According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) report entitled 'Greening with jobs', the transition to a green economy will cost 6 million jobs, but this loss will be compensated by the creation of 24 million new jobs.
A greener economy means shifting to an economy based on renewable biological resources as an alternative to fossil fuels in the production of chemicals, materials and products. In addition, the energy sector should adopt sustainable practices such as changing the energy mix, using electric vehicles and making buildings more energy efficient.
However, the transition towards a green economy is not without consequences. According to the ILO report, 6 million jobs will be lost, but at the same time 24 million new jobs will be created, mainly in the renewable energy and construction sectors. In fact, jobs are being created in most economic sectors, while only 14 of the 163 sectors surveyed will lose jobs. Most jobs - more than 2 million - are lost in the extraction and refining of oil. The Middle East and Africa are particularly affected, as both regions are heavily dependent on fossil fuels, in addition to mining.
The transition to a circular economy will in turn generate 6 million jobs. It focuses on recycling, recovery, rental and reprocessing, as opposed to a traditional economy that simply disposes of products after use. In any case, climate change will increase heat stress. The report states that, as a result, two percent of working hours will be lost due to illness by 2030.
The low-income countries and some middle-income countries need support in order to build an environmentally friendly sustainable economy in which no one is left behind.
The right policy
Policies must respond to the changes in order to mitigate the expected impact and job losses. The low-income countries and some middle-income countries need support in order to build an environmentally friendly sustainable economy in which no one is left behind. In addition, countries should provide training in the skills needed for the transition to a greener economy, including for more intensive organic farming.
Furthermore, the report calls for a better alignment of social protection and environmental policies so as to enhance both workers’ incomes and a green economy. For example, cash transfers, better social security and a reduction in the use of fossil fuels could contribute to faster economic growth, more jobs, fairer income distribution and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Finally, the report advocates a social dialogue in which employers as well as employees and the public authorities take part. This will make it easier to reconcile social and economic objectives with the needs of a healthy environment.
The ILO is an important partner of the Belgian Development Cooperation.