How to start a career in climate

Cloud in the sky
Raphael GüllerCofounder and CPO
CarbonESGTech & IT
23 March 2023

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing our planet today, and many people are looking for ways to make a difference in this critical area. Starting a career in climate can be a great way to do just that. But it can be hard to know where to start. Our Cofounder and CDO Raphael Güller offers some useful tips.

I often get asked how I transitioned my career over to climate.

It’s such a complex, dynamic space. You might think that it’s all science and nerdy technology. And your skills, knowledge and experiences won't be relevant. All those sunk costs! And what are the chances you’ll succeed anyway?

But the fact is: Climate is a multidisciplinary systemic problem. And we need everyone – every industry, every profession, every demographic to chip in to make the transition work. 

Take myself as an example. Just over three years ago, I had never heard of the GHG Protocol or Science Based Targets (shame on me!). Fast forward to today, and Sweep is helping ever more companies reduce emissions at scale and fight climate change. 

I’ve not gone back to university to get a master's degree in environmental science or civil engineering. But I’ve found a way to transfer my skills to this new space and build my niche. You can do the same.

Three paths to make your job about fixing climate change

I would say there are three ways you can make your 9 to 5 about fighting climate change.

1. Change career

Out with the old, in with the new. This is the nuclear option (or a wonderful choice if you are at the beginning of your professional life). You go back to education and learn a completely new trade. 

There is definitely a lot of opportunity for climate scientists or environmental engineers to develop whole new technological solutions (like finding ways to absorb carbon from the atmosphere or developing mushroom-based construction materials). 

Or you might decide to study climate change and become a consultant, helping other businesses get started on their decarbonization and sustainability journeys – another great career path.

2. Use your skills for a climate business

There is such a broad spectrum of organizations working on climate change these days, meaning that there are endless career paths.

From fashion businesses using more sustainable materials, to software companies like Sweep developing tools to manage the green transition, climate is no longer just hard technology. And even those techie businesses need accountants, recruiters and marketers. 

So, rather than start over, you could put your work experience to use for a business whose mission it is to make a difference.

3. Become a climate champion in your current role

The easiest way to get started is to dedicate time to bringing climate awareness and change to your current business environment or network.

I would argue that this can be as powerful as the options above, because we really need every single business out there to change.

For example, start an employee resource group and empower your colleagues to make a difference in their daily work. From product design to procurement, to finance to operations – every decision you make can increase or reduce your emissions, and lead to sustainable business practices.  

Or start a community of professionals in your field and help each other create change at work, like Lawyers for Net Zero started by Adam Woodhall.

Resources to get you started


Starting out totally fresh? Here are my very personal favorites to get a first overview.

📗 The Future We Chose

Author Christina Figueres is a wonderful figurehead of the international climate movement. Her powerful book perfectly summarizes what we’re up against, and makes a good case why carbon is as much opportunity as it is a risk. I’ve gifted this to lots of people.

📚 Sweep Library

Our Library contains guides and whitepapers on pretty much every carbon and ESG topic. Start off with some basics, including the science behind climate change, why 1.5 degrees, and how to manage emissions as a business. Once you feel ready, go deeper by learning about all the standards and regulations, or ramp up on the big discussions, for example if offsets are good or not.

📕 Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making

Not strictly climate, but Tony Fadell’s book is full of great advice for anyone looking to build things that make a difference. It’s an empowering read. And all its proceeds go to a fund supporting climate ventures. (Disclosure: Tony is also an investor in Sweep).


🔈 My Climate Journey

This was our number one resource when my cofounders and I started to search for our climate niche. We’d often discuss the episodes together and it really was a big driver that helped us find our own angle to adressing the climate problem.

📰 Bloomberg Green

From the Guardian to the New York Times or the Economist, most major news orgs have great climate writing. My favorite is Bloomberg Green. The email newsletter is the perfect way to stay informed, and so is lead writer Akshat Rathi’s Twitter feed.

📰 Inside Climate News

This is a Pulitzer Prize-winning, nonprofit news organization that provides regular updates on climate science, environmental engineering, renewable energy and more. There are several different newsletters to sign up to, depending on your key area of interest.


💬 My Climate Journey slack channel

The podcast mentioned above also has a community with a Slack channel. It’s a vibrant place to connect with other climate folks. And it’s run by the charming Leone Baron, shoutout!

🎓 University of Cambridge course

Lots of universities now offer (online) courses that help you ramp up quickly. For example this one from the University of Cambridge that is designed for a change agent inside an organization who wants to do more on climate. A few Sweepers took this one and found it useful. 

🤝 Sweep events

From small network gatherings where you can connect on specific topics, to our yearly user conference Climate Compass, there are many ways to connect to the wider Sweep network.

Climate careers

If you're looking to embark on a climate career, here are some top places to start. Explore the many job opportunities – and you'll quickly find that you don't have to be a climate scientist or environmental lawyer.

Now just start

As with anything, the best is to just start. It can be small. A first step. A first success.

Then hang in there. We overestimate how much progress we can make in a few months, and underestimate how far we can get in just a few years.

Thanks for addressing the climate crisis and caring about a better future.

How Sweep can help

⁠Our Library is full of climate knowledge, from the basics about corporate climate action to our Contributions whitepaper.

⁠Doesn’t matter if you’re the CEO, or work in CSR, Procurement, Finance or IT. You have a role to play in helping your organization decarbonise. Sweep is here to help.

⁠Interested in transferring your skills? From designers to developers, we are hiring. Browse our open roles here. Perhaps you'll find your perfect climate change career with Sweep?

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