05 mayo 2011

Policy support for green transition could create millions of jobs

A report commissioned by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) provides recommendations for policymakers designed to smooth the transition to a greener economy and create green employment. The report suggests sectors, such as renewable energy and sustainable buildings, could create new jobs for millions of people.

Already, more than two million people are employed in renewable energy production. Many more are employed in jobs directly or indirectly related to sustainable buildings. Employment opportunities in these areas are predicted to rise in the coming decade. In addition, greening of other industries has the potential to provide new employment opportunities, for instance, in retrofitting vehicles to cut fuel consumption, installation of water-saving equipment and adaptation to climate change.
However, the report says green employment opportunities are not yet growing rapidly enough, particularly considering record levels of unemployment, and that unsustainable business practices are still prevalent. Governments at all levels must establish ambitious and clear policy frameworks in order to create a sustainable economy that will generate the millions of jobs that are required. Governments must also be "prepared to confront" businesses whose practices threaten a sustainable future.
The report makes the following recommendations for policy makers:

Detailed monitoring of the green jobs market is needed to produce a road-map for policy and investment
Skills requirements (and shortages) must be mapped and anticipated in order to close skills gaps
Strong and consistent political support is required to ensure markets thrive
Private sector investment is crucial but must be backed up by government funding
R&D resources should be relocated to renewable energies from fossil fuels Among the regulatory tools that the report endorses in order to drive the development of green technologies, products and thus employment, are land-use policies, building codes, energy-efficiency standards for appliances and vehicles, and targets for renewable energy production.
The report highlights the need to involve workers, employers and Governments in "social dialogues" in order to guide the transition towards fairer, better informed and more integrated policies.
Ideally, the greening of industries would alleviate poverty at the same time as achieving environmental goals. However, the report suggests that for some, jobs with environmental goals come with poor working practices, citing the electronics recycling industry in Asia and biofuel plantations in Latin America as examples of green employment where workers face poor working conditions and poverty as a result of exploitation. Such jobs "can hardly be hailed as green", it states, and policy measures must be introduced to ensure that green jobs are "decent work" with above poverty level incomes.
Source: UNEP. (2008). Green Jobs: Towards decent work in a sustainable, low-carbon world. UNEP/ILO/IOE/ITUC report. Downloadable from:

Contact: sniffenj @ un.org or nick.nuttall @ unep.org
Theme(s): Environmental economics, Sustainable development and policy analysis

fuente: Science for Environment Policy

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