17. RESPONSIBLE STEWARDSHIP OF THE ENVIRONMENT

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  • All workplaces are likely to be impacted by climate change due to future changes in input costs, shifts in consumer trends, requirements for supply chain compliance, and industrial instruments. While all industry sectors will be affected by climate change, those which will be particularly concerned are such sectors as energy, transport, construction, high-energy-consumption industries, and agriculture.
  • Employability skills, trades, and professions will all be affected by climate change. The immediate manifestations will be in those occupations that become redundant due to their incompatibility with climate change targets, or the ones in which the skills sets are already changing as a result.
  • Climate change concerns cannot be disassociated from the global need for energy, development, and economic growth. It is essential that the sustainability challenges such as food, commodities, and energy price fluctuations related to concerns about supply are given appropriate weight.
  • To be effective, climate change policies must serve the dual objectives of reducing greenhouse gas emissions while ensuring economic development, so that communities do not regress in terms of their living standards.
  • The development and global utilization of both existing and new cost-effective, energy-efficient technologies, with low greenhouse gas emissions in all sectors, is the most effective way to improve access to energy, promote energy efficiency, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Climate change poses major skills implications across industries.
  • Governments need to realise that climate change is an economic issue.
  • Climate change should be utilized as a vehicle for labour agreements. Where business decisions arise that involve social partners, they should be addressed through the usual established consultation processes.
  • Trade measures such as border tax adjustments, or labelling the "carbon footprint" of a product or service will increase costs for consumers and society, hamper trade in cleaner technologies, and aggravate trade tensions.
  • Business will be a major contributor to technological innovation, finance, investment, and the management capabilities needed to further greenhouse gas mitigation, and the adaptation to climate change.
  • The unique feature of climate change as an element in business strategic planning is its "whole of industry" and "whole of enterprise" dimension (in that the changes required will significantly affect every aspect of business).
  • There is still much to know about climate change and its likely effects. Consequently, there is a need to be alert to climate change proposals that may damage, rather than assist, the process of creating sustainable enterprises.

(1) IOE: Climate change, Information paper, 2009.