Sustainability knowledge ‘essential’ for boosting industry growth

More than three quarters (76%) of professionals believe that a greater focus on sustainability within the built environment could help to boost overall industry growth, according to new research.

With professionals aware of the growth potential, 84% feel qualifications in sustainability could be vital to improving their current employability.

Almost two thirds (60%) have sought out and gained sustainability qualifications, and a further 86% want to acquire credentials within their field of expertise.

Education manager at the UK Green Building Council, Cat Hirst, said: “Green is no longer an optional extra for when times are good. It offers the potential to help provide much-needed growth and jobs across the sector, particularly in retrofit. To make the most of that, having the right staff with the right knowledge and skills is absolutely essential.”

The research, conducted by, found that 44% of built environment professionals have been asked by an employer to demonstrate sustainability experience or qualifications.

Professionals surveyed stated that they believe evidence of sustainability knowledge, such as qualifications and accreditation, will become a more common requirement for employers in the future (86%).

In March, research released by the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA), showed that the environmental jobs market was growing. From more than 2,200 environment professionals surveyed, 20% said their company was employing more environment professionals in 2012.

Executive director of policy at IEMA, Martin Baxter, said: “These figures are clear evidence that UK plc is now putting environment central to their businesses, and using this as a strategy to grow their way out of the recession,”

“With over £23 billion potential savings a year available (according to Defra), in energy and waste savings, employing an environment professional will not only provide a direct payback but will also build businesses to resilience to future challenges and open up opportunities.

“Government should follow the lead of business and put green growth and environmental investment at the heart of building a sustainable economy,” he added.

Leigh Stringer

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