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James Arnott and Peter Lacy
Accenture’s James Arnott and Peter Lacy argue that, with environmental issues continuing to grow in importance, developing a green workforce must become a priority for achieving high performance.
Despite the beneficial effects of green programs on the bottom line, and despite evidence of growing resolve on the part of governments to mandate environment-friendly practices, Accenture sees few companies actively working to build the pipeline of green talent.
Business leaders who grasp the importance of the environmental sustainability agenda will want to ensure that their employees have the skills needed to address those factors. It is also clear that financiers, marketers and general employees who are able to apply green principles in their particular disciplines will be needed. Accenture believes that the entry of environment-sensitive Millennials—today’s teens and 20-somethings—onto the job market will favor the development of a green agenda.
What can be done now to ensure that tomorrow’s workforce has abundant green talent? While skills sets are both detailed and industry-specific, it is clear that the four activities pursued by companies that genuinely compete on talent are relevant to all industries. These activities are:
However, the central challenge is to create a holistic approach to the development of a green workforce. While such a development may not be a top priority now, it needs to rise rapidly up the management agenda—it has the potential to help drive high performance in a world increasingly sensitized to its own environmental fragility.
James Arnott is a senior executive in the Accenture Resources operating group where he leads the Energy service lines in Spain, Portugal, Africa and Israel. In addition, he leads the Resources Talent & Organization Performance group globally. Arnott has extensive experience with strategic issues pertaining to transformation and restructuring in the energy, utilities and chemical industries. He is also a specialist on the role of energy in the South African and global economies.
Peter Lacy is the head of the Accenture Sustainability group for Europe, Africa and Latin America. Based in London, Lacy has worked on sustainability strategy and delivery with Fortune 500 companies, the United Nations, the European Union and public sector organizations. He was formerly executive director of the European Academy of Business in Society, a leading alliance on research and executive development, and has worked for other leading strategy consultancies on sustainability. He has led several of the world’s largest research programs and projects in this area and sits on various related boards and advisory councils.
August 12, 2009
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