Skills Position Statement launched at IEMA Parliamentary event this week.

IEMA has issued an urgent call to action for Government and businesses to fill the environment and sustainability skills gap. The global economy is feeling the first gusts of a perfect storm of pressure caused by climate change, increasing resource scarcity, unprecedented consumption and a rapidly growing population. This is leading to businesses being forced to face higher and more volatile prices, and manage risks to the security of supply of essential materials, products and services.

IEMA’s call to action comes as David Cameron this week announced plans for a new skills college which - according to the BBC - aims to “enhance economic competitiveness in the ‘global race’”.

Some leading businesses are changing the way they operate in order to meet the challenges of the perfect storm, but too few are equipped with the skills they need to transition to a sustainable economy.

“IEMA research has found that only 13% of organisations are fully confident that they have the skills to successfully compete in a sustainable economy, the system which provides the only viable future for business. This skills gap is limiting businesses’ and organisations’ ability to capitalise on the significant economic opportunities offered by more sustainable actions. We have issued our 4 point action plan to help businesses and government fill this skills gap,” said Tim Balcon, CEO of IEMA, at the launch of IEMA’s Skills for a Sustainable Economy Position Statement at a special Parliamentary reception held on Wednesday 10th December.

IEMA’s Skills for a Sustainable Economy Position Statement, developed in collaboration with Members, calls for these key actions:

· Sustainability to be placed at the heart of business strategy

· Sustainability skills at the centre of all organisations

· Mainstreaming sustainability skills through training delivered by education and training providers

· Embedding sustainability across the economy through a collaborative action, energised through Government commitment to a sustainability skills strategy

With evidence building that a sustainable economy can deliver significant opportunities for business – recent IEMA research[1] has shown that businesses both small and large can save money through more efficient use of resources from £5,000 to over £1m per year - investment in environment and sustainability skills can lead and drive these opportunities in businesses and organisations and are vital to our future success.

IEMA’s “Preparing for the Perfect Storm: Skills for a Sustainable Economy” campaign on this issue is now building momentum with growing numbers of high-profile individuals and organisations, including Jaguar Land Rover, Joan Walley MP, BAE Systems, EDF Energy, Jonathon Porritt, EY, WSP and Rolls-Royce, supporting IEMA’s calls for collaborative action to bridge the environment and sustainability skills gap.

In the 21st Century business world, environment and sustainability can no longer be a bolt on; it needs to be part of businesses’ DNA. Good quality people and their skills are the change makers – which is why its vital that sustainability skills become pivotal to the operations of an organisation. Business and Government action on sustainability skills can help ensure that we are all prepared for the perfect storm,” said Tim Balcon, CEO of IEMA.


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