Microsoft Calls for Urgent Sustainability Workforce Strategy to Bridge the Gap

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The gap between pledge to progress on sustainability in India, and worldwide, is still very wide and efforts at closing it is uninspiring. Microsoft and Boston Consulting Group have highlighted the urgent need for a global sustainability workforce strategy to bridge the wide gap. In a report released early November 2022, they found significant gaps in skills, organizational structure and talent pipeline among 15 leading companies they surveyed.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates 18 million net-new jobs will be created by 2030 as a result of meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement, but companies in the study consistently identify the lack of a trained workforce and inadequate strategies to develop sustainability skills and expertise as major barriers toward progress,” the report observed.

“Today, nearly 4,000 businesses have issued climate pledges and are investing millions of dollars to advance sustainability – but we will not achieve our goals without a ready workforce that is equipped to act. We cannot address climate change at the scale and speed required without developing sustainability capacity and fluency in the global workforce,” it added.

Key Recommendations

  • We need to create a shared understanding,based on better data, of the evolving jobs and the sustainability knowledge and skills needed for them.
  • Employers must move quickly to upskill their workforce through learning initiatives focused on sustainability knowledge and skills.
  • Third, the world must prepare the next generation of workers for the sustainability jobs of the future through skilling.

How can the world achieve such a big leap, quickly, without big picture thinking? The report makes an interesting analogy: “Humanity’s initial quest to reach the moon required the spread of physics into a broadly accessible academic discipline across the United States. The world’s entry into the digital age then required that computer science move into every school. In a similar way, the creation of a net zero planet will require that sustainability science spreads into every sector of the economy.“ 

The report is titled Closing the Sustainability Skills Gap: Helping businesses move from pledges to progress.  Read full report here.

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