Five ways to promote a greener skills economy in 2023

Following’s latest Green Skills roundtable: 'How the Great Reshuffle Calls for a Greener Transition', CEO Rehan Haque summarises the event’s findings, outlining how businesses can promote a greener skills economy in the next year and beyond.


The need to prioritise and resource a green revolution has never been greater as we move into 2023. Pressure placed by the energy crisis has led to questioning whether sufficient progress has been made to meet the growing ambitions and societal expectations of reaching a greener, net-zero economy.

Business leaders must take responsibility for pivoting their companies towards benefiting a green skills economy this year, not just as an approach to long-term net zero goals, but also to help their current workforces. Currently, the shortage of skills in the global talent pool means that adapting to new technologies and reducing business carbon footprints will be a great challenge – and one that needs addressing as soon as possible.

Here are five ways businesses and business leaders should address concerns for a green skills economy this year:

1. Continue to prioritise work flexibility

Millions of people are leaving their jobs in search of roles with a better work-life balance, and a workplace more in line with their values. Business leaders need to refocus more on cultivating a thriving internal work culture, emphasising internal mobility, giving opportunities to workers for their career growth, flexibility, and hybrid working opportunities, and continued learning and training. The support for workers needs to be there for the future of work, and business leaders must ensure this going into 2023 to maintain a motivated workforce.

2. Promote a greener workforce mindset

Changing workforce behaviours and mindsets, so that any decisions made can also be wholly considered energy-saving decisions, is important across all sectors. Businesses will not just be focusing on the transition towards more effective technologies, such as employing the next big AI or fastest processing power, but also more energy-efficient tech to reduce their overall carbon footprint.

3. Reduce carbon emissions by migrating away from cities

Workers can access the resources and work just as efficiently, if not more so, away from cities. In spearheading this drive away from cities and allowing flexibility of working locations, working anywhere, businesses drive the pressure away from cities towards other areas. Reduced pressure results in lower emissions, meaning a gradual step-by-step movement toward reaching net-zero targets.

4. Support human capital with green skills training programmes

Green skills refer to the knowledge, abilities, values, and attitudes needed to live in, develop and support a sustainable society. Sectors that require the most pressing emissions reductions by 2030 face the most immediate skills shortages – most notably including housing and transport.

Take advantage of business complexity for innovative solutions

No doubt, finding a solution that fits the demands of building a greener economy will be challenging, as there is no one common answer. The situation and scenarios differ from country to country, and industry to industry. A talented workforce can navigate these scenarios as they come, but it’s up to businesses to motivate and encourage innovation when it comes to business solutions.

Innovation across both technology and business is needed to reduce the environmental burden across the planet. New technologies are the answer to fixing previous mistakes, but without the talent to use them, they are worthless investments. Green skills alongside strong business leadership will help propel businesses in the next years toward solid, sustainable growth. Similarly, growing awareness and carefulness towards the environment needs to start now; business leaders, we look to you to take the first step in that big change in mindset.