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Environmental economics

Green growth, jobs and social impacts

Just transition in the context of EU environmental policy and the European Green Deal (issue paper) (2020)

This study was drafted in view of preparing for an 8th Environment Action Programme (EAP), as the 7th EAP expires at the end of 2020. The European Commission adopted in December 2019 a communication on and roadmap for a ‘European Green Deal’, aiming for a transformation towards a climate-neutral, zero-pollution and circular economy, while aiming for a “just transition” that “leaves no one behind”. The main added value of this study is in its holistic approach raising awareness for environment policy’s social effects among a broad range of areas and actors, with a view to identify possible future work strands.

EU Progress on Resource Efficiency and Green Economy 2020: Technical Report (2020)

This technical publication presents evidence on the following key questions related to climate and environmental policy. Where does the EU stand and is the EU improving? Are we delivering a green and climate neutral economy? Are we protecting and restoring nature? Are we protecting our citizens’ health by moving towards a zero-pollution Europe? What is the progress on the governance issues and systemic challenges that enable action? It looks at a broad set of indicators and explains what they tell us.

The interaction of resource and labour productivity (2016)

Increasing labour productivity has been the main strategy to allow for further economic growth and competitiveness. Recently, resource productivity has gained importance. This scoping study provides a literature overview showing how resource productivity affects labour productivity and employment. It presents the historical trends of labour and resource productivity and their main determinants. It provides theoretical considerations and recommendations on how to better integrate resource productivity into economic models and economic policy making, as well as further research questions.

The number of Jobs dependent on the Environment and Resource Efficiency (2012)

This study explores how 'greening the economy' can boost job creation in areas directly connected to the environment such as conservation, waste, water and air quality. In 2012, it is estimated that the total number of people working in eco-industries is around 3,4 million which represents around 1% of the total workforce, and that the eco-industries have a turnover of around EUR 550 million. The general trend is of a growing number of 'green jobs' and case studies show, not surprisingly, that improving resource efficiency leads to job creation. The global market for eco-industries is estimated at roughly EUR 1.15 trillion a year in 2010. There is broad consensus that the global market could almost double, with the average estimate for 2020 being around EUR 2 trillion a year. The EU-27 has a strong export position vis-à-vis nearly all of the world's largest economies.

The implementation of green recovery measures in the EU (2011)

This report assesses the green elements of the fiscal stimulus packages that were implemented in response to the economic and financial crisis that began in 2008 through general analysis, case studies of countries and modelling. The majority of the green measures focused on energy efficiency and climate change mitigation. The recovery packages contributed to economic recovery and provided a temporary boost to employment, the scale of the impacts being limited by the small share of green measures in the recovery plans. The multiplier effects for green investment are similar to those from any kind of investment. Within a few years, the net environmental effects of the measures were generally found to be favourable.

The Social Dimension of Biodiversity Policy (2011)

This report investigates the social aspects of biodiversity conservation, in particular the links between biodiversity and employment, and the value of biodiversity for vulnerable rural people. The study maps the linkages between biodiversity, ecosystem services and employment and uses vulnerability-related indicators coupled with spatial mapping of biodiversity and ecosystem values for the EU to determine whether the poor and vulnerable rural communities are more strongly dependent on the provision of ecosystem services. A number of global case studies highlight a range of issues experienced by the rural poor in developing nations dependent on ecosystem services.

Programmes to promote environmental skills (2010)

This study looks at environmental skills programmes in six European countries: the U.K., the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Bulgaria and Poland. It finds considerable variety among Member States in environmental skills programmes. Usually, firms are at the frontline of developing green skills – often through in-house training to their staff in response to a business need. There is an even mix of courses that cater for either the high-, medium- or low-skilled. The most common method of financing environmental skills programmes is a mix of public-private as there is considerable public funding of skills programmes conducted in partnership with companies. Overall, the study shows that there is potential to promote exchange of best practice, not only between Member States but also between businesses and others involved in the development of green workforce skills.

Environment and labour force skills (2008)

This study looks at the skills profile of green jobs and how it needs to change in the future. This is important as the skills profile will change as green jobs change, and skills will be key to delivering environment objectives. The study notes the poor data at present on green skills, and the need to better understand them and to forecast how they will change in the future. This would help us to develop the green skills needed in the future. A number of sectors already face skill shortages needed for green jobs. Finally, the study provides potential areas for future research.

Environment and ageing (2008)

The objectives of this small study were to discuss, on the basis of the available literature, how ageing leads to changes in environmental impacts, in particular with regard to changes in energy use and consumption, mobility, household location / second homes; and what is the impact of environmental change (especially the climate change) on older citizens. The overall conclusion is that ageing of the population does not lead to significant environmental changes. Two major impacts have been identified: elderly generations' impact on the environment is lower in comparison to the other age cohorts due to their lower mobility, but higher due to higher energy use per person.

