The Green Economy

In a world dominated and driven by change, we find ourselves in a constant state of flux. With change, comes change. As environments around us continue to evolve, so must human-kind. 

Whether it’s how we dress, eat, manage our waste, what utensils to use and how often one should switch on energy supplies. Everything must change, all the time, if we are to keep up with the churn.

Working the green economy

The Onslaught of Climate Change

Today, it has become all too obvious that the key jobs of the future are those stemming from the green economy.

As the onslaught of climate change continues to batter our meteorological status quo, so too has its impacts been reshaping the world of business and employment. With millions of workers displaced, swathes of critical infrastructure reduced to rubble and world economies being pulled this way and that by continually nervy financial markets, the landscape of the global labour market has changed, and in many ways not for the better of local communities.

Over the past decade, but especially in the last five years, global supply chains have been bruised and battered by the ravages of devastating weather patterns, the eradication or limitations of natural resources, the large-scale displacement or movement of peoples and worldwide cost of living crises. Add to that the continuing knock-on effects of the war in Ukraine, and you have the perfect storm for employment turbulence.

Or maybe not.

With change, comes change. And with changes comes opportunity.

Social and economic unrest has brought with it a large vacuum in European labour markets, with many job vacancies remaining unfilled as people shop around, looking for better pay and optimal working conditions. With a myriad career options opening out in front of them, young people are now more selective when it comes to those industries in which they foresee a future. Furthermore, hybrid working and work life balance are now priorities for many of us who have ‘done the overtime and worked the weekends’. Today, we want employment that doesn’t just give us a decent wage and a chair that’s not broken (one that is ergonomically customised for preference!), we want careers in our preferred areas of interest or expertise, jobs that offer fulfilment and workplaces that have our wellbeing at their core.

How COVID Brought Irish Green Economy to the Forefront

Sfter the ‘great change’ of 2020/21 resulting from the Covid pandemic, both employers and employees have arrived at a shared realisation: that the future of work lies in the green economy. Transformed by the ever-dominant culture of digitalisation, our world has become one in which our awareness of ways of doing things has grown; factors such as sustainability, remote working, reducing our carbon footprint, minimising emissions, repurpose over replace, buying fair-trade etc have all become part of our everyday behaviours.

Added to that the urgent need to protect our environment, improve society and invest more time and effort in social responsibility, this is a world turned on its head. A world fast becoming one in which equality, inclusion and diversity are as important as promotion, pay-checks and paid leave.

It is a world immersed in green. Primarily, the green economy.

Building the Green Economy with Employment

Employment can of itself and as a critical part of the ‘whole’, support our transition to business and economic sustainability. However, if it is to play its part to the fullest, a programme for skills development or green CPD as it were, would be required, to ensure sufficient numbers of the working population up-skilled to to ‘green skills’.

According the World Economic Forum, an industry where up-skilling is urgently required is Energy. With energy providers fast transitioning to renewables, the writing is on the wall for those, like coal miners and those working in gas extraction, employed in Fossil Fuel-based industries. Likewise, with the rise of ESG, more consumers are looking to brands that display green credentials. The day of flashy packaging is fast receding, as eco-minded shoppers switch to a less is more attitude.

Employers can play their part by mapping green skillsets to shifting market trends as the move to decarbonise gathers pace. In line with current worker thinking, businesses need to seek out workplace best practices – such as ISO 45001 – that show their ongoing commitment to employee wellbeing as well as a desire to develop a culture of transparency and positivity.

We recently conducted a sustainability survey on Irish businesses, to understand how our clients are taking action to become more sustainable. The results speak for themselves. Click here to download it.

By leveraging sustainable employment and green skills development strategies, organisations can simultaneously boost their profile with potential employees whilst enhancing their reputation amongst the buying public. 

To enable green innovation and support the adoption of sustainable best practices, business leaders need to give clear strategic direction by fostering a culture engaged with climate action and Net Zero.

Growing a green-driven culture opens doors to training programmes previously not considered to be as skills for the serious career person in the economies of the late 90s and early 00s. Today, the most in-demand training/education courses are in Multimedia, Business Management and Marketing. From the employer perspective, the most sought after skills in the drive for green transition are in Corporate Sustainability Strategy, Sustainability Finance and Energy Efficiency Design Skills (ESRI/Skillnet Ireland’s Green Economy 2022 Report).

