OECD Green Growth Studies

2222-9523 (online)
2222-9515 (print)
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The OECD Green Growth Strategy aims to provide concrete recommendations and measurement tools, including indicators, to support countries’ efforts to achieve economic growth and development, while ensuring that natural assets continue to provide the resources and environmental services on which well-being relies. The strategy proposes a flexible policy framework that can be tailored to different country circumstances and stages of development.

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Greener Skills and Jobs

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OECD, Cedefop
13 Feb 2014
9789264208704 (PDF) ;9789264208698(print)

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Green skills, that is, skills needed in a low-carbon economy, will be required in all sectors and at all levels in the workforce as emerging economic activities create new (or renewed) occupations. Structural changes will realign sectors that are likely to decline as a result of the greening of the economy and workers will need to be retrained accordingly. The successful transition to a low-carbon economy will only be possible if workers can flexibly adapt and transfer from areas of decreasing employment to new industries. This report suggests that the role of skills and education and training policies should be an important component of the ecological transformation process.

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  • Foreword

    This publication emerged from a joint OECD and Cedefop forum on green skills held in February 2012. The aim of the forum was to gather the recent work of researchers, government advisers, employment and policy analysts, and other social partners on skills development and training needs for a lower carbon economy.

  • Preface

    In February 2012, policy makers, researchers, experts from international organisations and academia met in Paris to debate the role of "green skills" in moving towards a low-carbon future. The 2012 Green Skills Forum was organised jointly by the OECD and Cedefop and this volume collects the papers from participants. The Forum raised policy makers’ and stakeholders’ awareness of the need to integrate skills strategies in order to succeed in the transition to a low-carbon economy. Such strategies include measures for more flexible and dynamic education and training programmes at local, sectoral and regional levels.

  • Executive summary

    The OECD-CEDEFOP Green Skills Forum, initiated in 2012, discusses what green jobs and green skills are and what the implications for low-carbon economies are if not enough of either are created by our economies. Labour market impacts of the transition from high- to low-carbon production will affect all workers. However, while changes may be minor for the majority, they may be substantial for a small number of industries and professions. The Forum discussions have already shown that the skills and training needs are threefold: i) upgrade skill sets in industries experiencing only minor adjustments; ii) gearing up educational institutions and firms to provide the new skills for new occupations and sectors that will emerge from the green economy; and iii) retraining and realigning skills in sectors that will decline as a result.

  • Green skills for a low-carbon future

    This chapter defines the key concepts that are central to this volume: what are green jobs and green skills and what are the implications for low-carbon economies if there is not enough of either. Labour market impacts from the transition from high- to low-carbon intense production will affect all workers. However, changes will be minor for the majority, but substantial for a small number of industries and professions. The skills and training implications are threefold: i) upgrade skills sets in industries experiencing only minor adjustments; ii) gearing up educational institutions and firms to provide the new skills for new occupations and sectors that will emerge from the green economy; and iii) retraining and realigning skills in sectors that will decline as a result.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Gearing up education for training and growth

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    • The case for a global green skills training action plan

      Building on ICF GHK’s extensive experience in researching and evaluating international developments in green growth, green jobs and green skills, this chapter identifies key actions for policy makers and social partners to ensure that vocational education and training are better aligned to the needs of enterprises and entrepreneurs, in the context of transition. The employment, skills and training strategies developed by the European Union and the G20/ILO provide the framework for this analysis. The chapter applies the five critical elements of the G20 Training Strategy to the case of green structural change and outlines five key policy actions.

    • The New Skills for Green Jobs Project: European context

      This chapter provides an overview of the European Union context for skills and employment within the Europe 2020 Strategy, both to stimulate economic growth at a time of global recession and support the development of greener economies in Europe. It examines the nature of green jobs and occupations, and sets out the contribution that green skills and employment can make to achieve economic stability and promote the mitigation of climate change. It is important to ensure that the green economy does not act to disadvantage already marginalised groups, such as female workers who are poorly represented in green industries. The chapter also describes the New Skills for Green Jobs Project, which was funded by the EU PROGRESS initiative – specifically to link with the Europe 2020 Strategy. The 2012 project sought to promote an adequate skills base to support the transition towards a green economy by identifying and exchanging good practices across partner countries.

    • The interaction of environmental and labour market policy: An overview of the quantity and quality of green jobs in Europe

      The scale and nature of "green" jobs has come to the fore in political discussion in Europe at both national and international levels. Particularly in the light of the continuing recession, the idea that economic growth could be stimulated and new jobs created by activities that also meet environmental objectives is clearly attractive. Green jobs are an important part of the EU’s Europe 2020 strategy, which explicitly quotes figures for jobs that could be created from meeting environmental goals. This chapter gives an overview of the current situation and possible development of green jobs in the period up to 2020. It combines quantitative and qualitative analysis, at both the macro and detailed sectoral level, to develop an understanding of the number and nature of green jobs and how they might be influenced by future policy.

    • The Austrian Masterplan for Human Resources for Renewable Energies

      This chapter discusses European policy developments regarding VET-labour market co-operation in general and in the renewable energy sector in particular. The situation in Austria is also discussed: How is the renewable energy sector embedded in the Austrian economy? Which strategies are followed and what challenges are faced in supplying green skills? Finally, the chapter looks at masterplans as a tool for the governance of VET in general, as well as the objectives, methodological approach and intermediate findings of the "Masterplan for Human Resources for Renewable Energy" project in particular.