Links between the environment, economy and jobs (2007)

The study shows that there are strong links between the economy and the environment. These go far beyond the narrow definition of eco-industries traditionally measured. A good quality environment supports many sectors in the economy. At its broadest, the environment is linked to around 21 million jobs and over a trillion Euros of economic activity in Europe. The study includes analysis of the impact of environmental policies on jobs and employment. Policies to ensure the protection of our environment seem unlikely to provide a drag on the economy, and may easily prove to be a source of new jobs and innovation, a driver of progress, and ultimately help increase the health of our economies and wellbeing of societies.

Eco-industry, its size, employment, perspectives and barriers to growth in an enlarged EU (2006)

This report analyses the driving forces behind the development of eco-industries in Europe and the measures that can support this development. It highlights the leadership played by many European companies in a certain number of environmental goods and services and emphasises the significance the sector plays as one of the biggest industrial sectors in Europe. It points out that while some sub-sectors are maturing and their growth is beginning to slow down others are growing rapidly. It also draws attention to the role played by the EU as a major driving force in the development of the sector.

Analysis of the EU Eco-Industries, their Employment and Export Potential (2002)

This study provides estimates on the market for goods and services produced by the eco-industries of the EU-15 and the Candidate Countries. The EU15 eco-industries supply 183 bn Euros of goods and services a year: 127 bn Euro of pollution management and cleaner technology goods and services, and 56 bn Euros related to resources management. Direct employment in the EU15 eco-industries amounts to over 2 million (FTE) jobs. Estimates are also provided for the eco-industries of the Candidate Countries, and the trends in this fast-growing and dynamic sector.

The documents below are an executive summary, a main report and three technical documents that set out some of the detailed information underlying the main report as well as nine annexes to the main report.

Employment Effects of Waste Management Policies (2001)

The need to integrate environmental issues into an overall sustainability framework has been underlined most recently in the Sustainable Development Strategy. The link between environment and employment has been made on various occasions, e.g. in the Communication on Environment and employment (COM/97/0592). There are many calls to use environmental policy to support employment creation and equally many claims that high environmental standards destroy employment. Seldom, however, are these claims substantiated by analysis. This study intends to bring more clarity on the links between employment and environmental issues, based on the example of waste management policy.

The EU Eco-industry's export potential (1999)

The study provides an analysis of current export activity by the EU eco-industry and of its employment effects. It also assesses whether exports can be increased in the future and gives policy recommendations for promoting EU eco-industry's exports and related employment.

The Environment Industry in Sweden (1999)

This study, the second on the Environment Industry in Sweden executed by Statistics Sweden, builds on the work done previously and estimates the turnover, exports, employment and education of the Swedish Environment Industry in 1998.

The study, done in parallel with similar research executed by the Dutch, Portuguese and French Statistical offices, was supported and partly financed by the Directorate-General Environment of the European Commission, in cooperation with Eurostat.

Environment employment in France, methodology and results (1996-1998)

This study, executed by IFEN, the Institut Français de L’Environnement, develops a methodology for estimating the employment in the environmental area on the basis of data currently available and applies the methodology to derive data on the French environmental employment in the years 1996, 1997 and 1998.

The study, done in parallel with similar research executed by the Dutch, Swedish and Portuguese Statistical Offices, was supported and partly financed by the Directorate-General Environment of the European Commission, in cooperation with Eurostat.

Environment-related Employment in the Netherlands (1997)

This study, executed by Statistics Netherlands, the Dutch Statistical Office, assesses the environment-related employment in the Netherlands in 1997 and arrives at an estimate of direct environment-related employment of 92 000 (about 1.3% of total employment).

The study, executed in parallel with similar research executed by the Portuguese, Swedish and French Statistical or Environmental Offices, was supported and partly financed by the Directorate-General Environment of the European Commission, in cooperation with Eurostat.

Environment Industry and Employment in Portugal (1997)

This study, executed by the Portuguese Statistical Office, assesses the Portuguese environmental industry (in 1997), which comprises the commercial production of goods and services aimed at measuring, preventing, limiting or making good damage to the environment, e.g. water, atmospheric and soil pollution, waste management, noise, and threats to ecosystems generally. The main descriptive variables used are turnover, investments and employment by sex and educational qualifications. An estimate is also made of turnover by environmental domain.

The study, done in parallel with similar research executed by the Dutch, Swedish and French Statistical offices, was supported and partly financed by the Directorate-General Environment of the European Commission, in cooperation with Eurostat.

Case Studies of links between Environmental Policy and Employment

The following study was undertaken for the Commission by Association Européenne Pour L'Information Sur Le Développement Local (AEIDL) and is a compilation of 58 case studies. Each of the case studies identifies a link between environmental policy and expenditure and direct local employment effects. The study did not seek to identify any indirect effects on employment which may offset the direct impacts. The Commission is not responsible for any errors in the summaries.