Looking for green jobs: the impact of green growth on employment

Headline issue

There are many claims and counter-claims about whether green growth creates or destroys jobs. But fully assessing the consequences of environmental policies for employment presents a considerable challenge, and at present it is not possible for policy-makers to assess conflicting claims about the quality and quantity of green jobs that have already been created, or may be created in the future.

Key findings

Policy-makers should:

  • Accelerate international efforts to establish common statistical standards for measuring the number of existing green jobs, building on the frameworks provided by the UN System for Integrated Environmental-Economic Accounting and the International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS) recommendations for classifying jobs.
  • Restore the momentum behind the compilation of national green jobs statistics in countries where it has slackened, notably the United States and United Kingdom.
  • Consider ways in which international agencies such as Eurostat and the OECD, and countries that already report regularly, can help developing countries improve their statistics on green jobs.
  • Assess regularly – using improved data – the pace at which the demand for workers in environmental and resource-management services is changing, comparing this with the normal degree of flux and change in labour markets.
  • Assess the likely labour market impacts of economy-wide green growth using a macroeconomic framework, given that climate change and other green growth policies are likely eventually to constitute a large, non-marginal change in the policy environment for firms and households.
  • Develop strategies for coping with employment losses in the sectors that will suffer from green growth policies, remembering that this may include sectors hit by higher real prices for currently carbon-intensive inputs (such as electricity, aluminium and cement).