On 2 October 2012, the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Members of the European Parliament, Mr. Gerbrandy and Ms. Schroedter, organised a joint event at the European Parliament in Brussels to discuss the future of green jobs in the context of the Rio+20 outcomes.
Entitled “Working towards a green economy after Rio+20“, the event offered an opportunity to discuss how a greener economy can make a major contribution to poverty reduction and social inclusion. The recent ILO/UNEP report “Working towards sustainable development: Opportunities for decent work and social inclusion in a green economy” was a key contributor to the discussion.
UNEP and ILO representatives were interviewed at the event. Mr. Steven Stone, Chief of the Economics and Trade Branch at UNEP, discussed the way forward towards a green economy after Rio+20. Mr. Peter Poschen, Director of the Job Creation and Enterprise Development Department at ILO, highlighted the impacts of the transition to a green economy on the labour market.
In the interview, Mr. Stone underlines the agreement reached at Rio+20 whereby the green economy would be the vehicle for delivering on sustainable development. He suggests that governments should start by removing harmful subsidies and investing in the areas that will clean up our economies and create jobs, wealth and prosperity for the future without destroying the environment.
Furthermore, we should change the way we look at wealth and the way we define economic progress. It’s no longer just about growing our economy; it’s also about focusing on the social dimension and creating decent jobs for the future.
Steven Stone, UNEP: “It’s about reframing the way we look at economic progress, going beyond GDP as we measure it, and creating a future that builds on sustainability instead of eroding it.”
In his video interview (see below), Mr. Poschen states that it is true that the transition to a green economy will create jobs in certain sectors but lead to contraction in others, such as coal mining, conventional power production, very resource intensive chemicals, steel and other production.
However, he believes that its impact on the labour market will very much depend on policy instruments used to make it happen. By using the right instruments we can achieve significant greening of the economy with very limited negative impacts on employment, including in very resource intensive sectors.
Peter Poschen, ILO: “We expect the change in industrialised countries to be significantly smaller than the turmoil created by globalisation, by freeing up markets to trade.”