Skills for a Greener Future

Climate change and environmental degradation are among the greatest challenges of our times. Transition to environmental sustainability can potentially create millions of jobs but this will require bold action to invest in people’s capabilities to realize their full potential and contribute to the productivity of enterprises. Climate change and environmental degradation reduce productivity and destroy jobs, and their effects fall disproportionately on the most vulnerable. Just transition to environmental sustainability will require reskilling and upskilling of workers to reduce the risk of rising unemployment, poverty and inequality. Access to training, raising environmental awareness and climate literacy for current workers will be essential for the implementation of greener ways of production and service delivery.

In 2010–11 the ILO conducted first round of research in a sample of 21 countries, in collaboration with the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop). The research resulted in the ILO report Skills for green jobs: A global view (Strietska-Ilina et al., 2011) and in Cedefop’s synthesis report for selected EU countries (Cedefop, 2010). The global report identified major gaps in and shortages of skills for green jobs, looked into the alignment between skills, environmental policies and institutional arrangements, and suggested policy response strategies and good practices.

Almost a decade after, in 2017-19, a new round of research was conducted. It updated information from countries covered in the previous study and included additional countries and regions. The new global report, entitled Skills for a greener future, covers 32 countries, together, these account for 63 per cent of world employment, 65 per cent of global GDP and 63 per cent of CO2 emissions. This new edition presents an expanded qualitative analysis with evidence of good practice in developed and developing countries of all income levels and quantitative estimates of occupational skills needs in two policy scenarios by 2030.

Research results: 2010-2011 round

Research results: 2017-2018 round