Green Jobs

Creating Green Jobs and Greening existing jobs

As we transition to a Green Economy we need to create new Green Jobs. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) defines Green Jobs as decent jobs that contribute to preserve or restore the environment, be they in traditional sectors such as manufacturing and construction, or in new, emerging green sectors such as renewable energy and energy efficiency.

We also need to be greening the already existing jobs. We do this by integrating new competences that take into account the ‘environmental dimension’ to a significant and measurable extent.

Creating Green Jobs

Some examples of Green Jobs would be those that:

  • Improve energy and raw materials efficiency
  • Limit greenhouse gas emissions
  • Minimize waste and pollution
  • Protect and restore ecosystems
  • Support adaptation to the effects of climate change

Fiji, with the support of the Global Green Growth Institute, recently (2019) conducted a Green Jobs Assessment. The assessment found that there were approximately 72,000 people working in environmentally important sectors in the formal sector in Fiji (about a third of all salary employment). However it found that many of these were not green and did not meet ILO standards for decent work. It was estimated that in 2018 Fiji had about 6,700 green jobs in sectors such as tourism, environmental services, energy and water. The assessment also made indicative projections on green jobs that can be created in the coming decades. By 2030 it is estimated there would be an additional 2,744 green jobs created – 56% in land transport, 25% in forestry and 18% in renewable energy.

The ILO approach for estimating green employment is based on five key tasks, summarised in the figure below.

The Pacific Green Business Centre, the Pacific Islands Development Forum and the Global Green Growth Institute jointly organised the Greenpreneurs Jumpstart Your Green Business Workshops in Fiji (September 2018), Vanuatu (September 2018) and Kiribati (October 2018). The workshops brought together a number of prospective entrepreneurs who wanted to embark on a Green business. Mentoring services by established entrepreneurs were also provided. Following these workshops, Guides to Green Entrepreneurship were developed for each of the three countries. The partners would be willing to replicate this in other Pacific island countries if the funding support to do so is made available.

Greening Jobs

There are many ways one can green the current existing jobs.

This has become of great importance since the transition to a Green Economy will happen over decades and we need to be doing incremental steps to get there.

This supports the goal of having a just transition for workers as the economy moves towards the use of greener technologies making current skill sets redundant. Just Transition is a framework developed by the trade union movement to encompass a range of social interventions needed to secure workers’ rights and livelihoods when economies are shifting to sustainable production, primarily avoiding climate change and protecting biodiversity. Research commissioned by the OECD suggests that ambitious climate-change mitigation policies could be good for jobs as well as the environment. The impact of GHG mitigation policy on GDP growth is small when the labour market adjusts smoothly to employment opportunities and losses, but the costs rise significantly when workers in declining sectors become unemployable elsewhere due to an incapacity to change and lack of flexibility in labour markets. One way to combine environmental policy with measures to help workers take advantage of new opportunities would be use revenues from carbon taxes to reduce taxes on labour income. This can generate a “double-dividend” by delivering both lower GHG emissions and higher employment. Dedicated green education and training will have an important role to play in helping workers to participate fully in the emerging green economy. Evidence from a number of countries suggests that skill shortages have already developed in certain sectors or occupations where green growth policies have created a need for new skills, or new combinations of familiar skills.

Building capacity at a local level in the various work sectors will be essential to effectively support job creation in the transition to a green economy.

The Pacific Green Business Centre explores ways to do this in a number of sectors including Agriculture, Tourism, Transport, Blue Economy, Natural Resource Use and Green Packaging in Manufacturing.

Please also see these other Green Jobs publications.