How can we achieve a truly sustainable future? At IEMA we believe that the key to this lies in a growing understanding of the importance of green education, jobs and skills, ensuring these are made accessible to all.

What are green skills?

Green skills encompass a building up of knowledge, behaviours, capabilities and technical skills required to tackle the environmental challenges we face and to unlock new opportunities for growth.

What is a green job/career?

A green career is a job, or series of jobs, across an occupational life that contributes to improving the natural environment and addressing climate change. We recently created a 'blueprint for green workforce transformation' with Deloitte and launched a Green Careers Hub; a comprehensive platform for anyone looking into developing green skills or moving into a green career.

Ministerial open letter

Prior to the start of COP28, IEMA began a campaign to ensure that the negotiations recognised the crucial role that green skills and jobs will play in tackling the global climate crisis.
We asked members and organisations to sign an open letter that we sent to the Minister for Energy Security and Net Zero (a key member of the UK’s negotiating team) urging the prioritisation of green jobs and skills at COP28. A copy of this letter is below.

Open letter to The Rt Hon Graham Stuart MP

Minister for Energy Security and Net Zero

The Rt Hon Graham Stuart MP

Department for Energy Security and Net Zero

1 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0ET

Dear Minister of State,

The COP28 negotiations that are due to take place in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at the close of 2023 are a crucial moment for securing international agreement on the steps required to tackle the global climate crisis.

Much progress has been made at the last two rounds of negotiations in Egypt and the United Kingdom respectively.

During the UK’s presidency we saw significant commitments on phasing out coal power and reversing deforestation. Last year ground-breaking progress was made on providing support for the countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change with the establishment of the Loss and Damage Fund.

Realising these commitments and the many others from the wider UNFCCC process will ultimately require investment in the people that will make them happen. It is vital that all countries put in place a clear plan for creating the green jobs and skills that can deliver on climate mitigation and adaptation.

Despite the great progress made in many areas, including in the UK through the Green Jobs Delivery Group and the Sustainability and Climate Change education strategy, skills and human resourcing have not been prioritised in the cover decisions reached at recent COP negotiations.

Collectively the signatories to this letter believe that more ambitious and strategic action is needed on green education, jobs and skills if we are to achieve our climate goals.

To this end we request that you, as the Minister of State responsible for the UK’s role in COP28, champion this call and work with your international counterparts to ensure that the cover decisions reached at the UAE negotiations adequately reflect the need to invest in and develop a global workforce that can tackle climate change head on.

Specifically, we would like to see a cover decision that mandates a requirement for Paris Agreement signatories to include a detailed education and skills investment and development roadmap as part of their Nationally Determined Contribution to the UNFCCC.

We recognise that there must be a ‘just transition’ for those workers and sectors which will be negatively impacted as we move to a more sustainable world. It is therefore important that appropriate capacity-building support is provided to countries to enable them to develop and implement their roadmaps.

We would very much welcome the opportunity to meet with you prior to the commencement of COP28 to discuss our calls.

Yours sincerely,

IEMA corporate partners

  • ABHI
  • Auditel UK
  • CH&CO
  • Content With Purpose Limited
  • Cranswick plc
  • Govia Thameslink Railway
  • ISS UK
  • J. Coffey Construction
  • Keltbray
  • Nestle UK & I
  • Openreach
  • Oscar Mayer
  • OVO
  • Recycling Lives Ltd
  • RSK
  • Scania UK
  • Sweco UK
  • Techbuyer
  • University of Suffolk
  • VolkerWessels UK

Professional bodies

  • British Ecological Society
  • Chartered Institute of Waste Management
  • Energy Institute
  • EngineeringUK
  • Institute of Air Quality Management
  • Institute of Directors
  • Institute and Faculty of Actuaries
  • Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining
  • Institution of Agricultural Engineers
  • Institution of Environmental Sciences
  • Landscape Institute
  • The Market Research Society
  • Royal Meteorological Society
  • Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Society for the Environment

Trade bodies, interest groups and consultancies

  • AESG
  • Aldersgate Group
  • British Chambers of Commerce
  • Green Alliance
  • Make UK
  • Resilient Sustainability Services LLC
  • UKHospitality

More on the campaign so far

  1. Read the IEMA briefing on COP28 - November 2023
  2. Read COP28 cover text explained
  3. Read IEMA’s campaign for green skills commitment at COP28 gains support (November 2023)
  4. Explore the Transform COP landing page (including previous years)

Get involved with our campaign going forward

We recognise that the action required on green skills and jobs can’t all be delivered at one COP and that it will be an ongoing challenge to ensure that we have the global workforce in place to tackle the climate emergency.

Sign up to our COP28 campaign mailing list to hear about future opportunities to be involved.