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Why Deloitte is giving its 330,000 employees a class in climate change

‘To address climate change, we need to understand it.’

Why Deloitte is giving its 330,000 employees a class in climate change
[Photos: borzywoj/iStock, Johannes Plenio/Unsplash]
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It’s not unusual for large companies to have climate goals. But few have actually embedded climate action throughout every department. One first step: making sure that every employee actually understands how climate change works.

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Deloitte, with 330,000 employees, is now an early mover in climate literacy. The company announced today that it’s rolling out a new training program for everyone in the company, developed in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund. “To address climate change, we need to understand it,” Punit Renjen, global CEO of Deloitte, said in a release.

Some employees at the consulting company are already immersed in climate science—the company has been working with clients on sustainability strategies for the last 20 years. But the new digital program will give everyone else a foundation for understanding how they can help address climate change, both in their professional and personal lives.

Fast Company didn’t have a chance to preview the program, so it’s not clear how it compares to the average, less than engaging employee training program in, say, time management. But the company notes that it’s using videos and data visualizations (and even spoken word poetry) to go beyond a dry collection of stats. The program also dives into concrete examples of climate impacts in specific communities, and examples of solutions, including details about what the company is doing internally to improve its own operations.

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It’s probably something that other companies should copy: How many non-scientists can quickly explain how the greenhouse effect works, why it leads to impacts like extreme rain or drought, and more importantly, what needs to happen to avoid the worst impacts of climate change? In the United States, where school districts are free to decide whether or not to cover climate, some students never learn about it. (Italy, by contrast, put climate change on the national curriculum.) And in a survey a couple of years ago, while a growing number of Americans agreed that climate change is a crisis, many thought they couldn’t do anything about it personally—and didn’t really understand what was causing it.

About the author

Adele Peters is a staff writer at Fast Company who focuses on solutions to some of the world's largest problems, from climate change to homelessness. Previously, she worked with GOOD, BioLite, and the Sustainable Products and Solutions program at UC Berkeley, and contributed to the second edition of the bestselling book "Worldchanging: A User's Guide for the 21st Century."

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