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Future of Sustainable Business Q2 2023

Ensure your business is ready for the net zero transition

Illustration of Carbon footprint leaf icon
Illustration of Carbon footprint leaf icon
iStock / Getty Images Plus / TheModernCanvas

Gudrun Cartwright

Climate Action Director, Business in the Community

To reach net zero by 2040, businesses have the responsibility to invest in green skills to prepare their workforce for a greener future.

The climate crisis is our biggest shared challenge. Business in the Community (BITC) works with businesses to create a fairer and greener world driven by fairer and greener businesses. To help achieve a fairer and greener world, we must ensure that people have the skills they need to thrive during the transition to net zero and climate resilience.

New green skills and initiatives to achieve net zero

The United Nations recently called on all developed countries to achieve net zero by 2040.This means pressure on businesses to act rapidly will escalate. Businesses must invest in green skills now to enable current employees to adapt and give future employees access to good jobs. 

In 2021, BITC research found that only 1 in 10 people think their jobs will be adversely affected or they will need new skills because of the transition. Of these, 8 in 10 do not think their employer is doing enough to prepare them.2
This is despite PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) reporting that 66,000 new tradespeople will be needed each year for retrofits and heat pump installations3 and National Grid predicting that 400,000 new energy recruits will be needed between now and 2050 to meet net zero targets.4

However, it is not just jobs in directly impacted sectors that will need new skills. BITC convened business, government, academia and community leaders to produce a route map to help tackle the skills challenge. It is clear from our work that all job roles will require new skills — from accountants reporting on non-financial indicators to procurement professionals managing scope 3 emissions, everyone will have a part to play in reaching net zero.

It is not just jobs in directly impacted
sectors that will need new skills.

How leaders must evolve and adjust

Crucially, the role of leaders needs to change. Understanding risks and opportunities, becoming comfortable with uncertainty, involving diverse stakeholders and empowering employees to deliver are essential leadership capabilities for organisations, people and nature to thrive in the 21st century.

Employers must step up now to ensure their organisation is ready for the inevitable changes that will come with the transition. They must become the leaders their organisations and wider society need, by supporting current and future employees to co-create strategies that build the skills to transform their organisations and enable individuals to adapt to future demands. There is no time to waste.

Learn more at

[3] p.2
[4] p.5

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