    • Skills for green jobs: Gearing up education and training for green growth

      Skills development is critical to unlocking the employment potential of green growth. To avoid future skill shortages, countries need to devise strategies based on well-informed policy decisions, social dialogue and co-ordination among ministries and between employers and training providers. Changes in skill profiles happen at all levels of qualification and across all sectors. Co-ordination between skills and environmental policies, mainstreaming environmental content across all training programmes, as well as designing specific courses for new or changing occupations are important building blocks for a coherent strategy to gear up education and training for greener jobs. This contribution draws on findings from the book Skills for Green Jobs. A Global View, arising from an ILO/Cedefop collaboration, and two sector studies on renewable energy and green building as well as a comparative analysis of methods of skills identification, resulting from a joint project between the ILO and the European Commission

    • Education and training for sustainability: An ecological vision

      The authors defend the idea that a sustainable society is only possible through a systemic approach, which integrates (new) green production and consumption patterns, in a unique eco-system. This chapter focuses on research and innovation in the area of industrial technologies. It shows how research and innovation must be interrelated for a sustainable and competitive economy. Despite delocalisation, industry continues to play a capital role for Europe in what we call "the industrial paradox": industrial economies are more crisis-resistant than those dominated by low added-value activities. For the authors, Europe still maintains competitive advantages, such as its human capital. Maintaining or increasing such advantage requires the development of a whole set of skills, both technical and "soft" skills. The needs of industry in terms of skills and capacities are therefore analysed, combined with values and attitudes necessary for a sustainable society. The chapter includes some policy recommendations that put into question current European education and training discourses and policies.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Enterprise approaches for a workforce fit for a green economy

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    • Licensing and certification to increase skills provision and utilisation amongst low-carbon small and medium-sized enterprises in the United Kingdom

      This chapter focuses on the use of licensing and certification as a means of increasing appropriate levels of skills provision amongst a range of low-carbon occupations in the United Kingdom. Previous work addressed the range of market and governance failures in the provision of low-carbon skills and the measures adopted to address these failures. This chapter examines the potential to increase the use of licensing and certification to address these market and governance failures, and the resulting challenges that may arise.

    • Anticipating and managing the effects of greening of industries in the European Union: Skills development in the overall context of job quality

      This chapter starts by summarising the available evidence on the effects of greening of industries on job quality. It then provides an overview of the approaches companies use to anticipate and manage these effects. Finally, it outlines some of the measures that public authorities could take to facilitate the development of the workforce in preparation for a green economy.

    • Greening technical vocational education and training in the European steel industry

      This chapter studies the first results of the European Lifelong Learning Programme funded project, Greening Technical Vocational Education and Training (GT-VET). Within this project, responsive vocational education and training (VET) pathways are explored to meet the environmental and health and safety skill needs of the steel industry. As a model, the project will develop an industry-driven European sustainable training module, in co-operation with national VET systems. Independent of the different VET systems of EU member countries, VET practices and learning outcomes need to be evaluated with respect to environmental skills, expertise and awareness. Based on these insights, a European training module will be developed to obtain identical European learning outcomes in the field of green skills and sustainable awareness, which complement current technical VET programmes in this area.

    • Managerial skills in the green corporation

      This chapter discusses a framework for organisational transformation towards green corporations that shows the link between change management and corporate sustainability. The chapter highlights the new leadership skills needed by middle and top managers. Four European companies are analysed, from diverse sectors, countries and sizes to consolidate the results of the research.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Integrating skills into local development strategies for green job creation

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    • Local development strategy, green jobs and skills in the Indian context

      Eco-friendly approaches for adaptation and mitigation of the impact of climate change and environmental degradation on economic growth affects the labour market. The market needs to adjust in terms of changes in the occupational structures and skill responses to be able to sustain the environment and growth at national and local levels. As a result of the transition towards a green economy, some new jobs will be created while some existing ones will be eliminated, some new occupations may emerge and there may be a need to retrain some of the existing employees to adapt to the changing conditions.

    • Climate change adaptation and local development: The new imperatives for green skills development

      This chapter offers a set of plausible new definitions of green jobs that are consistent with climate change governance, and identifies focus areas for new skills development based on both mitigation and adaptation activities. The lists of projects and activities relevant at local development levels are then mapped into local as well as non-local skill development activities that enable: i) effective transition to a low-carbon economy; ii) integration with the adaptation activities; and iii) alignment with local economic development strategies, including the promotion of job growth. The roles of transaction costs and public policies to assist an effective transition to the green economy via development of green skills are clarified. The chapter also offers a summary case study of the United States’ green jobs policy approaches, scenarios and changes in skill requirements. Illustrative sample strategies for green jobs at state and federal levels are reviewed, following the existing approaches toward the green economy and green jobs.

    • Lessons from the project "Employment Centres and Sustainable Development" in France

      In France, buildings consume more than 40% of all energy. Reducing this consumption is one of the main objectives of French climate change mitigation policies. This objective represents a major challenge for the construction sector, which needs to be ready to deliver buildings and renovations offering high energy performance. If current construction and renovation technologies are to deliver the expected results, they require specific skills that most building sector companies do not currently have. This skills gap is a strong obstacle to reaching the set objectives.

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