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Driving ESG with purpose through upskilling

By the ProEdge team | Published: April 19, 2023 | Read/watch time: 9 minutes

How upskilling your workforce in ESG can help you navigate the challenges of today and tomorrow.

Hardly a day goes by that we don't read something in the news about climate, the environment, social justice and equality. These issues are sometimes referred to as ESG — or sustainability matters. No matter how you title these concerns, the headline is clear: communities, companies and their employees — as well as investors and government entities — are all affected by these important issues. 

The majority of employees — 84% — are more likely to work for a company that stands up for environmental values. Forty-nine percent of investors are willing to divest from companies not taking sufficient action.

Its importance is likely to intensify as climate change and societal, racial and socioeconomic disparities continue to be experienced and amplified. These challenges coincide with overall labor market fluctuations, cyber threats, inflation and growing demands for worker health, workplace safety and hybrid work models.

If organizations want to improve the way they navigate current and future obstacles — with a workforce to back them up — it may be time to lean into a greater purpose. See what PwC is doing to help drive its own ESG goals and how it’s using upskilling to help other organizations drive transformation and build a values-driven culture that lasts

PwC’s commitment to ESG and how it has impacted workforce strategy 

Our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems, and we believe that social matters are some of the most important problems facing businesses today. That's why we help many Fortune 500 companies through our ESG solutions.

Our 2022 Purpose and Inclusion Report provides a holistic view across key aspects of the firm’s ESG and sustainability activities with a heavy focus on workforce strategy. We’ve set out to achieve aspirational goals and while we’ve made progress, there’s so much more we’re working on doing.

Expanding opportunities for underrepresented groups

PwC believes everyone should have access to better opportunities within their careers, economic advancement and education. But the current state of today’s workforce tells a different story. 

Black workers are nearly twice as likely to be unemployed as white workers. The proportion of Hispanic/Latinx students who graduate college within four years is 14% lower than that of white students.

To increase the career opportunities and employment for racially and ethnically diverse groups, we expanded one of our signature community programs, Access Your Potential, committing $125 million to support a more equitable future for 25,000 Black and Hispanic/Latinx students. The program provides access to digital and career-readiness training, upskilling, mentorship and additional pathways to help college students as they prepare for and begin in-demand careers. 

Improving equity in upskilling access

Access Your Potential introduces students to career readiness resources hosted on the digital upskilling platform, ProEdge, a PwC product. ProEdge provides an immersive learning path that helps students build the skills they need to be competitive in school and in their future careers — at PwC or elsewhere.

For instance, the Career Readiness Curriculum helps students assess and gain insight on who they are and where they want to go by identifying their strengths, values, passions and purpose so they can set goals and build their personal brand. Students can also go through the Digital Skills Curriculum, which is a 30-hour immersive learning path to digitally upskill students and help bridge academic and technology competencies. These practices help close the digital divide and achieve equity in the workplace and society as a whole. 

ProEdge as an ESG upskilling tool

Companies that drive their ESG transformation most successfully communicate their sustainability story internally — and externally. But the ESG journey can feel broad and intangible for many organizations. ESG can play a vital role in a company’s success, but how can an enterprise build ESG into their culture and values brick by brick?

ESG-driven activities can look different across functions. Your supply chain and procurement groups may primarily focus on ethical sourcing whereas finance may be more focused on reporting. Sales and marketing are driving brand awareness and revenue. Upskilling programs like ProEdge credentialing can help to address those nuances.

ProEdge, a PwC product, provides ESG-specific upskilling for functions like finance, HR, marketing, sales and more by using tailored learning pathways that help organizations integrate ESG concepts and skills into sustainable daily work practices. 

ProEdge has over 17,000 curated, on-demand learning assets from industry-leading content providers — like the  New York University Stern Center for Sustainable Business —  to channel relevant, engaging and timely content that can help enterprises enable ESG transformation. Each function has access to foundational information on climate change, social and governance concepts including business implications, risk governance, corporate social responsibility, ethics and compliance, carbon markets, taxes, common frameworks, regulatory trends and more. Learners can also increase their knowledge with portable credentials that can help grow their career opportunities.  

Upskilling can help weave ESG into the workforce experience within the framework of business goals. And by integrating the nuances of ESG and sustainability within each function, you can cultivate values-driven culture — one that can help you make positive change within your organization, for your stakeholders and beyond.

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