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Why e-learning will be key in South Africa’s climate change effort

Home Business Management Education & Training Why e-learning will be key in South Africa’s climate change effort

ONLINE courses and training programmes that involve environmental social governance (ESG), corporate social responsibility (CSR), corporate shared value (CSV) and compliance like ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) standards will be crucial as companies transition their business models.

That’s the message from Paul Hanly, co-founder of South African end-to-end online learning solution provider New Leaf Technologies, who said a few countries have already implemented carbon tax systems and made it compulsory for ESG reporting, and that South Africa was likely to follow suit.

“It may be a good idea to couple e-learning with a sustainability service to drive positive ESG reporting, such as planting trees or offsetting carbon for certain courses. This way you’re ticking two of the ESG boxes; socially educating people and offsetting carbon for the environmental benefit,” Hanly said.

New Leaf Technologies is already working with South African ISO standards training and implementation Specialist WWISE and Hong Kong-based EcoFoote, which links people and businesses to a multidimensional approach to sustainability, to effectively roll out staff training to international standards.

Hanly said job creation would play a huge role in addressing climate change. “The demand for jobs in the sector will exponentially increase and businesses will have to adopt these practices with it becoming a legal, social and environmental priority.”

With this in mind, it was important to understand the industry and sector in which professional work is conducted. “Having a theory-based aspect to the sustainability or renewable energy sector is important for employees to understand the ins and outs of that industry, from its history and relevance to the various facets of organisation, like health and safety for example. There could be a lot of compliance training down the line on sustainability.”

Hanly said e-learning programmes can be implemented at any time, but definitely at the stages of onboarding, implementation of standard operating procedures and specific skills training.

E-learning has the added advantage of being environmentally-friendly in itself.

Because learners are not using their vehicles to get to and from in-person workshops, carbon emissions are greatly reduced. In fact, a study by the UK’s Open University Design Innovation group found that online learning consumes an average of 90% less energy and produces 85% fewer CO² emissions per learner.

A further benefit is that the paper trail is greatly reduced as learners are provided digital learning materials by businesses like New Leaf Technologies. It is well-known that deforestation causes 10% of global emissions, so such reductions in paper use is welcomed.

New Leaf Technologies even offers a free training cost calculator that gives an indication of how much businesses can save by taking corporate training online.

“And while thankfully the effects of the Omicron variants of Covid-19 have not been nearly as severe as previous iterations, there is still a need for people to be safe. Online learning thus removes any potential risks that may be associated with face-to-face learning.”

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