Briefing paper

What are green jobs? What policies can create green jobs? And is the term ‘green jobs’ meaningful in itself or is it just a politically attractive phrase? This paper seeks to answer these questions.

Despite a great deal of enthusiasm about green jobs, there has been surprisingly little interest in what the concept actually means. Given that the precise definition of a green job will ultimately determine both the environmental effectiveness of the growing body of green-collar workers and the value received in return for significant public investment, the absence of a cogent definition is a cause for concern.

Is a green job one that actively contributes to the long-term transformation of society into a more ecologically sustainable form? A firm that produces wind turbines, for example, is clearly contributing to the transition to a sustainable energy system, but should the jobs of those who manufactured the steel and aluminum from which the turbines are made also be classified as green?

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