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Will Climate Change Commitments Create New Job Opportunities


Will climate change commitments create new job opportunities?

​"We can't afford it" – it's the classic excuse businesses use when they're asked why they don't spend more money on climate change initiatives. Nowadays, companies can't afford not to become sustainable.

In fact, the Ministry for the Environment (MFE) predicts that climate change will cost the world up to 20 per cent of global GDP by 2100. Frequent natural disasters cause untold damage to organisations and their customers. The clue's in the name – sustainable business doesn't just mean sustainability for the environment, it also means continuity for the companies themselves. This is why several organisations and governments around the world have committed to reducing climate change.

These commitments aren't just creating sustainability for the businesses themselves, however. It's also producing a significant number of jobs.

The renewable energy market has created many jobs around the world.

What jobs could climate change commitments create?

The green jobs market has boomed since governments around the world have made genuine commitments to climate change initiatives. Key industries include cleantech (the name for technology that attempts to reduce negative environmental effects, for example through green transportation), as well as sustainable agriculture and renewable energy.

Various estimates have been made regarding how many job opportunities green initiatives will create. The most optimistic comes from the New Zealand Green Party, which believes its Green Jobs policy (focusing on housing, state-owned energy companies and incentivising green job creation in the private sector) has the potential to create 100,000 extra jobs, the New Zealand Herald reports. 

Meanwhile, a survey from Pure Advantage, the University of Auckland and Vivid Economics suggests that 30,000 jobs could be created in areas like geothermal and bioenergy, provided these industries have the proper investment. 

While many of these job opportunities are dependent on significant investment, it appears that in New Zealand at least, government and the business community are ready to make that commitment. In 2016, the government invested $31 million on research into understanding climate change and its impacts, according to the MFE, and the country has committed to reducing its emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. 

The New Zealand government is providing a further $200 million for climate-related support, much of which will benefitPacific island countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports. Organisations doing business in this region, particularly those specialising in infrastructure and building, will benefit from climate change-related activities. 

The Pacific Islands will benefit from $200 million from the NZ government for climate change initiatives.

Who will these jobs attract?

Many of these employment opportunities are in highly specialised and fast-moving occupations that require people with significant talent. Millennials in particular want to work for companies that make a positive impact on society and the environment, according to a Deloitte survey, but only a minority (47 per cent) believe corporations behave ethically (down from 65 per cent in 2017). 

Organisations that commit to environmentally-friendly projects stand in an excellent position to win the best talent, particularly younger employees who will have more longevity in the workforce.

Many educational institutions in New Zealand have realised the potential of environmentally-friendly employment, and are running courses that cater to this. For example, Auckland University of Technology now runs a Bachelor of Business course in Sustainable Enterprise.

Finding a job with Tradestaff Global

Tradestaff Global is proud to support businesses operating both in New Zealand and around the world. With so much funding for environmentally friendly infrastructure and building projects being announced, we expect to see a significant uptake in jobs around New Zealand and the Pacific. 

For more information, reach out to the team at Tradestaff Global today.