The European Commission has adopted a Communication today outlining the employment challenges and opportunities of the current transition towards a green, low carbon, energy and resource-efficient economy. The Green Employment Initiative Communication presents an integrated framework to allow labour market and skill policies to play an active role to support this transition.
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The Communication focuses on the importance of
- anticipating and establishing adequate skills policies to support workers in coping with structural change,
- securing labour market transitions, and
- strengthening governance and partnership-based initiatives.
This Communication complements Communications on the Circular Economy and on a Green Action Plan for SMEs.
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".
This process also brings important challenges, as the economic transformation leads not only to jobs being created, but also to others being redefined.
The Communication sets out an integrated framework for employment and labour market policies at EU and national levels, including:
- bridging skills and knowledge gaps by fostering the development of appropriate skills and better forecasting skills needs;
- anticipating sectoral changes, securing transitions in employment and promoting mobility e.g. by promoting wide application of the European Quality Framework for anticipation of change and restructuring 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;
- promoting dialogue between employer representatives and trade unions on the transition to the green economy in the European Semester;
- 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.
The Europe 2020 Strategy identifies the transition towards a green, low carbon and resource-efficient economy as one of the key ongoing structural transformations to achieve smart, inclusive and sustainable growth. The model for green growth is based on a structural economic change mainly driven by scarcity of resources (resource constraints and prices), and supported by public policies, technological change and innovation, new markets and changes in industrial and consumer demand patterns.
The job creation potential linked to production of energy from renewable sources, energy efficiency, waste and water management, air quality, restoring and preserving biodiversity and developing green infrastructure is both significant and resilient to the business cycle changes. There has been considerable creation of "green jobs" even during the economic crisis, increasing from 3 to 4.2 million in the EU between 2002 and 2011, and by 20% during the recession years (2007-2011).