My child wants to pursue economics with sustainable development. What are the career opportunities and the best universities for this?

Sustainable development has been the subject of various discussions and forums of late.

Economic growth is affected by variables like land, labour, natural environment and capital. Sustainable development means managing these resources efficiently without depleting them for future generations. For this, it is necessary to ensure present growth provides for an all-inclusive social progress programme, effective protection of the environment and prudent use of natural resources.

Considering 20 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions are a result of deforestation and degradation, it has now become necessary to decouple economic growth with the environment. This decoupling becomes apparent when we consider that since 2000 over a million people have died due to natural disasters, two billion affected and nearly a trillion dollars lost in damages. It is therefore critical for economists and ecologists to advise governments on policy and procedures that ensure present economic growth is not inimical to society or to future generations.

With such policies and procedures becoming a statutory requirement for every sector, be it construction, auto, energy or health, the career opportunities in the field of sustainable development are bound to increase. According to the International Labour Organization a greener economy would, by 2030, bring about 24 million jobs globally.

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Consultants, advisers, researchers, environmental economists and certification specialists are some of the jobs this sector would create. These people would be hired by either government or government-backed committees and organisations. Environmental economists would research, analyse ecology and economy data and trends to come up with economic theories. They would consult with industries, policy makers and other stakeholders to draft policies best suited for present and future generations.

With so much to study and understand, an option would be to study Economics at undergraduate level and specialise in sustainable development at Masters level.

In the UK, the University of Warwick offers a course in economic studies and global sustainable development. Other universities are Loughborough, De Montfort, Kings College and Plymouth. On the other side of the Atlantic, Universities like UCL, Presidio, MIT, Michigan, Cornell, Yale and Duquesne are some names that offer a graduate degree in this programme.

Sanjeev Verma is an international education counsellor. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to