Making the green economy go
Emerging from the Rio+20 conference this June, governments and citizens continue to discuss what a sustainable economy should look like. Some see salvation in green growth; while others argue that structural, not just technological, change is necessary. Indeed, fundamental cultural change away from materialism is critical to success.
Creating Green and Decent Jobs
It’s indisputable that a green economy must offer adequate numbers of good-quality jobs in order to have traction. At a time when the world needs to create 600 million jobs over the next decade, when some 200 million people confront unemployment and many others contend with insecure, dangerous, or low-paid work, sustainable and fulfilling livelihoods is a critically important goal. Thus, a focus on “green and decent jobs” has developed in recent years, which emphasizes employment that not only preserves and restores environmental quality, but also offers workers a secure income and a perspective for the future.
In my chapter, Making the Green Economy Work for Everybody in the Worldwatch Institute’s State of the World 2012: Moving Toward Sustainable Prosperity, I discuss the importance of addressing social inequities in order to achieve environmental sustainability. Collaborative solutions cannot develop if hampered by deep social divisions. Policies must be more inclusive to counter the growing sense of disillusionment in a world marked by tremendous gaps in wealth and power.
ILO Study Shows Link Between Social Equity and Green Jobs
Two recent studies by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) provide additional insights and innovative solutions in moving towards a green economy. The ILO’s report, Working Towards Sustainable Development, is part of the Green Jobs Initiative – a joint initiative between the ILO, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Trade Union Confederation, and the International Organization of Employers.
The ILO report outlines necessary steps toward building a green economy, examining a range of sectors from agriculture, forestry and fisheries to energy production, transportation, and buildings. Additionally, the report states that employment opportunities must be improved by incorporating social concerns into sustainable development strategy. For an effective, new development model, ILO places social dialogue at the center of policy reform.