What are Green Jobs and their impact on the economy?

What are Green Jobs and their impact on the economy?

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What are Green Jobs?

Green jobs refer to positions in agriculture, manufacturing, R&D, administration, and service activities that are focused on preserving or restoring environmental quality. These jobs are crucial for enhancing energy and raw material efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, minimizing contamination and waste, restoring ecosystems, and aiding in climate change adaptation. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) emphasizes the importance of such work because:

  • It enhances energy and raw material usage efficiently
  • It reduces emissions of greenhouse gases
  • It minimizes contamination and waste
  • It restores and safeguards ecosystems
  • It aids in climate change adaptation

The impact of green jobs on the global economy is consistently positive. The ILO has warned that without changes, projected employment growth will not be sufficient to keep up with the increasing workforce in emerging and developing countries. However, adopting energy production and usage changes to meet the 2°C target could create approximately 18 million jobs worldwide, according to the ILO.

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At the corporate level, green jobs involve creating products or offering services that support environmental initiatives, such as eco-friendly structures and clean transportation. While these outputs may not always be manufactured using environmentally friendly technologies and processes, their contribution to environmentally friendly practices is a defining characteristic. For example, green jobs can involve improving recycling programs or reducing water usage. Green jobs are essential for sustainable development, addressing global concerns about environmental protection, economic growth, and social inclusion. By actively promoting change, governments, employees, and employers can contribute to greener businesses, workplace practices, and labour markets. These initiatives create job opportunities, improve resource efficiency, and foster the development of low-carbon sustainable societies.

What impact do green jobs have on the economy?

Green jobs have a significant impact on the economy in various ways. Predictions suggest that the global economy will witness the addition of 24 million new green jobs, creating opportunities for skilled employment in developing nations. Doubling the production of renewable energy could potentially lead to a rise of $1.3 trillion in world GDP.

Adopting green practices helps reduce costs and save money, resulting in substantial economic benefits. By utilizing renewable energy sources, energy demand decreases, leading to reduced utility bills. Transitioning from conventional fossil fuels to renewable energy infrastructure, both in businesses and households, necessitates the presence of green jobs.

The consequences of climate change pose risks to the progress made in public health over the past 50 years. Pollution, poor air quality, waste, contaminated drinking water, and climate change-related events like wildfires, flooding, and extreme weather contribute to respiratory illnesses, heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, and injuries. Green jobs that focus on environmental protection directly benefit public health and can have economic implications potentially reducing government spending on healthcare.

Businesses need to acknowledge and understand their corporate social responsibility (CSR) obligations, adopt new procedures, and minimize their environmental impact to actively participate in a green economy. Unfortunately, this concept remains far from reality in many countries, while others engage in “greenwashing,” where companies falsely claim environmental friendliness through advertisements, campaigns, or products, contradicting their overall environmental and sustainability record.

In India, the Green Jobs Programme encompasses various sectors, including renewable energy, energy storage, green building, green transportation, carbon sinks, solid waste management, water management, and e-waste management, with a significant national impact.

Solar photovoltaic projects in India, between 2011 and 2014, created approximately 24,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs, and the wind industry has generated around 45,000 FTE jobs according to government estimates.

Though precise data is lacking, solar and wind energy are estimated to have created close to 70,000 FTE jobs in India.

The Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) and the Council on Energy, Environment, and Water (CEEW) estimate that solar photovoltaic (PV) projects constructed in India between 2011 and 2014 have created around 24,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs. These jobs are exclusively derived from commissioned projects currently generating electricity, showcasing the job creation potential of a scaled-up clean energy market in India. Additionally, the wind industry has generated approximately 45,000 FTE jobs, as estimated by the government. Despite the limited availability of data, it is believed that solar and wind renewable energy have collectively contributed to the creation of nearly 70,000 FTE jobs in India.

In 2009, India established the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) as a Public-Private Partnership with the primary objective of strengthening, promoting, and coordinating skill development programs in the private sector. By 2022, NSDC aims to upskill or skill 150 million Indians, primarily through private sector initiatives and funding to bridge viability gaps. Sector Skill Councils (SSCs) serve as national partnership organizations that bring together industry, labor, and academia stakeholders to facilitate workforce development in specific industry sectors. Research conducted by the Skills Council of Green Employment indicates that by 2030, it is imperative to generate 65 million new employment opportunities.

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In search of a Green Job? View a few profiles here

Name of job role Skills required
Sustainability manager Environmental science and policy knowledge, economics and finance skills, and analytical thinking skills
Social impact manager Stakeholder engagement, program management, and relationship management
ESG analyst Sustainability reporting, ESG strategy and framework knowledge, quantitative skills, asset management and financial markets understanding
Governance and compliance specialist Corporate governance, regulatory compliance, and risk management
Renewable energy expert Understanding of renewable energy technologies, policy advocacy, and market analysis
Climate change adaptation planner Climate change analysis, data modeling, and understanding of environmental science
Green supply chain manager Supply chain management, sustainability, logistics

As the demand for green employment rises, employers are emphasizing the environmentally friendly features of the products they advertise. Green employment helps businesses and economic sectors reduce their environmental impact to sustainable levels. However, not all green jobs involve improving and expanding public spaces. In a green career, you may be involved in creating products, providing services, or implementing changes in business practices to promote environmental friendliness.

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