout the organization to make employees understand how they can adopt more sustainable lifestyles. Not only that, we eliminated single use plastics and paper cups from our offices to reduce our waste and carbon emissions. This project is very close to me as I helped the organization make a positive impact on the society.
Your advice to students based on your experience?
My advice to students is to find their passion. Once you find what you love, align your career to the same. Success will definitely follow.
I plan to keep following my interests and passion, learn something new every day and grow in my career.