This report describes how climate change is already affecting workers.
Undertaken with project partners Friends of the Earth and with the assistance of six Victorian unions, it is based on a survey of paid workers’ experiences of climate-related disruptions and stresses. Respondents reported numerous impacts on their capacity to do their jobs properly, including impacts created by effects on their co-workers, clients and organisations. The results point to the multiple, proliferating and often unexpected and insidious ways climate change is impacting work.
Project dates: 2022
All workers and all industries need to be supported to adapt to climate change. Serious impacts are evident now and are escalating rapidly. Urgent adaptation is needed both to manage the proliferating climate-related risks and to reduce the many existing, non-climatic vulnerabilities that greatly exacerbate climatic stresses and disruptions.
This report presents the first worker-centric analysis of climate change impacts. Workers are all those who contribute to the economy and enable organisations to function. For methodological reasons this study focuses on those with paid jobs, from CEOs to apprentices. How impacts on employees cascade through organisations and impact economies and wider society, and vice versa, is under-analysed.
The report provides rare empirical insights into workers’ experiences of climate-related disruptions and stresses. It is based on a cross-sectoral survey of 1,165 workers (predominantly located in Victoria distributed online via six unions in the first half of 2022). Responses were received from more than ten industries and nine occupation types. The results point to many climate-significant aspects of workplaces and workers’ wider systems, including supply chains, homes and daily commutes.
Overall, the results point to the multiple, proliferating and often insidious ways climate change is impacting work. They also document workers’ high levels of concern about climate change and fear and frustration about inaction on it, including some organisations’ lack of responsiveness to the growing stresses workers are under. Workers offered various suggestions about what measures are needed, including new OH&S measures, training and education, and more flexible work options.