As government and businesses seek to reduce industry's ecological footprint, companies are increasingly turning to environmental studies graduates and postgraduates to create and implement appropriate policies. A recent US government survey shows the international environmental market is worth about US$300 billion, with double-digit growth expected in Asia and Latin America over the next five years. The US is the world's largest environmental market, but the growth rate has slowed compared with countries such as China. Growing public awareness of environmental problems that related to the recent Sars outbreak is another factor driving growth. Gail Kendall, China Light and Power (CLP) group director for environment, said such employment opportunities would continue to grow as best environmental practices were incorporated into companies' business strategies. 'Good environmental and social practice is not a burden on business. It is a valuable asset with a direct impact on an organisation's bottom line,' Ms Kendall said. CLP has recently employed two new senior environmental managers to bolster its environmental operations. Last year it spent more than 15,000 man-hours on employee environmental education, equivalent to four days for each member of staff. 'This type of intensive training and commitment to operational integrity and environmental issues will ensure that there is an ongoing demand for postgraduate-level environmental professionals,' Ms Kendal said. Glenn Frommer, MTR Corporation sustainability development manager, says strengthened government schedules on indoor air quality and noise reduction would require more environmental professionals to manage the challenges. MTRC operates a scheme that allows postgraduate students to gain hands-on experience with the company. 'Postgraduate students work on important projects that have significant relevance to the railway and the community as a whole,' Mr Frommer said. Bill Kentrup, director of Noble Environmental Solutions (NES), said postgraduate environmental programmes helped to prepare students for a wide range of careers. 'Many labour market experts predict that environmental industries will be a major source of new jobs in the next decade,' said Mr Kentrup, a marine environmental scientist.