Get Green – Our Future Workforce Demands Action

Get Green – Our Future Workforce Demands Action

Get Green – Our Future Workforce Demands Action

by Tim Foote, Founder of Susymbio

This month’s main focus of LogiSYM Magazine is rightly concentrating on the workforce of the future. Many of the children today will be the leaders of tomorrow and thankfully their access to logistics and transportation (L&T) education is abundant. In late 1980’s USA, when I started University, relatively few schools had degrees concentrated on L&T. Lucky for me the University of Tennessee provided me just that – so I had the ability to study at what is still a top L&T program. That said, engineers and other disciplines often fill the ranks of L&T operations with skilled graduates.

A wise man once told me that the study in post-secondary schools is not so much about cramming more facts into students’ brains (and no doubt that happens), but post-secondary education forms how brains will approach challenges. I can definitely say that was the case with me. I became of zealot of total quality management principles and applications. My University Instructors trained me to think – Continuous Improvement! Collective Solutions! Waste Elimination! Even today, my brain is still working with the same outlook. It definitely explains why I am driven to work today on sustainable logistics solutions. I simply want to tackle greenhouse gas as a kind of waste that simply needs to be reduced and ultimately eliminated.

That feeling is not universal in our industry though. When sustainability targets are not being set or not being targeted seriously in our industry, it can definitely lead to disappointment. And it clearly disappoints the workforce of the future too.

In “The Deloitte Global 2022 Gen Z and Millennial Survey” we have a taste of what our future workforce values. The survey shows that the young workforce currently moving up the ranks see climate change as its second largest concern after cost of living. Think about that? Unemployment and health are lower than climate change!

Deloitte’s survey also showed that, “Only 18% of Gen Zs and 16% of millennials believe their employers are strongly committed to fighting climate change.” Furthermore they, “want to see employers prioritize visible climate actions that enable employees to get directly involved, such as banning single-use plastics and providing training to help people make better environmental decisions.”

The younger generation can see through ‘smoke and mirrors’ and they are understandably impatient to make real change as soon as possible. Afterall, it’s their children that will suffer even harsher consequences ofclimate change. The future workforce beyond Gen Z will be no different, and they may be even more concerned as climate change affects weather more and more.

Education is the Key

Our educational institutions need to step up beyond the “Three Rs” (reduce, reuse, recyle) and ensure that the future workforce is equipped to come up with and execute the needed solutions for getting our planet healthy again. Without training to confront environmental challenges constructively – people can just lapse into depression – and there is no need for that. Battling greenhouse gas emissions should be no different than cutting transit times or cutting waste in processes from the factory to the customer.

I began work on integrating sustainability in logistics education last year along with Edward Lau and Karmjit Singh. As members of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Singapore, we kicked off the “Save the World” webinar series to educate schools and professionals in the industries latest solutions for decarbonizing our L&T industry.

Please have a look at those webinars – they’re free and available to anyone. More still needs to be done though. Ideally integration of “green logistics” needs to be part of the growing L&T curriculum around the world.

Logistics Leaders – The Future Workforce Wants Actions to Clean The Environment!

There is a very real disconnect between our industry’s actions and the demands of the younger workforce. The Deloitte Study very clearly shows that. Even when companies spend millions in training their employees so that they know the tools of total quality management, they don’t generally task them to use the tools to focus on cutting emissions in their work processes (usually for fear of impacting profit margins). Why not begin today empowering your teams to look at reducing your carbon footprint? If costs and competition is holding back action, then start changing the conditions of the costs and the competition. Push for decarbonizing regulations that changes the playing field to reflect the values of your future workforce. Our planet and future generations will benefit!

About the Author

Tim Foote runs Susymbio, a boutique consulting firm advising clients on e-commerce logistics solutions and provides sustainability program management services. Tim worked in management positions at multiple MNCs for more than 25 years, gaining a wide knowledge and expertise in logistics operations, Tim has crafted delivery solutions for many e-commerce clients and managed the supply chains for several chemical and freight forwarding companies.

At DHL eCommerce’s first Asia Pacific Head of Go Green, he put in place various programs, including carbon footprint management, sustainability training, illegal wildlife smuggling monitoring training, and employee engagement.

Tim volunteers his free-time with the Singapore Wildcat Action Group, a not-for-profit organization that raises awareness and funds for wildlife conservation.

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