Only one in 10 people believe tackling climate change will negatively impact their job

Business in the Community (BITC), the Prince’s Responsible Business Network, has today published new research ahead of COP26 on the actions businesses need to take to tackle the climate emergency. The research found that only one in 10 people believe that their job will be adversely affected by the actions needed to tackle climate change, while six in 10 people believe that it will have no impact on their jobs and three in 10 are unsure.

Other findings from the survey include:

  • Five in 10 people said that they believe they will not need to require any new skills because of climate change, while one in 10 believe that there will be significant new skills required.
  • Three in 10 people believe that transport and distribution will be the most affected sector while two in 10 believe that construction and manufacturing sectors will be most affected.
  • Only one in 10 of people working in retail, legal, health services, education, financial, services, hospitality and leisure and telecoms believe that they will need a lot or a fair amount of new skills needed because of climate change.

The research has also shown the importance of businesses equipping their employees with the necessary skills to adapt to a climate-resilient economy, with more than half saying that this is the most important task for business in delivering a just transition. However, the research found that six in 10 employees feel that their employer is not helping them get the skills they need to be part of the solution to the climate crisis and future-proof their jobs.

In light of this new research, BITC is calling on businesses to ensure that they think about how their business might change as the world shifts to tackle the climate crisis and prepare employees at all levels with the skills needed to help businesses be part of the solution. Not only will this ensure that businesses are playing their part, but it will help to increase social mobility and future proof the UK workforce.

This research was conducted in association with YouGov and captures the views of over 8,000 people in the UK.

Gudrun Cartwright, Climate Action Director at Business in the Community said,

“With only one in 10 believing that their roles will be adversely affected by the climate crisis, there is a real worry that employers and employees are unprepared for the level of change climate action will bring. Businesses must understand the risks and opportunities for their business and pivot for future success. Engaging and upskilling their workforce today is essential if businesses and communities are to prosper tomorrow.

“Upskilling the UK workforce must be at the heart of the action taken by businesses, the government and global leaders if we are to put our money where our mouth is and start to take proper action on the climate crisis. What we’re seeing from this research is that employees do not have the confidence that they need to not only be part of the solution to the climate crisis but also to have a job in the future. While COP26 is important to align and agree on a global approach to the crisis, what we do next is much more important. It’s time we started to put words into real action if we want to live in a world that enables our children to thrive.”

Nicola Inge, Director of Employment and Skills at Business in the Community added,

“It’s clear that we’re going to have to change the way we live and do business in light of the climate emergency. The key to achieving this will be ensuring that our current and future workforce are equipped with the skills they need.

“Now is the time for businesses to embrace the unique and powerful role they can play to ensure that achieving our net zero goals leaves no one behind. This is why we are calling on all members to develop the skills people need to move into and between jobs and industries.”

Ends

Notes to editors

  1. Full analysis of the research is available upon request.
  2. This research captures the views of over 8,000 people in the UK.

About Business in the Community

Business in the community is the oldest and largest business-led membership organisation dedicated to responsible business. We were created nearly 40 years ago by HRH The Prince of Wales to champion responsible business.  We inspire, engage and challenge members and we mobilise that collective strength as a force for good in society to:    

  • Develop a skilled and inclusive workforce for today and tomorrow; 
  • Build thriving communities where people want to live and work; 
  • Innovate to sustain and repair our planet. 

www.bitc.org.uk  

For further information, please contact Aoife Butler Nolan, Head of Media, Public Affairs and Policy on 07702 903 216 or Aoife.butler-nolan@bitc.org.uk

Quotes from Just Transition research partners

United Utilities

Chris Matthews, Head of Public and Community Affairs, for United Utilities, said: “As the North West’s water company we know that our region has a number of areas that suffer from social and economic deprivation.  We want to make sure that, as the country adapts to the impacts of climate change, our customers in vulnerable circumstances aren’t left behind. 

“We hear people’s concerns around extreme weather events and the loss of nature and biodiversity and we will be using this research to shape the plans we are developing as we play our part in helping the North West to adapt to climate change.”

Siemens plc

“Siemens is a business positioned at the heart of the country’s net zero ambition. This report has equity at its core; finding the initiatives that deliver the maximum benefit for the communities in question, ensuring that the levelling-up agenda and green revolution is a tide that lifts all boats, ensuring no one is left behind.” Carl Ennis, CEO, Siemens plc

Royal London

Susie Logan, Group Chief Marketing Office, said:

“Businesses have been taking steps to help tackle climate change, but they need to drive more awareness on the positive progress they have made, as research shows that customers are unaware of the actions companies are taking.

“It’s important that small businesses are supported with their Just Transition plan and brought along on the Net Zero journey, as change can only be achieved through collective action. There also needs to be an equal focus on the social impact, including supporting reskilling and enabling ‘green jobs’, building resilience in affected local communities, and helping people to understand the power of using their pensions for good.”

PwC

Carl Sizer, Head of Regions and ESG at PwC, said: “Achieving Net Zero by 2050 means big changes for everyone. We need a better understanding of the likely impact for different people, regions and businesses if we have any hope of ensuring the opportunities and risks are fairly spread.  This is especially true when it comes to jobs and skills – by acting now we have the opportunity of the century to rebalance the economy.”

JLL

Gemma Piggott, UK Head of Corporate Sustainability

“This is a critical decade for action on climate, and one in which we must move from words to delivery. It’s really important that as we transition to a sustainable future, we do so in a way that is fair for all and inclusive of communities facing disadvantage. It’s important that this is grounded in evidence, and this comprehensive research will help many gain a better understanding of a Just Transition and start to identify the role that they can play towards achieving it.”  

National Grid

Duncan Burt, Chief Sustainability Officer at National Grid:

“As the backbone of the energy system in the UK, National Grid is committed to going beyond keeping the lights on and the gas flowing. We recognise our role in enabling the green recovery and supporting the fair transition to cleaner energy for all, across the country, we believe net zero and levelling up are not only mutually complementary but mutually reliant.

“As we move towards a greener future, we must listen to and understand the concerns and ambitions of all communities, building trust, and ensuring everyone has the opportunity to be part of the conversation. The research on Just Transition carried out by BITC in the run-up to COP26 is critical to achieving this, helping to ensure all voices are heard and drive long-term change.”

Sky

Fiona Ball, Group Director, Bigger Picture Director, Sky:

“At Sky, we believe that climate action can and should be undertaken with people at its heart. The urgent transition that the world needs must be good for all – including workers and communities worldwide. That’s why we’ve supported BITC’s research on just transitions. This research will help businesses like Sky grow our understanding of just how we best put our might behind this transition for all. It will help us in our ambition to get audiences excited and mobilised to create a better tomorrow.”