Working for an Romanian Environmental Consultancy – Not Easy But Fascinating

In Romania, green consultancy field is still an emerging economic sector. Ciprian works in Cluj-Napoca as a socio-environmental expert. He focuses on social factors and how they affect the environment.

What is environmental sociology?

Socio-environmentalists not only research the impact of social factors on the environment, but also the opposite – how the environment affects various social matters.

“Environmental sociology, as I see it, is dealing with social implications of our environmental challenges. Thus, my job requires knowledge of both issues as well as the links between them” – says Ciprian. He admits that the success of the company he is working in, ”Green Partners” lays in this interdisciplinary approach.

His background bases on social sciences, environmental policy and education. “We develop and implement environmental projects for our clients – state authorities, private multinational companies, NGOs and CBOs.”

What does the job entail?

Green Partners” started in Hungary, but moved to Romania in 2001. Their main fields of expertise have been climate change, renewable energy, waste management, environmental and social impact assessment, environmental policy and environmental sociology.

Ciprian says that most of his projects are involved with things that have a social component, such as raising awareness, advocacy, policy making, and communication with people who are involved in the projects.

The bulk of the day consists of collecting and processing data, analyzing results, and communicating with project partners and coordinators. “2/3 of my working time requires site visits of our clients or active data collection in the field, for example among focus social groups. In each new project you need to acquire new information and new skills – it is a continuous learning process which requires a lot of attention and concentration.

To give an example, currently, I’ve been working on the social assessment for improving the water infrastructure system in Romania. As in any other European country, each region of Romania has a regional water operator – which is responsible for restoring and extending waste water treatment systems throughout the region. Before any water project starts, environmental and social assessments need to be done. The social assessment is focused on identifying the company’s and project’s impacts on society.”

What kinds of skills do you need for this job?

“Positive attitude,” says Ciprian. ”It is the base of all the good results in my career so far. Then, the positive attitude has to be backed up with strong, ever-improving socio-environmental knowledge. Of course, you also need soft skills like communication, the ability to be a good listener, and presentation and facilitation skills.

Green consultancy is still an emerging sector in Romania

“There are many international consulting companies which have opened subsidiary companies in here. Still, Romania lacks competent, Romanian-owned environmental consulting companies. Also, more environmental professionals are needed! This country is not an easy market; it’s not very well structured and thus difference from Western Europe. But as always, where the market is not yet saturated, there are also good opportunities.

“I had the chance to study abroad and work with various international and national consultants” says Ciprian “after getting some experience abroad, I came back to Romania – it turned out to be far more challenging and interesting. You have to deal with unpredictable situations, resistance, and with different mentalities. Combing the social, environmental and economic aspects in here has not been easy, but it’s been fascinating. Challenges drive your personal development. And besides, Romania is still a very nice place to work and live.”

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