What are the essential skills for the green economy?

Posting date: 18 July 2022

The green economy is a new vision for sustainable growth and development that focuses on lowering carbon emissions and reducing environmental risks. It focuses on wellbeing, biodiversity and safeguarding the future of the environment. The green economy emerged as an important political framework to ensure sustainability. According to research, the world is set to lose 10% of economic value by mid-century because of climate change.

Therefore, the green economy is highly important and as society shifts away from fossil fuels and towards carbon resources, this will no doubt have an impact on the job market. The green economy ensures a different set of skills, so both businesses and employees need to invest in their development. Below, we discuss the skills and training for the green economy.

Scientific skills and knowledge

Professionals with a life sciences background will be hugely in-demand in the future and research by WeForum predicts that the green economy will be reliant on roles such as biologist, environmental scientist and biochemist. The green economy will need professionals who have training and knowledge of renewable energy and who can operate and install energy-efficiency measures. As businesses need to be able to adapt to changes in climate, professionals in the life sciences sector will need to have experience in modelling and interpreting climate change. Furthermore, skills to maintain and adopt new technologies that minimise carbon emissions will be hugely important also. Having the core scientific skills will be essential for the transition to a digital and green future.

Technical skills

There’s no doubt that technical and engineering skills will be key to supporting the growth of the green economy. For example, technical skills to design processes that can increase resource efficiency and manufacturing. Over the next three decades, Switzerland plans to invest CHF 13 billion a year to reach its target of carbon neutrality by 2050. Therefore, understanding how to develop and maintain sustainable products, as well as having a knowledge of ‘green software’ – (which is the concept of using energy-efficient algorithms to perform different computing operations more sustainable) – will be important moving forward. Above all, engineering and technical skills remain essential for long-term digital projects within the green economy.

Green accounting

Accounting and finance professionals will also need to upskill and ensure they’re facilitating the transition to the green economy. For example, natural capital accounting is a hugely important discipline, as it allows companies to incorporate social and environmental concerns into business decisions. Accounting for natural capital involves calculating stocks and flows of natural resources in a given region or ecosystem. Natural capital underpins a variety of business practices, so it’s imperative that businesses start delivering accounting for the natural environment. Professionals will need to understand how to factor environmental costs into the financial results of operations. As businesses face more pressure from climate change and as the green economy becomes more prominent, companies will need professionals who can provide assurance on their finances and sustainability process.

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