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Globally, the transition to greener economies will have significant structural implications on economic sectors. The International Labour Organization (ILO) has developed several scenarios to assess the potential impact of the transition. For example, the energy sustainability scenario (2°C increase by 2030 as opposed to a 6°C increase that would happen under ‘business-as-usual’ conditions) estimates that almost 25 million jobs will be created and nearly 7 million lost globally (ILO, 2019). Of the 7 million lost jobs, 5 million can be reclaimed through labour reallocation, while around 2 million will require reskilling in other occupations (ILO, 2019). The scenario also points to massive investment requirements to train workers in the skills required for close to 20 million new jobs.
To better understand which jobs will be created, changed and lost, each country needs to undertake a sector-by-sector analysis. The first step towards embedding sustainability in curricula and training therefore needs to start by looking at the impact the transition to greener economies has on economic sectors, and understanding the sectors that are affected. The second consideration will be to know the types of jobs that will be created, changed, and lost.
While all sectors will be impacted by the transition towards greener economies, some may experience greater changes than others. Jobs in high greenhouse gas emitting sectors have the potential to undergo substantial changes.
Sector: Agriculture and forestry Impact: Globally, more than 1 billion people are employed in the agricultural and forestry sectors, including many subsistence farmers (mostly women) in the informal sector. These sectors are also among the highest greenhouse gas emitters and are significantly affected by climate change. This includes soil degradation, desertification, freshwater scarcity, and water pollution. Overall, these have negative impacts on farmers’ livelihoods and global food security. Examples of changes: organic farming; use of technologies, including drone technology, in crop management and diversification
Sector: Manufacturing Impact: The manufacturing sector is a major contributor of greenhouse gases. Standard ways of producing and processing materials, including textiles, rubber, wood pulp, paper, chemical fertilizers, and iron and steel, do not always comply with the highest environmental standards. Greener economies will demand more environmentally-friendly manufacturing processes. Examples of changes: waste management and recycling; pollution control; energy auditing; use of technologies to increase efficiency
Sector: Construction Impact: The construction sector accounts for around 30 per cent of energy related greenhouse gas emissions, for around 40 per cent of total waste generated, and 12 per cent of water use. Buildings consume approximately 60 per cent of the world´s electricity, an amount that could be reduced by 30–80 per cent through energy-efficient interventions. Considering the rapid population growth and urbanization worldwide, this sector has an important role to play in the green transition. Examples of changes: waste management; energy auditing; pollution control
Sector: Energy Impact: The energy sector accounts for nearly two-thirds of all greenhouse gas emissions. Rapid growth in renewable energies, progress in energy efficiency and better access to energy can lead to major gains in employment, income and significant environmental benefits. The energy sector is also a cross-cutting sector that affects all others, including transportation and construction. Examples of changes: renewable energies; energy efficiency
Sector: Tourism Impact: The tourism sector employs directly and indirectly 8 per cent of the global workforce. Environmental concerns include excessive water consumption, waste generation, damage to local terrestrial and marine biodiversity, and threats to the survival of local cultures, built heritage and traditions. Examples of changes: eco-tourism; green public officers; intangible cultural heritage
Source: compiled from ILO; UNEP & WTO, 2012
Advancement in green technologies and the decrease of high emission industries means that new jobs will emerge and existing profiles will be modified. Either way, workers will need to have the right skills to meet the needs of these changing and emerging job profiles.
The TVET sector must not only ensure that its curricula and standards are in line with today’s green skills needs, but it must also reflect these changes in the pedagogical strategies used, which must be underpinned by attitudinal changes in learners, trainers and communities.
Traditional instruction methods – such as lecture-driven delivery – are inadequate to equip learners with the required competencies. UNESCO (2006) highlights some of the considerations that should be factored in when developing pedagogical strategies to teach about sustainable development, including: