EU looks to maximise job opportunities in the green economy

If unveiling a new Circular Economy Package and launching a new Green Action Plan for SME's weren't enough, the European Commission has also announced a new initiative to highlight green job opportunities across the continent.

The Green Employment Initiative Communication outlines the employment challenges and opportunities of the current transition towards a low-carbon and resource-efficient economy, urging businesses to step up their efforts to capitalise on the green jobs boom. (Scroll down for video)

“The structural shift towards a green and resource-efficient economy is already bringing about fundamental changes across all sectors,” said the European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor. “It is an opportunity to generate high-quality, environmentally-friendly jobs, while securing the sustainable well-being of future generations and contributing to recovery from the economic crisis.

“If we implement the right polices, the green economy will play a critical role to increase European global competitiveness and support the Europe 2020 Strategy objectives.”

This is the latest in a plethora of green announcements from the European Commission. It was accompanied by the unveiling of a revamped package of waste and recycling targets to accelerate Europe’s transition to a circular economy, along with the publication of a new Green Action Plan for SMEs in a bid to improve resource efficiency among smaller firms.

Employment framework

The Green Employment Initiative sets out an integrated framework for employment and labour market policies at EU and national levels. This includes: –

  • Bridging skills and knowledge gaps by fostering the development of appropriate skills and better forecasting skills needs. 
  • Anticipating sectoral changes, securing transitions in employment, promoting mobility and working closely with public employment services. 
  • Supporting job creation through shifting taxation away from labour and on to pollution, promoting green public procurement, entrepreneurship and social enterprises. 
  • Increasing transparency and data quality to improve monitoring and analysis of labour market impacts of the green economy in the European Semester. 
  • Promoting dialogue between employer representatives and trade unions on the transition to the green economy. 
  • Strengthening international cooperation, notably through the Green Growth Knowledge Forum launched by the Green Growth Institute, the OECD, the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Bank. 

Video: Commission outlines Green Employment Initiative

Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik believes this better targeting of labour market policies and tools, and closer coordination with environment, climate and energy policies, are essential to exploit the full employment potential of ‘green sectors’.

“The shift to a green and resource efficient economy is above all an opportunity to increase European global competitiveness and create sustainable and high quality jobs,” said Potočnik. “The Green Employment initiative will help ensure that environmental and employment policies converge and play an active role in supporting this process.”

Luke Nicholls

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