As scientists increasingly sound the alarm about the impacts of accelerating climate change and nature loss on our lives, the need to transform the global economy to run on clean energy, cut waste and reuse natural resources is becoming ever more urgent.
To make that happen, we will have to change the way we work.
Economists say there are huge opportunities in acting fast to phase down the use of fossil fuels, reduce planet-heating emissions, protect forests and wildlife, and recycle materials.
Putting in place the policies and investments to move businesses and consumers onto a more sustainable path could create tens of millions of green jobs this decade, studies say.
But one key factor holding back the green economy, according to labour market experts, is a global lack of the skills required to build it, which are poorly understood and promoted.
What is a green job?
Common perceptions of green jobs include installers of solar panels, wind turbines and heat pumps or conservationists working in nature reserves. But, in fact, the field is much broader.
The fast-expanding electric vehicle sector, for example, requires miners to provide the metals, assembly-line workers and engineers to make the cars and scooters, mechanics to maintain them, and urban planners to design green transport systems.
The opportunities can include being a more competitive, resilient business in the market, as well as supporting employees to be happier and more productive.
Nicole Sherwin, senior vice president for executive customer advisory and strategy, EcoVadis
According to professional networking platform LinkedIn, green jobs are occupations that demand extensive knowledge of green skills, such as solar consultant and sustainability manager, but they accounted for only 1 per cent of global hires in 2021.
In a 2022 report, LinkedIn also talked about “greening jobs” (9 per cent of hires) and “greening potential jobs” (40 per cent of hires), which it defines as those that can be performed without green skills but typically require some level of them.
Of the two, “greening job” workers have a higher intensity of green skills. Examples include heating and air-conditioning technicians, logistics managers and construction workers.
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