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Trading Carbon : December - January 2011
One of the big questions about the potential outcomes of the UN climate change conference in Durban(COP17) is the future of the Kyoto Protocol. Kyoto is the only legal framework that calls for emission cuts by developed countries and the first commitment period expires in December 2012. The agreement of a second period, at least by some developed countries, is seen as a pivotal to the success of the Durban conference. Whatever the eventual outcome, Durban is likely to impact recruitment in careers focusing on sustainable development. So what recruitment trends could we see develop post COP17? Overall, the message for companies worldwide is that there are new green opportunities, these include: leveraging green finance, investing in renewable energy and environmental design; combined with a new sustainable marketplace. Companies that become aware of these and utilise strategic opportunities will obtain a competitive advantage and, according to Duane Newman, director: sustainability and climate change at consultancy Deloitte in South Africa: "Businesses that ignore environmental issues do so at their own peril." The experience of Allen & York, specialist international sustainability recruiters is that there is job growth within renewable energy, energy efficiency and carbon management and water management. As businesses become more aware of the effects of climate change, there will be even more pressure on them to reduce and monitor their carbon emissions, to manage sustainable procurement and invest in green energy sources. Tiphaine Gallou, environmental recruitment consultant at Allen & York, is also seeing an increase in sustainability roles, specifically in South Africa, and within the disciplines of geology, hydrogeology, environmental consultancy and health and safety. Research from Dent Associates, a business and science consultancy, shows that business' fixed assets, supply and distribution chains, operational concerns, such as how employees get to work, energy use and efficiency, and, of course, insurance concerns, will all be affected by climate change, so businesses have to adapt with climate change now. "COP17 will provide added impetus for organisations to create competitive green industries, local green collar jobs and embrace a low-carbon culture," said Irvan Damon, ambassador for the Sustainable Energy Society of Southern Africa "New opportunities are emerging for low-carbon investment professionals in developing countries, such as South Africa. There is a signal of renewed confidence to investors in carbon markets," said Neil Morris, director of climate change and sustainability services at KPMG in South Africa. To harness these competitive advantages' organisations need the support of qualified and skilled sustainability professionals throughout their business; from the chief sustainability officer in the boardroom to health and safety managers and renewable energy developers. Procurement of renewable energy by corporations is likely to increase as more pressure is placed on reducing carbon emissions, whether it's buying the power straight from the grid or through specific specialised utilities. Purchasing a number of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) -- equivalent to one MWh of electricity produced by a renewable source -- provides companies with that flexible tool that enables them to achieve green energy goals. Furthermore, the purchasing and trading of huge numbers of RECs by corporations enables the funding of future renewable energy projects. This creates an increase in job roles throughout the whole renewable energy sector, from developers to procurement and trading professionals. "There is a growing demand for low-carbon and energy trading professionals who are able to manage corporations' portfolios and understand the legalities and logistics of the commodities markets," said Peter Hoskin, Allen & York energy services principal consultant. l Vicky Kenrick is a marketing assistant at international sustainability recruitment consultancy, Allen & York Email: email@example.com 35 OPINION VICKY KENRICK EXPLORES THE EFFECT OF THE UN CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE ON GLOBAL SUSTAINABILITY RECRUITMENT AND CAREER TRENDS RecruitmentTrends Dec 2011/Jan 2012 Vicky Kenrick, Allen & York: There are green opportunities