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Promoting Decent Work in a Green Economy

— theme: Corporate social responsibility, Employment and socio-economic policies, Environment and climate, Industry (greening of), Skills and employability, Social dialogue, Sustainable Enterprise/Value chain development
— country: Global
— type: Reports

This Background Note by the ILO articulates the social dimension of a transition towards a green and sustainable economy. It emphasizes the need for skilled workers, qualified employers and informed and engaged labour market institutions and the importance of social dialogue as an essential tool for successful transformation.

Promoting Decent Work in a Green Economy

Decent Work illustration ILO

Author/Editor
ILO
Publishing Year
2011

 

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has welcomed a new Green Economy Report by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) entitled ‘Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication’. The report outlines the policy choices, urgent actions and investments needed for a global ‘Green Economy’ – one that is low-carbon, resource-efficient and socially-inclusive.

The ILO was closely involved in the preparation of the UNEP Green Economy Report on the prospects for a more sustainable world, drawing contributions from a wide array of technical fields and experts within the Office.

This effort was made in order to articulate the implications of setting and achieving environmental goals for the labour market – for enterprises, workers and the self-employed and the impacts on employment and incomes.

The attached Background Note reflects the main ILO inputs.

The Background Note articulates the social dimension of a transition towards a green and sustainable economy. It emphasizes the need for skilled workers, qualified employers and informed and engaged labour market institutions and the importance of social dialogue as an essential tool for successful transformation.

The key message of both the UNEP Report and the ILO Background note is that investing in a green economy can produce growth, create jobs and contribute to development and poverty reduction.

The structural transformation brings along changes in employment patterns, new skills requirements and better management practices. It opens up new opportunities for business ventures and creates large numbers of green jobs. Through the right policies these can provide a way out of poverty as well as urgently needed employment for young job seekers.

But there is also a potential downside. According to the UNEP report, the limits of natural resources and the increasing pollution in an ever-growing world call for a drastic change in the way we develop. The Report argues that halting this global trend may require the contraction of sectors and enterprises that jeopardize long-term sustainable development. The changes must ensure sufficient protection and opportunities for retraining and access to alternative employment for those negatively affected.

The ILO’s Decent Work agenda translates into the adoption of a “just transition’’ framework for the construction of a fairer, greener and more sustainable globalization. To achieve this goal, social and labour market policies need to be developed along with environmental and economic policies.

 

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