Though most employers aren’t adding jobs at a quick pace, positions tied to sustainability and renewable energy might be a bright spot.

A few large companies recently created positions for so-called chief sustainability officers, who report to the chief executive or chief operating officer, and are responsible for

making sure their companies save energy and are environmentally responsible. Some of these CSOs have beefed up hiring for “green” jobs.

In May, Coca-Cola Co. appointed a new chief sustainability officer and created an office of sustainability, tasked with overseeing the company’s efforts around areas such as recycling, water management and climate protection.

In the past two years, Coca-Cola accelerated its hiring related to green jobs across functions including sustainable the sourcing of ingredients and water efficiency, said a spokeswoman for the company.

United Parcel Service Inc. appointed its first chief sustainability officer in March, promoting vice president Scott Wicker.

In the past two years, the number of online job postings containing the keyword “sustainability” has more than quadrupled to 8,245 in May, according to, which aggregates online job postings. The number containing “wind” and “solar” more than doubled in the same time period.

Some of that growth might have come from the $800 billion economic stimulus package, about $100 billion of which was devoted to green-related projects, said Robert Pollin, a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Much money was devoted to helping companies retrofit buildings to be energy efficient, and according to Mr. Pollin’s research, every $1 million devoted to that task created about 17 jobs for the life of the project, he said.

Other jobs are tied directly to creating renewable energy. Tempe, Ariz.-based First Solar Inc., which makes solar-power equipment, has about 400 openings globally, said Matt Dills, vice president of human resources.

Over the next 18 months, the company also plans to hire another 1,200 employees for manufacturing plants in Vietnam and Mesa, Ariz.

Mr. Dills said their hires run the gamut from engineers and employees to staff their manufacturing plants, to IT workers and administrative support.

“The solar market is growing globally, and we think the U.S. is going to be a large market for us,” he said.

Other solar companies are also seeing rapid growth. Suniva Inc., a solar cell manufacturer in Norcross, Ga., is currently hiring for 11 positions, said chief marketing/commercial officer Bryan Ashley.

Since the beginning of the year, the company has hired 35 employees, including sales people and engineers, bringing them to about 210, he said.

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