The Asia-Pacific region is one of the most exposed areas in the world when it comes to climate change along with high employment in industries that face disruption from the low emissions transition according to Deloitte.
The Deloitte Economics Institute estimated 43 per cent of workers in the Asia-Pacific region were employed in vulnerable industries such as agriculture, conventional energy, manufacturing, and construction with the figure in Australia just over a quarter of the workforce at 26 per cent.
Deloitte said government and business leaders in the region alike needed to take up the ESG and climate change battle to help those vulnerable due to climate change but also support those who were due to be impacted by the transition to a low emissions economy.
Deloitte’s report — Work Towards Net Zero: the rise of the green collar workforce in a just transition — found if Asia-Pacific economies rapidly decarbonised while still supporting those impacted by the transition, 180 million jobs could be created by 2050.
The firm also found that forthright climate action could provide $47 trillion to Asia-Pacific economies by 2070 and that 80 per cent of the skills needed to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 already exist.
Deloitte Asia-Pacific climate and sustainability leader Will Symons said it was important for businesses across the region to prioritise sustainability.
“Asia-Pacific is exporting decarbonisation to the world, from renewable energies to innovation, and climate technology,” said Mr Symons.
“The transition is already underway, and the success of global decarbonisation efforts will rely on the skills and expertise of the workforce across the region.
“By ensuring we prioritise this, we can avoid significant losses, promote economic growth, and generate up to 180 million jobs in the region.”
The firm highlighted Australia’s efforts in the region to develop large-scale renewable energy projects such as wind farms, solar panel plants, and investment in the workforce of the future.
Examples of this were the Queensland government’s investment of $50 million in training infrastructure to support the development of renewable hydrogen and their Victorian counterparts opening the nation’s first renewable energy training tower at Federation University to provide a skilled pipeline of workers.
Head of Deloitte Access Economics, Pradeep Philip, said governments needed to ensure companies, workers, and economies were not hindered by the transition to low emissions.
“How governments act individually and collectively to support these workers to adapt, contribute, and thrive as our economy transforms will be one of the biggest determinants of equality in the coming decades,” said Dr Philip.
“No country can do it alone, but together, it is possible to influence a just transition where the benefits far surpass the cost.”