Skip to main content

Careers Spotlight: Working in Sustainability

6 December 2023

The United Nation’s definition of sustainability is “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” It has three pillars: environmental, social, and economic.

General sharers sustainability

Sustainability is a relatively new field emerging as a critical and dynamic field, reflecting the global commitment to address environmental challenges and promote responsible business practices. Professionals in sustainability play a pivotal role in steering organisations toward eco-friendly and socially responsible practices, aiming for a harmonious balance between economic development, social equity, and environmental conservation.

This career path encompasses a diverse range of roles, from sustainability analysts and consultants to renewable energy specialists and environmental engineers. Individuals pursuing sustainability careers often find themselves at the forefront of innovation, seeking creative solutions to reduce carbon footprints, minimize waste, and enhance resource efficiency. As companies increasingly recognize the importance of sustainable practices for long-term viability, the demand for skilled sustainability practitioners continues to grow across industries.

Humber 2030 vision

Humber 2030 Vision sets out the region’s ambitious plans for industrial decarbonisation.

You can download the document at

Sustainability professionals engage in research, policy development, and implementation strategies to guide businesses toward ethical and environmentally conscious decisions. They may collaborate with cross-functional teams, conduct life cycle assessments, and contribute to the development of corporate sustainability reports. A career in sustainability is not only a chance to make a positive impact on the planet but also an opportunity for personal and professional growth in a field that is continually evolving to meet the challenges of the future.

Here, we are talking to one such professional, Dr Meltem Yilmaz, Sustainability Specialist at Ineos Acetyls. We find out how she got into sustainability, what her challenges are, and what she enjoys about her work.

Meltem 1

Welcome, Meltem. Thank you for talking to us. First of all, please can you tell us what Ineos Acetyls do?

INEOS is a global producer of petrochemicals, specialty chemicals and energy. The products made by INEOS Acetyls in Hull are key building blocks for a huge range of industries we all rely upon in our everyday lives, including the renewable power, automotive, textile, pharmaceuticals and packaging sectors.  

I work in the Business Development and Sustainability team as a Sustainability Specialist. We have a critical role to play in the sustainability of the products we produce - we’re already a world leader in the low carbon manufacture of low carbon acetyls products, and we’ve established robust roadmaps to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.  

I joined the company after completing my PhD in Chemistry.  Feeling well-prepared to transition from the lab bench to industry, I wanted to use my skillset for a broader impact, and in my role as a Sustainability Specialist, I hope to contribute to the effort of mitigating climate change on a larger scale.  

What brought you to the Humber region?

The prospect of working in one of the UK’s largest industrial hubs was really exciting. As a chemist, being based on a chemical plant has given me a distinct appreciation for the immense scale and dedication required in producing vital chemicals that shape our daily lives.  

What do you enjoy about working in sustainability?

I love working to ensure our sustainability initiatives align with our core values, while making a positive contribution to society.  

A highlight of my role is making sure we stay at the forefront of these sustainability developments, global/regional legislation, and policies. Monitoring and interpreting these evolving policies is critical, given the significant transition towards a low-carbon economy.  

Meltem 2

What are the challenges you are faced with?

The undeniable truth is that the chemical sector is indeed a high emitter. However, our products serve as foundational building blocks in diverse sectors. Beyond their fundamental roles, these products play a pivotal part in the net-zero transition. For instance, they are used in the production of solar panel coatings, enhancing their durability. Solar energy is one of the key contributors to building renewable energy infrastructure. We are also working very hard on reducing our emissions and achieving our net-zero targets; it is vital we play our part in reducing emissions while remaining competitive and resilient in a low-carbon future. 

What advice would you give to other people looking to follow a career in sustainability? 

It’s a very dynamic industry, especially within the sustainability space. Working for a company with a strong sustainability agenda and in a role where I can have a significant influence on driving positive change toward a net zero future in a high-emissions chemicals sector is important to me.  

My advice is that you need to be open to new opportunities and be brave. Stay curious, proactive, and engage in conversations with people to learn more about their work. Having the right self-starter attitude and being self-motivated are just as important as having specialist knowledge. 

Talentplus banner 1