Green Economy Special Focus: Green Jobs

report authorsSince the early 1990s, Worldwatch Institute has examined the benefits of "green jobs" - employment that helps protect and restore the environment. Innovation in such areas as renewable energy, green building, and sustainable agriculture can help businesses stay at the cutting edge, which is essential for retaining existing jobs and creating new ones.

A fair and sustainable economy needs to protect the natural environment and offer well-paying, decent jobs. But today's economy fares poorly on both scores. Not only does the voracious appetite for energy and materials lead to resource depletion, pollution, and climate change, but hundreds of millions of people worldwide remain either unemployed or contend with highly insecure jobs. It is now widely accepted that employment losses from not addressing the environmental crisis are likely to be very serious.


UN OfficialsIn 2007 and 2008, Worldwatch Senior Researcher Michael Renner, in collaboration with the Cornell University's Global Labor Institute, carried out a state-of-the-art review of green jobs funded and commissioned by the UN Environment Programme under a joint Green Jobs Initiative with the International Labour Office, the International Trade Union Confederation, and the International Organization of Employers.

The report, Green Jobs: Towards Decent Work in a Sustainable, Low-Carbon World, is the first comprehensive compilation of global green jobs trends and prospects. In October 2008, Worldwatch released its report Green Jobs: Working for People and the Environment, which summarizes the larger report for a general audience. Green Jobs describes the state-of-play of green employment in renewable energy, buildings, transportation, basic industry, recycling, farming, and forestry.


Following the release of the UNEP report, Michael Renner was commissioned by WWF to write a report on green jobs developments and prospects in the European context. WWF launched the study, Low Carbon Jobs for Europe, on June 16, 2009.

Working with its partner organizations, the Worldwatch Institute provides high-quality data and analysis that demonstrates the positive linkages between environment, employment, and livelihoods. The Institute's research highlights opportunities and success stories and identifies the policies needed to overcome existing barriers to green jobs development.


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