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‘Green’ jobs – namely decent jobs for the production of goods and services or the introduction of technologies and processes that protect, preserve and restore the environment – continue to grow, driven by regulation, technological change, or new business practices. But as all sectors are (sometimes timidly) gradually becoming less polluting and more resource-efficient, the bulk of the green transition impact is expected to be on the greening of traditional jobs and occupations (e.g. farmers, mechanics, bankers, etc.). New green jobs (renewable energy, energy auditing, etc.) are key but much less relevant statistically.
“Green jobs” are defined as jobs that reduce the environmental impact of enterprises and economic sectors, ultimately to levels that are sustainable. This definition covers work in agriculture, industry, services and administration that contributes to preserving or restoring the quality of the environment while also meeting the criteria for decent work - adequate wages, safe conditions, workers' right, social dialogue and social protection. It also covers activities related to both mitigation and adaption to climate change. This is a working definition. It implies in its inclusivity and breadth that every job can potentially become greener. As time goes on and the transition to a green economy intensifies, what is considered a green job today might not continue to be so regarded. The understanding of green jobs also varies from one country to another. Ultimately, countries will need to compose their own national definitions and set thresholds for practices considered green or non-green.
Green jobs are decent jobs that contribute to preserve or restore the environment, be they in traditional sectors such as manufacturing and construction, or in new, emerging green sectors such as renewable energy and energy efficiency.
We define green jobs as positions in agriculture, manufacturing, construction, installation, and maintenance, as well as scientific and technical, administrative, and service-related activities, that contribute substantially to preserving or restoring environmental quality. Specifically, but not exclusively, this includes jobs that help to protect and restore ecosystems and biodiversity; reduce energy, materials, and water consumption through high-efficiency and avoidance strategies; de-carbonize the economy; and minimize or altogether avoid generation of all forms of waste and pollution. But green jobs, as we argue below, also need to be good jobs that meet longstanding demands and goals of the labor movement, i.e., adequate wages, safe working conditions, and worker rights, including the right to organize labor unions.
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