Climate strategies are increasingly fundamental to business agendas. A 2021 report by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit reveals that 21% of the world’s top 2,000 public companies have now made a commitment to net zero targets. Yet setting strategies is only part of the equation. Day to day decisions and actions all need to ladder up to the same end goal. To that end, pioneering businesses are now leading a charge for employee climate literacy.
Global accountancy giant Deloitte announced in August that it will enrol all 333,000 of its employees in climate school. The training, which will be delivered in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), will roll out over the next 6 months and will educate staff on climate science as well as the solutions required from business. WWF President and CEO Carter Roberts commented in a press release, “We know that companies have a big role to play in driving progress, and that the actions and voices of their employees really matter.”
Deloitte’s launch was followed by the AXA Climate Academy, an employee training program created by the global insurer to raise awareness, build climate literacy and help employees think critically about climate topics. AXA has pledged to educate 100% of its employees on climate issues by 2023. The company has also developed its own online training resource open to any company, dubbed Climate School.
The US military is also planning to deliver climate education for its troops, according to a strategy document released by the Pentagon in October. At a press launch, Richard Kidd, deputy assistant secretary of defense for environment and energy resilience explained, "in order to properly respond, we need to have the knowledge, the tools and the ability to make climate-informed decisions at all echelons."
According to a report in The Guardian, research from the University of Leeds has found that carbon literacy training has a positive impact on behaviour, making “participants significantly more knowledgeable about climate change and more likely to reduce emissions at work and at home.” What’s more, there are clear benefits to cascading knowledge through all levels of a business. Enabling everyone to make climate-literate decisions at every level of the organization will create ripple effects of change.
As we noted in our Regeneration Rising report on the future of sustainability, climate literacy is becoming increasingly important for businesses. In the future, it will likely become an entry-level requirement for corporate jobs. For now, with performance on ESG metrics increasingly under scrutiny by investors, upskilling staff on climate is not just good for the planet, it’s good business sense.