“The role of ESG is no longer limited to mining data or crunching numbers.” Sustainability is serious business, and ESG is emerging as the new obsession among governments and corporations. As the focus shifts from shareholder capitalism to stakeholder capitalism, India Inc is making rapid progress in hiring talent with expertise in ESG.
The increase in demand has opened up a spectrum of ESG roles—project managers, analysts, consultants, research associates and sustainability coordinators. A recent report from talent staffing firm TeamLease shows that open ESG positions have increased by a staggering 70% during the first half of 2023.
The role of ESG is no longer limited to mining data or crunching numbers. Beyond reporting and regulatory disclosures, ESG is fundamental to the long-term and sustainable growth of any company. It is also important to separate economic growth from increase in carbon footprint. To drive sustainable outcomes and transition to a net-zero world by 2050, the role of ESG professionals or green talent cannot be underestimated.
The importance of green talent lies in its ability to spark innovation. Innovation is often associated with cutting-edge gadgets and software. Yet, it is equally important to recognize that the future lies in innovations that tackle the most pressing challenges of our time – climate change, resource depletion and environmental degradation. Green geniuses are creative thinkers who envision a world powered by renewable energy, sustainable cities, and agriculture that rejuvenates rather than degrades land.
Green talent is a catalyst for change in industries that have traditionally been slow to adapt. These individuals are redefining the business landscape by infiltrating the corporate world, challenging the status quo and reshaping the business landscape. Their mission is to introduce sustainable practices, promote circular economies and ensure that profits do not come at the expense of our planet. Corporate green talent can make sustainability a buzzword and fundamental value.
ESG professionals or green talent pools are in high demand due to factors such as rising consumer expectations and companies’ desire to enhance their brand reputation. Currently, employers are looking for professionals with expertise in sustainable practices, environmental science, conservation, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and related fields.
For Indian companies, it is important to engage green talent at various levels to comply with market regulator SEBI’s Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report (BRSR). BRSR wants the top 1000 listed entities to disclose their performance against the nine principles of the ‘National Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct’ (NGBRC) from FY 2023.
Green talent is like the secret sauce when it comes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These professionals are vital to progress in a variety of areas such as clean energy, sustainable cities, and responsible consumption and production. By leveraging their expertise and creativity, green talent helps foster innovation and advance green alternatives. Be it designing energy-efficient buildings or advocating for sustainable transportation, these individuals are making a tangible difference in our journey towards a more sustainable world.
Citizens who are aware and can create change through their choices and actions are essential to a sustainable world. Green teachers, activists and communicators are important in raising awareness, organizing communities and shaping public opinion. Their work bridges the gap between scientific research and public understanding, making complex environmental issues accessible to all.
Green talent is also a global force. Sustainability knows no boundaries and our challenges are interconnected. Exchange of ideas, technologies and best practices has become increasingly important in this age of globalization. Collaboration across continents is the hallmark of green talent; It brings forward diverse perspectives and creates solutions that can be implemented globally.
However, there are considerable challenges in attracting skilled green talent. A major hurdle is the shortage of talent, as demand currently exceeds supply. The supply for work-ready talent still lags by 48 percent. This is an all-round scenario. The lack of supply of green talent also means companies will have to pay a premium to hire them. The second challenge is in the classification of jobs on sustainability and ESG. For example, in the European Union these two are mixed together. In contrast, in the US, sustainability and ESG skills are separate.
The green movement needs more people with skills and passion. This means investing in education and training programs that equip individuals with the right knowledge and competencies. Furthermore, we need to highlight the exciting possibilities available in sustainability careers. Some corporations have already started training their people on ESG to promote sustainable innovation.
We must create an attractive work environment to attract and retain green talent. Flexibility in scheduling, opportunities for growth, and a commitment to sustainability are just some of the things that can make the workplace more attractive to these eco-warriors. Sustainability-oriented employers will benefit from providing a supportive, inclusive culture for green talent. The more engaged and happy employees are, the more likely they are to make extra efforts to protect the environment.
Developing green talent requires a collaborative effort between the public and private sectors. Public-private partnerships can help bridge the gap between education and industry needs by providing training programs, internships and apprenticeships. Governments and businesses can create a pipeline of skilled green talent and work together to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world.
- Published on Sep 18, 2023 at 01:38 PM IST
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