Last updated: 29.01.13

Business training 'key to achieving sustainability'

High levels of education and training among managers is the first step to making a company more sustainable.

This is according to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) in an article written by a spokesperson from the authority for the Guardian, which cited results published by the United Nations Global Compact Survey. It was noted that 86 per cent of chief executive officers believe organisations must enhance managerial training to integrate sustainability into strategy and operations.

In recent years, the WBCSD has been developing training tools to build its member companies' capacity and help them roll out tailored education programmes to employees.

One project it has worked on is the Future Leaders Team scheme, which is aiming to encourage business leaders to become effective ambassadors for sustainable development through knowledge creation and experiential learning. This involves organising workshops and getting involved within the WBCSD, as well as managing individual and group projects.

The body has also launched a Business Ecosystems Training (BET) programme, which is an instructor-led initiative comprising of four modules that equips firms with the skills they need to manage, mitigate and measure their ecosystem impacts and understand them better.

Currently being used by the National Committee of the Netherlands, BET has also functioned to train workers in Dutch companies such as Akzo Nobel and Philips.

Business leaders in the UK may want to think about how they can use technology to train their workers and e-learning is a method that is rising in popularity.

Online modules can save both managers and employees time and money, with one expert from Deloitte's Leadership Academy recently claiming the cost of digital training is around $5 (£3) per employee every hour, while face-to-face teaching can set firms back as much as $50 per person.

Managers could turn to e-learning providers such as Virtual College for courses covering a wide range of workplace issues, from Equality and Diversity in the Workplace to How to Manage Discipline and Grievance.