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The rising demand for sustainability jobs in business

Rise of jobs in sustainability

Innovative businesses are accelerating their efforts towards carbon reduction strategies in response to the rising climate challenge and with the added prospect of attracting the next generation of talent with shared values towards the environment and sustainability.

Businesses are adopting new environmental strategies and rethinking their plans to ensure sustainability is a core element of their business, rather than just an extra to incorporate in their overall business strategy. James Watt, the co-founder of multinational brewery business BrewDog, is actively involved in several projects including peatland restoration and native woodland development in the highlands of Scotland. Mr Watt explains that sustainability shouldn’t be viewed as an added feature of a business, instead, it should represent a vital part of their core strategies and be supported by everyone that works within that organisation, whatever their position may be. As part of a £30 million investment plan, BrewDog is shifting its fleet to electric vehicles and intends to power all of its facilities with wind power. The excess grain will also be converted into fuel and the carbon dioxide created during the process of fermentation will be used again to carbonate the beer.

As more companies and industries like BrewDog accelerate their efforts towards reducing carbon emissions, there are rising discussions that this could spur on a green industrial revolution, influencing a surge in the green jobs market. Looking just at the agricultural industry, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation predict that the measures implemented in response to the climate emergency could generate around 200 million permanent jobs worldwide by 2050.

Aside from the potential increase of green industry jobs, there is a clear shift in people’s attitudes and behaviours towards jobs with real purpose, particularly with the next generation of job seekers. Industry analysts have suggested that businesses associated with pollutants and fossil fuels are struggling to attract the right people to their company. Being capable of displaying and supporting the right culture is critical to driving change.

A movement towards a greener economy will generate more than just stable employment opportunities. Reports suggest that approximately 6 million jobs could be created by implementing a more circular economy. Worldwide, over 1.2 billion jobs are directly reliant on providing healthy environmental conditions. This includes the farming, fishing and forestry industries, and further environmental impacts and degradation of habitats will have a direct impact on these jobs. 

Supporting the rise of green employment

Banks are focused on investment and generally, this is directly associated with the fossil fuel industries. Selecting a more ethical approach to banking will support further development of green infrastructure within our economy. Banks are perfectly positioned to support the development of green jobs by financing positive impact projects and additional environmental innovation. Investment groups are actively looking for innovative businesses that are pioneering and working on delivering new technologies that support the wider transition towards a net-zero economy.

The next generation of job seekers is actively looking for opportunities that directly support the environment and select businesses with clear sustainability targets. In the terms of investment, a large majority of UK investors want their banks or building societies to invest savings in plans that are beneficial for the environment. Our existing economic system requires significant change, to facilitate a green recovery and enable this rising environmental consciousness to be replicated in investment plans, as well as support the creation of new green industry jobs.

A report from the Local Government Associate states that by 2030, 46% of low carbon jobs will be within clean electricity generation and the provision of low carbon heating for residential and commercial properties. The electric vehicle market is another area that is predicted to experience a significant rise in employment figures. A transition towards a greener industry could generate over 90,000 jobs in the UK manufacturing market and an additional 83,000 jobs in supply chains, equating to approximately £20 billion in added GDP. The figures were highlighted in a recent report by the Manufacturing Technologies Association, in which they refer to the shift to green as not an option but a necessity.

Many environmental experts believe that sustainability needs to be incorporated further into the design stages across all industries. The rise and creation of new green jobs shouldn’t be solely viewed as employing individuals as sustainability officers. Instead, it should be seen as a process that includes all jobs and makes all positions greener. Sustainability influences all stages of a business and therefore every employee can play an important role in the delivery of a more green and sustainable future.

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