Asia Pacific Workforce is Vulnerable to Climate Extremes and Economic Transition Impact

A new report released by Deloitte highlights that Asia Pacific (APAC), is starting to witness the rise of a Green Collar workforce and estimates that 80% of the skills needed for the low emissions transition in the short-to-medium term already exists in today’s workforce.

However, 40% of these workers are currently employed in industries that are under threat from climate change and the transition to net zero.

The report “Work Toward Net Zero in the Asia Pacific: The Rise of the Green Collar Workforce in a Just Transition,” presents Deloitte’s Green Collar workforce policy agenda, and demonstrates how Asia Pacific governments can lead the way in tackling the climate crisis while increasing the resilience of those most vulnerable and ensuring equitable employment outcomes.

Compared to the rest of the world, APAC countries face double the risk of being highly exposed to the physical impacts of climate change, as well as having high employment in industries that will face disruption from the low emissions transition.

According to The Deloitte Economics Institute, an estimated 43% of workers in the region are employed in vulnerable industries driven by climate change, such as agriculture, conventional energy, manufacturing, transportation, and construction.

Minimising job disruption for climate-reliant jobs through investment in climate adaptation and accelerating the transition to net zero will be critical for APAC economies.

The report says investment in skills – to create a new Green Collar workforce – is necessary to realise the US$$47 trillion economic dividend identified from coordinated action on climate change.

The report also delves further into how policy measures aimed at investing in skill development can lead to a more equitable shift towards net-zero emissions globally, fostering additional social progress and economic prospects.

Will Symons, Deloitte Asia Pacific Sustainability & Climate Leader said: “Asia Pacific is exporting decarbonisation to the world, from renewable energies to innovation, and climate technology.”

“The transition is already underway, and the success of global decarbonisation efforts will rely on the skills and expertise of the workforce across the region. By ensuring we prioritise this, we can avoid significant losses, promote economic growth and generate up to 180 million jobs in the region.”