UTM: Leading the Green Skills Transition for a Sustainable Economy

In today’s world, the urgency of environmental sustainability shapes business and policy decisions and directly affects our lives. The pressing challenges of rapid urbanization and climate change demand immediate changes in our daily practices, from how we live and travel to how we interact with nature and extend to our energy practices.

We are facing a transition to a green economy, with global commitments outlined in the Paris Agreement aimed at limiting temperatures to 2°C or 1.5°C. While this change will disrupt labor markets, it promises substantial job opportunities in the coming decade.

A must for constant energy

An urgent transition to sustainable energy sources is mandated by international agreements such as the Paris Agreement, economic diversification goals and energy security requirements. Meanwhile, businesses face a changing market landscape where carbon-related costs can reshape economic dynamics and competitiveness.

The energy transition also has the potential to stimulate economic growth by taking advantage of global market opportunities. It provides an opportunity for global communities to revitalize their economies.

In the industrial sector, adoption of sustainable energy sources can improve production efficiency and productivity, leading to increased profitability over time. This change reduces manufacturing waste, waste heat generation and power consumption, fostering improved precision and repeatable high-precision engineering.

Shifting towards low-carbon, clean energy sources is critical to reducing carbon emissions in national power systems. Striking a balance between sustainability, security and affordability while addressing the energy trilemma is essential for a more robust and eco-friendly energy ecosystem. Several initiatives can advance the adoption of low-emission renewable and clean energy sources, including large-scale solar projects, hydrogen use, and bioenergy generation.

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Green Jobs: Key Drivers of Change

Demand for green skills is outstripping supply, leading to shortages, it says Global Green Skills Report 2023 by LinkedIn. Employers see an average increase of 12.3% in green talent between 2022 and 2023 across 48 countries.

Jobs requiring green skills grew even faster, averaging 22.4%. Green skills and jobs demonstrate resilience in times of economic instability, with green talent being hired more than their peers as of March 2020. A more eco-friendly economy across all sectors, including high carbon-emitting industries such as oil and gas.

Climate change and environmental technologies are expected to be significant drivers of global job growth, with widespread adoption across industries. Automation and augmentation, especially with AI applications, will play a major role in the future work landscape.

Implications: ESG and national policy

The Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) framework serves as a benchmark for evaluating companies’ sustainability and ethical practices. It covers energy efficiency, climate change strategy, workplace safety, community engagement and ethical governance.

The transition to a green economy aligns with the ESG framework, which promotes sustainability initiatives within businesses. To support Malaysia’s mission, The National Energy Transition Roadmap (NETR) It aims to accelerate the country’s move towards a cleaner, stronger future through renewable energy and green mobility initiatives.

NETR includes flagship projects like Integrated Renewable Energy Zones, Solar Parks, Hydro-Floating Solar PV and more. These efforts are consistent with Economics is a religious structureExpresses Malaysia’s commitment to future generations.

Author (left) with UTM Vice-Chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Ahmad Fauzi Ismail during the ASEAN Higher Education Conference 2023 in Bandung, Indonesia during the ASEAN Higher Education Summit 2023 „Sustainable and Resilient ASEAN as a Green Job Academic Hub”. Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)”.

A greener future in demand

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Green jobs are proliferating across sectors and industries, providing significant GDP growth and employment opportunities. A shift to green initiatives could create millions of new jobs worldwide, particularly in clean energy, efficiency and low-emission technologies.

Growing green positions offer opportunities for those with no prior green experience. New roles such as energy specialists and sustainability managers are in demand, encouraging employers to consider candidates with relevant skill sets.

Universities and educational institutions should prioritize STEAM skills, developing digital skills such as communication, information manipulation and problem solving. UTM offers courses related to green skills and promotes sustainable community-based learning and innovation programs that contribute to global sustainability efforts.

Courses offered by UTM include Master of Science in Conservation, Health and Environment, Sustainable and Environmental Science and Master of Sustainable Systems.

UTM promotes sustainable community-based learning through our Community Lab and engages in innovative projects related to green transition and sustainability in our courses.

As a leading research university in Malaysia, UTM is dedicated to advancing knowledge in green energy and green mobility, providing innovative solutions to global challenges.

By Prof. Dr. Mohammad Shafri Mohammad Rahim

The author is a Professor of Image Processing at the School of Computing, Faculty of Engineering, UTM Johor Bahru, and was recently appointed UTM Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and International). He is also currently the Acting Director of the Office of Strategy and Corporate Affairs.

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