Green Jobs for a Green Future

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) is at the top of the agenda for many organisations. It is a collective term for a business’s impact on the environment and wider society. But what are the views of those individuals whose roles are deemed to no longer be environmentally friendly?

Recent reports highlight that there are concerns by many working in the oil and gas industries that the move by the UK to using more renewable energy will have the same impact on the individuals working in those industries as the closure of the mines had for those who worked in the former coal industry, namely mass redundancies and high unemployment.

Why are they concerned?

The closure of many mines in the 1980’s and 1990’s led to mass redundancies and high levels of unemployment. The coal miners faced significant geographical and occupational immobility, as many miners had no academic qualifications meaning it was exceptionally hard for them to secure alternative employment. Many in the oil and gas industry are concerned that, if made redundant, they too will struggle to transfer their existing skills to alternative work.

The costs of retraining individuals working in the oil and gas industries are high. Furthermore, whilst the government insists that there will be plenty of green jobs to fill the void, individuals are dubious over the government’s claims about the level of jobs that will be provided.

What can be done?

The relevant industry unions for a long time have campaigned for a digital skills passport, to ensure that individuals do not have to duplicate training unnecessarily. However, whilst this may go some way to ensuring that individuals do not face high retraining costs, it will not assist with the concerns about the level of new green jobs that will be provided. In a world where AI and technology have seen many jobs from all sectors being reduced, it is understandable that individuals in non-renewable energy industries have these concerns.

The move to renewable energy, along with the focus on the environment more generally, is essential, for we all want a world left for the next generations and the extreme weather conditions experienced by many over recent weeks is testament to the need to act quickly to achieve this. However, with such progress, it is important that we consider the social implications of environmental change and protect those working in more traditional industries. With many sectors experiencing a skills gap, perhaps now, more than ever, is the time for cross sector collaboration, with the onus on organisations to bear the costs of retraining individuals from the oil and gas industries into those sectors with the most demand.


This information is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. Please contact us for specific advice on your circumstances. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024.



Read the latest articles and commentary from Shoosmiths or you can explore our full insights library.