THE GROWING concern about the impact companies are having on the environment has spawned many career opportunities and courses in corporate environmental governance. This is an active process where companies show stakeholders, such as employees, consumers and society that they operate in a safe and environmentally sustainable manner. Companies are being pressured by their stakeholders to be socially responsible, said Richard Welford, programme director of the master of social sciences in corporate environmental governance at the University of Hong Kong. Improved corporate environmental governance can create various benefits for companies. These include a lower risk of causing environmental damage, efficient use of resources, improved perceptions by stakeholders, development of a positive brand image, a better reputation and enhanced public confidence. The University of Hong Kong offers a master's degree in corporate environmental governance. The course aims to expose students to the tools and techniques of corporate environmental management. 'Environmental management is looking at how we manage resources and looks at the life cycle assessment of products, waste management and energy management,' Dr Welford said. According to him, there is a need to train young people in leadership, management and interpersonal skills. A recent project that students of the corporate governance course undertook involved the new cable car project at Tung Chung. 'A biodiversity assessment was carried out to make sure the project, during the construction phase, did not affect streams containing unusual species. In the end, a stream had to be diverted,' Dr Welford said. He said career opportunities, either as consultants or working for large firms, were excellent for candidates who had relevant technical skills, such as a science background supported by corporate social responsibility skills.