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It is imperative to note that there are ways businesses can promote sustainability in this day and age. 

As companies across the UK strive for net zero emissions and look to implement greener practices in their workplaces, they should also focus on promoting a greener skills economy.  

What does this mean? Well, currently more than half of UK businesses are struggling with a shortage in skills, leaving many firms understaffed and under-equipped.

This makes adapting to greener ways of working and reducing their carbon footprint much more challenging for companies.

People are often perceived as the problem when it comes to the negative impacts on our environment.

Fortunately, people power is also the solution to making real global change and as such employers must focus on upskilling their workforce.  

Failing to prioritize and invest in skills could carry detrimental consequences for the economy.

It’s estimated that as many as 71 million jobs could be lost worldwide without successful skills development.  

In this blog, we’ll explore five ways your business can champion a greener skills economy. Let’s get started.  

1. Provide training programmes

5 Ways Businesses Can Promote Sustainability

Investing in your people is key in the transition to a greener economy, it is also a creative way to build an employee-centric culture.  

To truly facilitate sustainability in your business, employers should look to educate and empower staff with the knowledge, values and attitudes integral to achieving a greener society.  

Training programmes that centre around areas such as energy efficiency, waste reduction and sustainable sources are a great way to inform employees, improve productivity, and achieve unity on your business goals.  

This unity can prove vital to employee satisfaction and retention, providing team members with a sense of purpose and accountability.  

2. Foster a green mindset  

A greener society isn’t just a destination, it’s a way of thinking, and its one of the ways businesses can promote sustainability.

Therefore, green practices should be rooted in all areas of your business, starting from the moment an employee joins your team.

Reinforcing green values throughout your policies and procedures will encourage a green mindset amongst your workforce, influencing smarter decisions and resulting in sustainable outcomes.  

For example, an eco-conscious employee will be savvier about environmentally beneficial ways of working when it comes to making choices relating to resources, technologies, costs and transportation.  

As well as educating and informing your employees, adopting green initiatives is another great way to effectively embed a green mindset amongst your workforce;

This could be achieved through recycling programmes, carpooling, a cycle-to-work scheme, or going completely plastic-free.  

3. Embrace flexible working  

5 Ways Businesses Can Promote Sustainability

Flexible working practices have not only become a familiar concept in recent years. It has also become a permanent fixture for many companies. This is something that employers should continue to advocate if they are to support a greener economy.  

The pandemic has redefined what employees value most in their jobs, with work-life balance.

Also, imbibing a supportive workplace culture is a great way to make your employees more productive, which in turn becomes the primary contributor to overall job satisfaction. 

Asides from giving business leaders access to a broader talent pool, flexible working helps to retain existing talent, saving on re-recruitment.

What’s more, multiple studies have linked flexible work to heightened productivity, meaning that a business has the potential to gain greater efficiency in its day-to-day operations.  

This flexibility can make a considerable contribution to reducing a business’s carbon footprint, cutting down on commuting and conserving vital resources.  

4. Promote innovation

Creating an environment that harbours innovation is a crucial part of enabling a greener skills economy.  

Thinking creatively breeds new solutions that could prove transformational to sustainability, be it new processes, technologies, or practices.  

Employers should therefore focus on building a supportive and inclusive culture which is undeniably one of the attainable ways businesses can promote sustainability.

This provides team members with ample opportunity to share ideas and contribute towards business goals and developments.

Therefore, hosting collaborative events, workshops, and focus groups is a great way to fuel discussion and encourage new ideas and perspectives.

Mentorship and training programmes can also help inspire team members to think more creatively in their daily work. 

In addition, empowering your staff with this autonomy is another proven way to boost retention and job satisfaction.  

5. Invest in renewable energy  

Investing in renewable energy is compulsory in our efforts to lower emissions. It also lends itself to the creation of a greener skills economy.  

Installing energy-efficient systems such as solar panels, heat pumps, and rainwater harvesting complements a green workplace culture.

It helps generate more job opportunities in the clean energy sector. A sector that is currently said to have more than 12 million people in its workforce.

If businesses continue to prioritize eco-friendly policies, this figure could be set to triple by 2050.  

How your company chooses to implement renewable energy will depend on your size. It also depends on your industry, but the Government can offer a helping hand.

They have £5 billion worth of funding available to UK businesses to help support the journey to net zero emissions.

More information can be found here.  

Also, See 18 workable ways to improve your business performance

Wrapping up 

So there you have it, five ways to champion a greener skills economy.

By investing in skills development and promoting an eco-friendly mindset; we can make a substantial contribution to a greener economy for all.  

Author: Graeme Donnelly, Founder & CEO of 1st Formations.

Graeme is passionate about business and in particular – new start business.

He has been at the forefront of developing new and innovative business products for startups and SMEs for the last 18 years.

In his role, as CEO of Blue Square Virtual Offices and 1st Formations. In his spare time, Graeme is a keen cyclist, Instagrammer and dog owner.

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