How green is your L&D? Where is the climate concern from people development professionals?

Between extinction rebellion, Greta Thunberg and the growing political consensus it is clear 2019 may finally be the year where climate change is taken seriously.  I posted briefly about this in April but its been telling of late how little (if at all) this topic has permeated into L&D professional conversations.

In some ways L&D have led the way in corporate environmentalism – the shift towards eLearning and virtual classrooms have performed considerable savings in travel time and CO2.  Often due to budget pressure L&D has found new ways to support learning and performance.  However, we continue to see job posts advertised where location is the primary factor – rather than recognising the true power of global collaboration technologies.  VUCA and other challenges to L&D/organisational strategies are talked about but sustainability is talked about in a business sense, not in the sense of making your work more sustainable.  In a quick Google search, the top results relating to ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’ L&D are nothing to do with the environment or climate crisis at all.  For example, the topic article returned for ‘sustainable L&D’ is a typical L&D article, namely that it considers the chance of survival for L&D in terms of proving worth to the boardroom, rather than anything to do with contributing to how sustainable the organisation is environmentally.

Learning (in and outside of the workplace) is an essential aspect of the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs) as both an enabler and as specific parts of goals, such as “Quality Education”.  However, the learning and development field seems silent on the topic and continues to pass this issue on to others within the organisation.  The time has come for far more of a focus?

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