29 March 2024

Incubating ASEAN’s ‘Green Skills’: AUN-BE and GRI Kicked-Off New Learning Series on Sustainability and Sustainability Reporting

Ninnart Ratanasukhon
AUN Programme Officer;

On 22 March 2024, ASEAN University Network for Business and Economics Network (AUN-BE), in partnership with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), launched its inaugural webinar of the new learning series on Sustainability and Sustainability Reporting. The webinar series is a part of the Integrating Sustainability and Sustainability Reporting in ASEAN Universities (ISSR-ASEAN) Project, which set to prepare ASEAN universities to become the incubators for young professionals equipped with ‘green skills,’ ready to contribute to the green and sustainable future where sustainability report and practices are embedded in the core of business practices.

The partnership between AUN-BE and GRI commenced in 2023 with Integrating Sustainability and Sustainability Reporting in ASEAN universities. GRI is an independent, not-for-profit international organisation providing the global common language for corporate transparency. 30 years since its founding, GRI’s pioneering sustainability report standards has become the most widely adopted sustainability reporting framework, with 78% of the world’s largest 250 companies using GRI as the standard for its sustainability reporting. The partnership signifies a valuable connection of knowledge to bolster ASEAN universities’ standing as the active contributor to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Opening the webinar, Mr. Philippe Strub, Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Switzerland in Indonesia, recounted in his remark Switzerland’s continuous collaboration with GRI and expressed his excitement for this new chapter of trilateral collaboration between Switzerland, GRI, and AUN-BE. As consumers continue to hold businesses accountable for their climate actions and sustainability efforts, sustainability has become the ‘goal’ of business in itself. Sustainability reports and disclosures are playing pivotal roles in businesses’ prosperity and competitiveness; and this trend is gaining traction in ASEAN with 420 out of 600 major companies in ASEAN publishing their sustainability and climate reports. With investment in top professors and researchers of the region, the trilateral collaboration could contribute to ASEAN’s sustainability efforts in the form of upcoming generations of ASEAN sustainability professionals as well as expand the horizons of opportunities for the upcoming graduates in the green and sustainable future.

Following the opening remarks by Mr. Philippe Strub, the webinar welcomed GRI experts who provided insightful looks into the trends of environmental, climate, and social responsibility disclosures, along with the bedrock and key principles of GRI in ensuring corporate transparency in its sustainability and climate report. 

The experts include:

  • Dr. Allinnetts Go Adigue, Head of GRI ASEAN Network
  • Ms. Dewi Suyenti Tio, Indonesia Country Manager GRI
  • Ms. Katreena Pillehera, Philippines Country Manager GRI
  • Ms. Lany Harijanti, Regional Program Manager GRI ASEAN

The Rise of ‘Green Skills’

One echoing trend that is agreed upon by the GRI experts in this inaugural webinar is the growing number of sustainability-related careers corresponding to corporates’ increasing consciousness towards their sustainability practices and impacts. These careers encompass not only sustainability managing or planning, but also sustainability engineering, environmental auditing, and environmental financing.

In her keynote speech, Dr. Allinnetts Go Adigue highlighted a study which shows growing numbers of jobs where sustainability is integrated into the roles.

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“Due to the increasing policies, there is a demand for sustainability-related jobs. Now, companies are looking at how to integrate sustainability into job functions, and sustainability is a broad topic. It encompasses everything and needs to be integrated into every job function. A lot of companies are looking for employees who have knowledge in sustainability. However, since this awareness is still recent, sustainability teaching is concentrated only in environmental courses, but sustainability is not just about the environment, it is also about economics, social sciences, and corporate governance for companies to be truly successful in sustainability efforts

Therefore, this step towards integrating sustainability report knowledge into the fabric of ASEAN higher education could prove to be a valuable opportunity for ASEAN higher education to actively contribute to the rising trends of sustainability transition with the nurturing of knowledge and skill sets

In the same regards, Ms. Katreena Pillehera, Philippines Country Manager GRI, presented key findings from LinkedIn Global Green Skill Report 2023 that spotlighted the booming demand for sustainability-related talents in the European and American job market between 2022 and 2023, where the share of green talents in the job market rose by 12.3% while a share of job postings requiring green skills grew at a twice higher rate at 22.4%.The jobs that are experiencing the boom do not confine only to sustainability planning or management, but include sustainability efforts in all aspects of business practice including carbon accounting, carbon credits, and energy audits.

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With ASEAN’s movement towards sustainability and climate disclosures, ‘green skills’ that could add sustainability values to business practices and job functions can provide valuable assets to future ASEAN graduates joining the greener and more sustainable workforces.

Apart from environmental and climate disclosures, Ms. Lany Harijanti, Regional Program Manager GRI ASEAN also shed light on social responsibility disclosures and human rights due diligence, which could be far-reaching beyond the corporate’s management of its human resources. As businesses settle among communities, case studies of how a community’s or an individual’s livelihood is disrupted by environment degradation or resource use in business conduct has emerged. Therefore, human rights due diligence and social responsibility disclosures also constitute an integral component to corporate sustainability that is covered by the GRI framework as well.

Partner for the Goal - Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

Webinar attendees also had the opportunity to learn more about the structure, key concepts, and reporting principles of GRI framework in an informative session by Ms. Dewi Suyenti Tio, Indonesia Country Manager GRI. With its framework grounded in four key concepts of impact, material topics, due diligence, and stakeholders; GRI put the most significant impacts and affected stakeholders at the forefront of corporates’ sustainability reports. For professionals aim to take their first step or progress further on the path of sustainability reporting, GRI has also launched ‘GRI Academy,’ an online training platform providing professional certificates for those who

The Learning Series is set to be held regularly every first Tuesday of the month at 10.00-11.30 am (GMT+7/Jakarta Time). Interested participants can register now for free at https://bit.ly/AUNbe0503. Certificates will be provided to participants who complete the learning series.