Sustainability professionals say the next government needs to focus on STEM
Businesses which are already showing leadership on sustainable skills are reaping significant rewards, according to the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA).
Some companies have reported annual savings in excess of £1m through efficiencies implemented by environmental and sustainability professionals and through the creation of new market opportunities, it said.
The comments came as IEMA revealed findings that almost all (96%) environmental professionals believe a cross-sector sustainability skills strategy is urgently needed from government, the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) has revealed.
This is the finding of a survey of over 400 IEMA members which sought professional views on skills.
Some 88% of responses said a top priority of the next government should be to extend its current focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills to include sustainability too.
The recommendation for a new STEM-centred skills policy would seek to embed and mainstream sustainable skills investment in all education and training schemes, IEMA said.
This reiterates the findings of a 2014 report by IEMA which revealed that only 13% of 900 surveyed member organisations feel equipped with the skills to compete in a sustainable economy.
Josh Fothergill, IEMA’s lead on Skills for a Sustainable Economy, said members have now sent a clear call to government over the need of a clear framework on sustainability skills.
“Failure to do this within the next Parliament will mean the UK will be behind the line – perhaps permanently – so this is a very real priority,” he said.