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Investing In Future: Developing Green Skills For Tomorrow’s Workforce

“As we navigate the challenges of climate change and environmental sustainability, the urgency of developing green skills is increasing rapidly,” writes Ramnath Vaidyanathan, AVP and Head – Environmental Sustainability, Godrej Industries

If you ask a teenager what they think will be the most-in-demand jobs in the next five years, you will most likely hear the terms Artificial Intelligence (AI), data science, Web 3 or even being a YouTuber or an influencer. The nature of work and jobs are changing rapidly and it is highly likely that you are doing a job right now that didn’t exist 20 years ago.

A report by Dell predicts that in 2030, about 85 per cent of us in work will be doing jobs that don’t exist yet. While on one hand, automation, technology and AI will make many jobs redundant, they will also open up opportunities in managing these technologies. While this subject has been explored at length, what has not been discussed as much is jobs linked to mitigating, adapting to or reversing the impact of climate change, which is another pressing concern today.

Governments and businesses are dedicating considerable resources to the transition to a low-carbon future, including investment in the skills and manpower required to achieve this critical just transition. According to a report by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the global transition to a green economy could create 24 million new jobs by 2030.

Already, Green talent in the workforce has grown almost 40% in the last seven years,spanning skills such as proficiency in carbon accounting, carbon credits & markets, emissions reduction, impact assessment, and sustainability reporting among others. However, around the world, only one in eight workers has one or more green skills. Here are three ways we can bridge this supply-demand gap and ensure we move towards a green economy –

Upskilling In Green

Companies need to invest in upskilling and training employees on sustainable technologies. The sustainability sector is rapidly evolving and existing roles can be enhanced with green skills even though they aren’t traditionally “green” jobs. For example, the logistics team, responsible for planning the movement of goods in the supply chain, can be trained in sustainable transportation practices such as adopting electric vehicles, using biodiesel or ethanol blends, and optimising routes for operational and fuel efficiency.

This will reduce fuel costs, increase savings and in turn reduce the company’s carbon footprint. Green upskilling can add sustainability to an employee’s toolkit without major disruptions in ways of working. These transitions are organic and they help the company retain top talent and achieve its sustainability targets

Incentivising Employees

Performance evaluations are structured frameworks for assessing employee contribution and incentivising them, financially and otherwise, on their performance. Including specific and defined green targets linked to each relevant KRA can incentivise employees to make green objectives an integral part of their job responsibilities.

Many people assume these sorts of green goals can only be set for core manufacturing roles but this is not true. For example, Research and Development (R&D) teams can be given goals to create new “greener” products or reduce the environmental footprint of existing products. Embedding sustainability in the goals of all relevant stakeholders enables quicker buy-in, greater accountability and an acceleration in achieving sustainability goals.

Partnering With Industry Associations

Industry partnerships can play an important role in building green skills for the future and fostering a sustainable workforce. One way to do this is by adopting and supporting training curriculums that encourage green skill development. Industry associations  organize workshops, seminars, and training sessions in collaboration with industry experts. They ensure training programmes align with industry needs. Being a part of these will ensure you provide industry-specific training that builds practical skills.

Companies can also partner to facilitate recognised certification programmes that validate an individual’s green skills. Further, companies can also partner to establish apprenticeship programmes. Students can learn on the job and acquire green skills under the company’s expert guidance bridging the gap between theory and practice. With these efforts, companies will get access to a talent pool with relevant expertise in green skills.

As we navigate the challenges of climate change and environmental sustainability, the urgency of developing green skills is increasing rapidly. By investing in green skills development today, we are laying the foundation for a greener tomorrow. This presents us with an opportunity to shape the future of work in a way that is both sustainable and prosperous. Commitment to sustainability and green skills is not just a matter of corporate responsibility but a strategic imperative that holds the key to long-term success and profits.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors’ and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

About the author: The author of the article- Ramnath Vaidyanathan is the Assistant Vice President (AVP) and Head- Environmental Sustainability at Godrej Industries,

Investing In Future: Developing Green Skills For Tomorrow’s Workforce

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