Studies carried out by the WEF would appear to reinforce this data, with their Green Skills of the Future studying indicating that that the green economy will lean heavily not just towards the sciences in the form of Green Engineering & Tech Skills, with Biology, Biochemistry and Horticulture also featuring high in the rankings, but also in the direction of Sustainable Construction, Green Finance and Macroeconomics.

Other skills that came out on top of the Green Economy wish list were Environmental Justice, Precision, Fibre and Organic Agri Skills, as well as Sustainable Planning, which all tie in with the ongoing rise of the complementary frameworks of ESG & CSR.


Finally, according to its 2020 Future of Jobs survey, the WEF reported that other high priorities for business managers and employers of the future are in the big growth areas in Tech - Cloud, Big Data and AI.

And as employment can help shape a green or circular economy, so too can ISO standards.

Educating and up-skilling a young workforce to drive the green transition and nowhere has seen faster growth than the areas of Environmental Social Governance, specifically Environmental Policy making, Sustainable Finance and Net Zero / Waste Management.

In addition to subject-specific skillsets, having knowledge of and experience in Green-focussed ISO standards such as ISO 1400150001 and 45001 is seen by prospective employers in larger organisations as desired supplementary skills – soon they will be required.

It is widely believed by Green Economy experts that and environmental business leaders that ISO 14001 is the most “significant international initiative of our times” in terms of sustainable development (source IISD).

By creating a robust framework against which young Green Professionals can benchmark their particular areas of interest, ISO 14001 and other standards in the Green Suite, can provide them with unparalleled insights into best-practice operational structure, innovation and sustainability.

In working to the rigorous requirements of ISOs 14001, 50001 and 45001, those who will make up the workforce of the green economy of the future, will have a clear understanding of critical business factors such as Waste & Water Management, Environmental Protection in a Corporate Landscape, Environmental Health Systems, Social Justice (as determined by the tenets of CSR and ESG – operational and strategic bedfellows of ISO standards).

Implementation of a risk-based, process-driven, Green Economy-led ISO Management System compels organisations to focus on Environmental issues – Climate Change, Waste, Sustainability, Social Justice, Cultural Heritage. It guides them to prioritise these issues during business or strategic planning stages, ensuring these subjects are on the board table and not just items on a wishlist.

Designed to display a commitment to Sustainability and Net Zero, ISO 14001 and its fellow standards acts as integral mechanism of operational integration that is at the coalface of the transition to the Green Economy of the not so distant future.

Enterprise Ireland Grants - The Green Transition Fund

With further support coming in from Irelands Enterprise Grants, there’s no better time to re-innovate and start contributing to the Green Economy.

So what exactly is the Green Transition Fund?

As part of Irelands National recovery and resilience plans, funded by the EU, two seperate streams of funding has been made available for Irish businesses to decarbonise their products and business models. The funds include:

Climate Planning Fund

This fund will allow Irish Businesses to build a larger capability in developing low carbon products, processes and business models.

Enterprise Emissions Reduction Investment Fund

This fund will support capital investment and Research, Development & Innovation in decarbonisation.

The funds will grant a range of businesses in different stages of the de-carbonisation journey access to services such as consultancy and training with the governement subsedising up to €50,000.

To see the full list of grants such as GreenStart, GreenPlus and The Climate Action Voucher, head over to the Enterprise Ireland website.

How to make an Enterprise Ireland Grant Claim

To qualify for a grant you must be a client of Enterprise Ireland or Údarás na Gaeltachta. 

Becoming a client is simple, you must first go through elegability with an Enterprise Ireland Advisor who will talk to you about your requirements and elegibility. If all is OK, you can get access.

Check out the full list of grants here

CG Business Consulting offers a full range of Sustainability Services. As an Enterprise Ireland approved service provider, our Sustainability experts can help your business prepare and apply for Enterprise Ireland supports to fund your Green Transition.

Recently we conducted an energy audit on a variety of small, medium and large Irish businesses to find out what’s important to them when it comes to the Green Economy.

You can download a copy of the audit here


Sustainability Survey Infographic

Download a copy of the CGBC Sustainability Survey Infographic.

We surveyed Irish businesses to find out their current stance on Sustainability. The results proved very interesting.