LAS is an award-winning provider of elearning consultancy, design, development and training services in the UK and internationally.
Established in 2005 as LearningAge Solutions, we work with some of the best known organisations in the world to boost their performance through the innovative use of learning technologies. Working in partnership with our customers, we draw on proven principles from human behaviour, how people learn and how the brain works to create impactful digital learning solutions with real return on investment.
About Tess Robinson
Tess is a director of LAS. She has worked in a learning environment for over twenty years. First, as a senior manager in universities, moving into digital learning ten years ago.
How L&D could save the world
By Tess Robinson
Posted 17 May 2022
We all know that climate change is starting to have a grim effect on our planet. We see it on the news every day and in our everyday lives; in the loss of biodiversity and extreme weather events. When I was a child, the bushes outside our house would be literally alive with butterflies every summer. Last summer, I participated in the Big Butterfly Count and counted just one solitary butterfly in my garden.
There is a rapidly narrowing window of opportunity to enable us to reduce the impact of climate change and organisations have a key role to play. Over 5,000 companies and almost 500 financial institutions have signed up to the UN’s Race to Zero, pledging to halve emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero by 2050.
At the moment, I think it’s fair to say that there is somewhat of a gap between this commitment and actual action, but it feels like there’s a sea change coming that will push the environment up the agenda in organisations. For one, environmental policies are starting to affect the bottom line, as, according to Retail Week, consumers are increasingly choosing who they buy from based on a company’s ethics and environmental credentials. Spending on ethical products is also up to £100bn and rising fast. Frankly, it makes good business sense to be sustainable.
We see also the growth of interest in the Triple Bottom Line, that focuses not just on profit and shareholder value, but also on the value that organisations bring to society and the environment. Over 1,000 UK companies, including us, have signed up to the Better Business Act to campaign for a small change in company law so that all businesses take ownership of their social and environmental impact, contributing to a cleaner, greener, fairer future for everyone.
The B Corp movement has also seen tremendous growth. There are now over 5,000 B Corp in 80 countries. The number of UK B Corps is expected to rise by 120% this year alone. This is all great progress, but we still need organisations to do more.
This is where L&D comes in. This is an exciting opportunity for those of us in learning to really make a fundamental difference; not just to our own organisations but to the planet and society as a whole. In L&D, we are behaviour change experts and are ideally placed to support, what in some organisations, will be a massive cultural and operational change.
We ran a lunchtime session on ‘Green L&D’ at the recent Learning Technologies Conference in London. It was highly interactive, as we wanted to hear from participants about all the things that they were doing to support sustainability in their organisations. We weren’t disappointed. The initiatives ranged from making virtual/hybrid/blended learning the norm post-pandemic to setting carbon budgets and tracking carbon savings to regenerative leadership academies. One company was even timing their energy-intensive AI computations to when the sun was at its peak, so they could use solar power instead of fossil fuels. It was all so inspiring. One participant told me that she was going to go straight back and talk to the sustainability team about how L&D could support their work - fantastic!
The climate situation we find ourselves in can seem very bleak and scary, but I firmly believe that we have an opportunity here in L&D to help our organisations make fundamental progress on these issues. The Learning Technologies session was so positive. We left feeling really optimistic. In L&D, it’s time to use our skills to do real good in the world. Are we up to the challenge? I believe we are.
We’ve set up a Green L&D group on LinkedIn to continue the conversation, share best practice and learn from each other. Join us.