From Knowledge Gaps to Opportunity: 5 Strategies for Upskilling Employees on Sustainability

Companies face increasing pressure from regulators, customers, and shareholders to adopt sustainable business practices. Empowering employees to become part of the sustainability transition is becoming critical to gain traction and implementing with speed. 

However, not enough employees have the necessary skills and knowledge to manage these efforts. To remain competitive, companies need to urgently upskill their employees on sustainability and ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance).

Here are 5 ways companies can upskill their employees on sustainability and ESG and embed sustainability into corporate processes and culture:

Step 1: Provide Training Programs and Workshops
Companies can provide training programs and workshops to employees to upskill them on sustainability and ESG. These programs can cover topics such as sustainable business practices, carbon emissions reduction, waste reduction, ethical sourcing, and stakeholder engagement. By providing employees with the necessary knowledge and skills, companies can empower them to take action on sustainability and ESG initiatives. However, pure upskilling on frameworks and theory is not enough, companies need to focus on training that help participants turn the knowledge into tangible action. 

Step 2: Incorporate Sustainability and ESG into Performance Metrics
Companies can incorporate sustainability and ESG into performance metrics to incentivize employees to prioritize sustainable practices. This can for example mean including sustainability goals in employee performance evaluations, linking compensation to sustainability performance, or creating sustainability-focused incentive programs.

Step 3: Partner with External Experts
Companies can partner with external experts to provide employees with the necessary knowledge and skills. External experts can provide training programs and workshops, offer specialized consulting services, or advise on specific sustainability and ESG initiatives. 

Step 4: Hire New Talent
Companies can hire new talent with expertise in sustainability and ESG to fill knowledge gaps within their organization. This can include creating new roles focused on sustainability or ESG, or incorporating sustainability and ESG expertise into existing roles.

Step 5: Foster a Culture of Sustainability
Finally, companies can foster a culture of sustainability throughout the organization to ensure that all employees understand the importance of sustainability and ESG. This can include providing ongoing education and training for example to empower sustainability champions, setting sustainability and ESG goals at the organizational level, and recognizing and rewarding employees who prioritize sustainability. Finally, regular communication on the goals and actions, including messages from top management to underline the leadership buy-in, is crucial to create awareness and consistency.


At The DO, we offer sustainability training courses with the aim to help companies upskill their employees. One special angle we incorporate in all our sustainability and ESG training is to empower participants to leverage those topics to create innovation, i.e. develop new products, services, or processes that are good for the world and good for the company. 

In conclusion, upskilling employees on sustainability and ESG is critical for companies looking to remain competitive and meet the expectations of regulators, customers, and shareholders. 

By providing training programs and workshops, incorporating sustainability and ESG into performance metrics, partnering with external experts, hiring new talent, and fostering a culture of sustainability, companies can empower their employees to take action on sustainability and ESG initiatives and drive positive change within their organizations.

👉 Discover this replay link of the latest webinar on “Sustainability as a Competitive Advantage: The Role of Upskilling in Achieving Business Success” 

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