The Role of the Professional in Building Back Better



By Heather Dinwoodie





Although the COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly wreaked havoc on our society, it has also provided us with the perfect opportunity to rebuild our economy on fundamental principles of sustainability.

The idea of ‘Build Back Better’ is to form a new way of life with protected public services, secure livelihoods that pay well and an adaptive economy that is well-equipped to navigate and mitigate the impending climate crisis.

Though it may sound dramatic, it is a simple truth that those involved in the work to build back better will play a crucial part in determining humanity's future. This is the kind of meaningful work that several studies have shown to be of real importance in defining an individual's career path. Research has found, for example, that organisations committed to a meaningful mission have reduced employee turnover, increased intrinsic motivation and are more attractive to job-seekers.

Such trends are increasing in younger generations, with a study from the Olivet Nazarene University finding that 90% of 2024 surveyed millennials rating the positive impact of their work as being somewhat or very important to them. Furthermore, the same study revealed that approximately half of millennials would accept lower salaries to take on more meaningful roles and more than two thirds would be willing to work longer hours to support a cause they believed in.

Though most of this research considers workers as the employees of an organisation, imagine if we were to apply these findings to an entire sector. This is the power of professional bodies who, with their influence and guidance, can transform entire professions.

By integrating concepts of sustainability, professional bodies have the ability to inspire a new generation of professionals. By committing to the provision of support, guidance and resources, professional bodies can empower individuals to contribute to the building of a new, green economy. Doing so will allow working professionals to take pride in their creation of a sustainable future, whilst simultaneously bolstering the reputation of their sector and appealing to young people that hope to develop a meaningful career.

The Professional Bodies Climate Action Charter aims to foster solidarity across all sectors and enable professional bodies to take on this critical role. While no single profession can solve the climate crisis alone, every profession has something to contribute. Through collaboration, the resources, skills and knowledge of professionals can be maximised and their sustainability potential evenly distributed.

The coordination of sustainability leadership between professions is essential if we are to meet the UK’s climate goals. To quote the esteemed indigenous story-teller, Joseph Bruchac, “what one hand finds hard to lift is lighter than a feather when many lift together”.

Will your sector play its part in fighting the climate crisis? Will you engage and support the professionals you represent in the meaningful work they so desire? Are you willing to share with and learn from other sectors, teaming together to build back better?

Click HERE to view the Professional Bodies Climate Action Charter and learn how you can get involved. For further information, please contact [email protected] or [email protected].