green economy

How climate change will transform business and the workforce

Companies must act quickly to shift their businesses to be more environmentally-friendly.

In October 2018, the UN released a special report on the impacts of global warming along with an alarming warning for the world: we have just 12 years to act before we experience irreversible damage. The news sparked action from governments and organizations around the world.

The impact of climate change goes beyond the environment and will have economic consequences as well. An often-overlooked area that climate change will transform is the workforce.  Companies must act quickly to shift their businesses to be more environmentally-friendly. From sustainable fashion designers to urban farmers and offshore wind engineers, climate change requires businesses to rethink traditional job roles and value workers with green skills.

What are green skills?

The European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP) defines them as the “knowledge, abilities, values and attitudes needed to live in, develop and support a sustainable and resource-efficient society.” Specifically, the CEDEFOP has identified green skills necessary in the UK as skills that support: resource efficiency; the low carbon industry; climate resilience; and skills to protect and manage natural assets. Put simply, green skills will be needed by all sectors and at all levels in the workforce.

In a 2017 BBC article, Andrew Winston, author of The Big Pivot: Radically Practical Strategies for a Hotter, Scarcer, and More Open World, said “everyone is going to need to understand climate change the same way you’d assume everyone in business needs to have some fluency in social media today.”

Green jobs are hot

While we don’t exactly know how climate change will impact all industries, we are already seeing increased demand for green jobs. National Geographic lists urban farmers, clean car engineers and solar cell technicians as some the fastest growing green jobs today.

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