Green Jobs in Construction – Opportunities and Challenges
A report was recently published by the Green Jobs Taskforce citing that every UK job has the potential to be green. This aligns with the government’s proposed Green Revolution and is particularly relevant for the construction industry.
As the built environment is one of the largest contributors of carbon emissions and waste, it is under pressure to make a concerted effort to implement strategies that will quickly and effectively reduce these contributions. However, there is already a skills crisis in the UK and despite promises, investment is yet to be diverted to green projects. How then can construction achieve these aims? Where do the best opportunities exist and what are the challenges that need to be overcome?
Challenges in creating more green jobs
While there is a need for urgency in addressing the climate crisis, change can’t be implemented overnight. It is a long term process, and needs to start with education on all levels of the industry as well as in schools and universities. Rather than environmental issues being reserved for scientists and experts, the basic principles of the circular economy and sustainability need to be understood by everyone in the workforce, because the work they do has an impact.
A second major challenge is diverting investment to the creation of more green jobs and in support of developing green infrastructure. Many plans are afoot, but a significant increase in investment is needed to turn these dreams into a reality.
Opportunities in Construction
There are a great number of organisations in the UK committed to supporting businesses in their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint and implement more sustainable operations. Additionally there’s a younger generation who are activists at heart and understand the urgency to get climate mitigation policies in place.
Making the transition to a low carbon economy will require innovation and there is a great opportunity to leverage existing talent within an organisation to make this happen. Creating a task force and inviting input from people on all levels is one way to find solutions. Collaboration is key because achieving circular economies is complex and requires input from various stakeholders.
On an executive level the case for more sustainable business practices is clear. One only has to look to the current supply chain crisis to understand the risks of relying on finite resources. By shifting thinking to focus on long term sustainability and better resource use, there’s an opportunity for construction to not only become more green, but also more profitable.