A shift to a greener economy could create 24 million new jobs globally by 2030 if the right policies are put in place, says the International Labour Organization (ILO).
According to the ILO’s new report, the World Employment and Social Outlook, the new jobs will be created by adopting sustainable practices in the energy sector, using electric vehicles, and increasing energy efficiency in existing and future buildings.
The report refutes assertions that greening the economy will result in job losses and economic deterioration.
“The green economy can enable millions more people to overcome poverty and deliver improved livelihoods for this and future generations.” ILO Deputy Director-General Deborah Greenfield said, adding that “This is a very positive message of opportunity in a world of complex choices.”
As the world moves to a greener economy, an estimated 6 million jobs will be lost, including in the areas of petroleum extraction and refinery, coal mining and production of electricity from coal. To offset this, the report states that complementary policies will be needed to protect workers and ensure that the transition is just, the same report shows.
ILO suggests that well-designed policies could strengthen social protection and support green investment that is financially viable and conducive to higher growth; that leads to employment creation and fairer income distribution. However, policy creation is not the only answer for just transition. It will also require stronger commitment by firms to achieve environmental sustainability at the global level.
Globally, 1.2 billion jobs depend on a stable and healthy environment. Industries like agriculture, fisheries and forestry, as well as tourism and pharmaceuticals, depend on natural environmental processes.
Projected temperature increases and environmental degradation hurts jobs and working conditions, as work depends on natural resources, on ecosystem services and on a stable, disaster-free environment. In fact, ILO predicts that 72 million full-time jobs will be lost by 2030 due to heat stress, and temperature increases will lead to shorter available work hours, particularly in agriculture.