Sustainable training for the future.

Are organisations and their L&D providers prepared to meet increased sustainability training needs?

An International Energy Agency (IEA) report, released in September 2022, found that the number of jobs in green energy has overtaken those in fossil fuels. This shift reflects the ideals of sustainability that are becoming more prevalent across the globe – particularly among younger generations.

Meanwhile, Deloitte’s 2022 Gen Z and Millennial survey notes that people from younger generations want to see organisations making positive climate action a priority, by taking actions that allow their employees to get involved in combatting climate change. This report highlights that Gen Zs and Millennials feel employee sustainability training is a critical aspect of organisational climate action.

Both the IEA and the Deloitte reports demonstrate that organisations and their L&D providers need to be ready to offer high quality sustainability training to stay relevant and to keep employees up to speed with the latest sustainability developments.

Advanced training and upskilling for sustainability professionals is a critical requirement.

The IEA and Deloitte reports both indicate that there is strong public motivation toward sustainable work. However, Microsoft found that there is a lack of training for professionals in the sustainability field. Over the last year, Microsoft and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) studied 15 organisations at the forefront of sustainability innovation and change – including Microsoft. This study revealed that sustainability drives have two effects on the employment landscape within organisations: new jobs are frequently being created to have a sole focus on sustainability and existing job roles are being stretched to encompass sustainability initiatives. Effective sustainability training would benefit both the employee and the organisation in each of these instances.

The Microsoft and BCG study also found that “talented insiders” with no formal sustainability training often comprised the talent pool from which sustainability professionals were drawn. It was noted that over half (57%) of sustainability professionals lacked a degree in a related field and 40% had no more than three years of sustainability experience.

While the talent of the individuals chosen to take up this mantle of sustainability should not be doubted, the study argues that it is, ironically, unsustainable to continue putting people without appropriate training or background into such roles. The major skill areas needed to be a successful sustainability professional included general skills, such as data and digital skills, as well as sustainability-specific competencies including carbon accounting and transformational skills such as stakeholder management.

Forging a sustainable path forward with innovative L&D programmes.

While it is not necessarily a negative for people without a relevant background to take on roles with a sustainability focus, it is important that those that do are trained as effectively as possible. Here are three key takeaways from Microsoft and BCG’s study that can help your organisation take the right steps toward a sustainable future:

  1. Use data from L&D programmes that your organisation already has to develop effective training modules with a sustainability spin. Consulting with experts in the sustainability field and in L&D can help to ensure the training is up to scratch.
  2. Employers should upskill their workforce with initiatives focused on sustainability knowledge and skills. Upskilling programmes are proven to help with employee retention and using those programmes to promote sustainability will benefit organisations, employees, and the planet.
  3. The workforce of the future must be prepared for the sustainability jobs that are waiting for them. By engaging with exciting sustainability L&D programmes, younger generations can get excited about the prospect of working in a fast growing and dynamic field.

Preparing your organisation to keep up with the pace of change of sustainability work may seem like a daunting task. However, by choosing the right L&D provider that offers unforgettable sustainability training, you can help to futureproof both your organisation and the planet.


How Sponge can help.

With a history of providing bespoke sustainability training and working with world-class organisations, we can help you to create memorable training to suit your needs. Whether you are looking to upskill your workforce to get them up to speed on sustainability or onboard fresh sustainability graduates to power up your organisation, get in touch today to speak with our experts.

Learn more about our skills-based microlearning modules, Skill Pills.

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