The net zero generation

Why the world needs to upskill ​young people to enable the net zero transition

PwC worked with UNICEF and Generation Unlimited to help stakeholders better understand the role of skills, and in particular youth upskilling, in determining whether the world can transition to net zero in time. This report shows that:

  • The net zero transition requires upskilling at scale or the world will face severe bottlenecks which act as a brake on decarbonisation and climate resilience
  • 60% of young people – 830 million – will lack the basic skills that will be required in 2030
  • Young people, particularly in less-developed countries, could miss out on the economic and employment opportunities created by the net zero transition
  • Young women in climate-vulnerable areas are especially at risk of lost livelihoods and increased inequality
  • By helping young people find secure employment, upskilling can help build momentum for net zero 

This report offers a way forward for governments, businesses and youth as we set out to address how upskilling enables young people to equitably access employment opportunities created by the climate transition. The recommendations are:

  • Advocate for upskilling as essential to net zero and incorporate skills development in governments’ nationally determined contributions
  • Recognise the importance of a broad range of green skills that includes both core and technical capabilities
  • Establish a skills system that enables young people to acquire relevant green skills and certifies their skills
  • Put women and youth at the centre of a just transition to a net zero world
  • Catalyse green entrepreneurship driven by youth

In March 2020, PwC launched a three-year strategic, global collaboration with UNICEF in support of Generation Unlimited (GenU), which aims to help upskill millions of young people around the world. The collaboration focuses on convening public, private and civil society stakeholders to develop programmes and innovations that support young people in their path to productive futures and engaged citizenship, and to conduct research on the global skills challenge. In addition, PwC and UNICEF, in support of GenU, are collaborating in India and South Africa to develop, expand and fund education and skills programmes for young people.
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Contact us

Bethan Grillo

Bethan Grillo

Managing Director, Global Corporate Sustainability, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7804 5746

James Morris

James Morris

Global Director, Corporate Affairs and Advocacy, Global Corporate Affairs and Communications, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0) 7483 448 952

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