by uma



Key points from the UK:

  • In the UK, while 78% of staff say that they are ready and willing to tackle the climate crisis at work, 35%[1] of all employees think their companies aren’t taking enough climate action.
  • 61%[2] of British employees can’t explain their companies’ climate commitments, leaving 52% calling for training on tackling climate change at work
  • Corporate action on climate change could be the key to combatting the great resignation, amid new findings that more than 57%[3] of employees in the UKlink their company’s climate action to their job satisfaction and 93%[4] say it is important for their motivation and wellbeing
  • Alongside leading scientists and world leading experts on sustainability, Kite Insights launches The Climate School to accelerate the transformation needed to decarbonise economies and meet global climate goals
  • The Climate School quantifies companies’ climate readiness by scoring employee knowledge, motivation and ability to act – measuring preparedness and accelerating the transition to net-zero

London, 29 June 2022: Employees are demanding more from their employers on climate change according to a new survey from Kite Insights that measures attitudes to climate change and business preparedness. Launched during London Climate Action Week, the survey of more than 7,000 workers across 15 major industries worldwide paints a worrying picture of growing staff dissatisfaction at employers’ lack of progress on climate change.

Business readiness on climate action

Companies increasingly recognise their responsibility towards sustainability and climate

change. The Race to Zero Initiative, for example, counts over 3,000 companies

among its adherents – and the number is growing. But this responsibility is slow to translate to employee engagement and training for climate change action. Employees represent huge untapped potential in the push for decarbonisation. For businesses worldwide, the most impactful investment they can make is in training a zero carbon army of ready and willing employees.

51% of employees surveyed in the UK recognise climate change as a fundamental threat that will have catastrophic consequences on our economies and societies if we don’t make transformative changes to address it immediately. Whilst 35% of employees say that the business where they work is not taking enough action on climate change.

Employees want to tackle climate change at work

It’s clear that employees are being overlooked and businesses have so far failed to adequately mobilise staff on this issue – 78% of employees say they are ready and willing to tackle the climate crisis in their work and 52% of employees are interested in undertaking training related to climate action in the context of their work.

  Employees want to see their employers taking stronger climate action – 57% of employees worldwide feel that it is important to their job satisfaction that their organisation is doing all that it can to reduce its contribution to climate change.

As we see the consequences of runaway climate change on a daily basis, through coverage of climate change linked extreme weather events occurring across the globe, it’s little wonder at times like these, that 93% of employees feel it is important to their motivation and mental health to be able to act on climate change through their work. Businesses that fail to take this into consideration risk losing staff. According to research from LinkedIn[5] the demand for green talent is outstripping supply – highlighting a real need for upskilling. We found that as many as 12% of employees[6] are considering changing jobs if they can’t act on climate change.

1 Yes 78%, No opinion 15% and No 8%, rounding

Sophie Lambin, CEO at Kite Insights said, 

“As businesses move to address the climate crisis and commit to the green transition, employee engagement will be one of the main indicators and predictors of business performance and resilience. The companies whose employees are ready to embrace and pursue change, armed with the knowledge and skills to do so, will lead and succeed in the green transformation.

“The transformation mindset starts and ends with peopleIt’s about reimagining economic and planetary prosperity, and averting future crises with ingenuity and justice, and measuring the extent to which companies are actually giving their employees the means to be part of it,”

Employee knowledge gap

Even where businesses have strong climate commitments, staff education is often missing. Half (61%) of employees still lack clarity on their organizations’ climate commitments.

We cannot assume that all employees have sufficient knowledge of the climate crisis either. While 96% of staff believe that climate change is a threat, just 52%[7] feel prepared to champion climate action in their teams and only 46%[8] feel that the culture at their organisation encourages them to speak up about climate change and act upon company goals.

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has also led to assumptions and misconceptions about our progress towards cutting emissions. This is evidenced by 59%[9] of employees who

believe emissions fell in 2020 when in fact they rose more than the 10-year average in 2020 to 413.2 part per million regardless of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.[10]

Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research commented,  “Businesses, and therefore all employees, are in the midst of the climate crisis, and what happens over the coming few years, will determine the outcome both for the planet and for the competitive edge of companies. It is therefore essential that all employees are up to speed with the latest science, engage with the frontier work on aligning businesses with science based targets, and contribute to transform their companies and industries, to secure jobs and prosperity.”

The Opportunity

Many of the changes we are already seeing across our societal systems – all of which have a direct impact on our businesses, supply chains and economies – will pose substantial risk to a range of industries and result in the complete transformation of others.

With so much change afoot, it makes logical and financial sense for businesses to act on climate. Many employees recognise this opportunity too: 49%[11] of employees say that innovating for positive action on climate change presents a significant financial opportunity for their organisation.

For businesses signed up to The Climate School, the impact for both leaders and workers alike is invaluable. Using tools such as the The Climate Action Readiness Assessment, afford C-suite staff with a metric against which to measure progress and insights into employee sentiment, readiness and knowledge of climate change – giving them the basis to scale climate training accordingly.

Despite all this rising pressure, few global companies are acting radically enough to catalyse transformation. The evidence shows that staff are willing and ready to act on climate change and doing so is essential to their job satisfaction, motivation and mental wellbeing. Companies who fail to recognize this add fuel to the already blazing great resignation and risk losing staff to organizations that do.

Kite Insights have been working on the upskilling the workforce for the green transformation since their inception in 2012. Culminating years of data research, deep insights and data polling, they are well positioned to prepare business for the system needed, engaging employees as a key driver of this change.

The Climate School

Guided by expertise from some of the world’s best scientists and practitioners from the Sustainable Finance Advisory and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Kite Insights is using its considerable research base to develop a curriculum that addresses the wide gaps in employee knowledge of climate and sustainability action. Covering climate science, biodiversity, nature and society, Kite Insight’s new initiative – The Climate School, will support and prepare businesses and their people for the green economy. Crucially, the initiative quantifies – and over time will benchmark – climate readiness by scoring employee knowledge, motivation and their ability to act.

The School allows employees to take positive climate action within their professional roles, offering a digital-first engagement and learning programme that seeks not only to democratise access to training on climate but also accelerate action.


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