As everyone acknowledges, responding to the climate crisis is a task involving everyone, everywhere, and particularly at work. The transformation under way in jobs and business activities, along with the new expectations of employees and candidates, is making training in environmental issues and practices an important tool for companies for driving change.

France has set a clear goal: to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, a process that will involve all types of stakeholders: individuals, communities, and companies. The latter must take measures to meet increasingly stringent regulatory constraints (in terms of decarbonization, waste management, etc.), which will lead to major upheavals at both the organizational and individual level. Employees must be prepared for change, become actors and have the opportunity to be initiators – and ambassadors. A triple imperative to which can respond the training policies and the necessary adaptation and agility of the organizations.

La formation aux enjeux écologiques constitue un levier de transformation pour les entreprises

A rapidly changing work environment

Finance, IT, purchasing, HR… in the face of climate change, every department will have to change in the years ahead, while new jobs are emerging, such as ‘energy manager' or ‘sustainable mobility manager'. These changes will force companies to adapt their skill sets and develop the new areas of expertise needed for tomorrow's world, and to provide employees with the best possible support as situations change.

According to a study by training company Cegos, nearly three out of four employees would like to receive CSR training about their job and to be more involved in the company's thinking in this area. Meanwhile, a survey by market research firm Ifop found that 84% of French people believe that sustainability should be a mandatory feature of all professional and higher education programs.

Training, a key component

Given this situation, companies need an appropriate response to the major changes in their businesses and industries, along with answers to the questions raised by their employees. Training can play a key role in providing those responses on three levels: the overall acculturation of the organization, with a plan to raise awareness of the issues (from a strategic and regulatory point of view), the development of employees' skills on tools and methods, and the transformation of management practices to promote and value initiatives in the field of energy and ecological transition. Human resources are then at the forefront of all these projects.

First of all, it's essential to increase people's knowledge about the environment, at every level of the organization, so the whole company can engage with this issue. To do that, different departments can be brought together for various awareness-raising activities. In France, for example, an association called La Fresque du Climat teaches people the basics of climate change in just a few hours.

Adapting to the needs of each employee is a considerable project, since it aims to both create new jobs within the company but also to support the transformation of existing jobs. An issue that can be addressed by setting up upskilling (improving existing skills) and reskilling (acquiring skills for a job change) programs for all employees.

Finally, it is a matter of giving the organization the ability to develop a new framework for the managers, which is conducive to the emergence of individual initiatives, to channel and value them. The organization then has the means to become attractive to potential collaborators who perceive the company's real desire to take into account climate and environmental issues.

Finally, as the main agent of change, the Human Resources departmental itself needs to be trained. The aim here is wide-ranging: to be able to answer questions about the company's approach to the environment, to effectively implement CSR policies and to lead the relevant actions, to choose the right training for employees, and to know how to assess the knowledge of employees and candidates about these issues. It is also an opportunity to think about linking environmental objectives to personal targets and variable remuneration.

Clearly, there is an urgent need for in-depth thought about the possible solutions for our environmental challenges, which often need to be applied on a case-by-case basis. Custom training programs, as offered by emlyon business school, offers a springboard for turning a company into a learning organization where employees can take ownership of the change process and become players in their own futures.

A school committed to the ecological and social transition

"Train and support enlightened people throughout their lives so they can transform organizations effectively and create a society that is fairer, more collaborative, and better for the planet." Such is the mission that emlyon business school has set itself. Its commitment is reflected in the school's Climate Plan, which aims to reduce its emissions by 25% by 2030 and to help achieve net zero carbon by 2050 by offsetting its unavoidable emissions. As a result of this approach, emlyon business school is ranked third among the schools most committed to the ecological and social transition.