GREEN JOBS STRATEGY REVIEW
National green industrial policies
The goals of the Green Business Strategy (1999 to 2002) were:
- To further the green competitiveness of Danish enterprises and develop the market for green products.
- To develop Denmark so that, in 2005, it is among the OECD countries with the most enterprises with environment certification (Denmark was number two in terms of companies per head in 1999).
- Dissemination of green and ecological labelling. This should maintain Denmark's position as one of the countries where environment and ecological certified products have the largest turnover.
- The Government must further resource effectiveness in all businesses.
Apart from the usual policy instruments for promoting sustainable development, measures from the strategy that relate directly to the development of jobs on sustainable industries were:
- Public grants and subsidy programmes for clean products, energy efficiency, renewable energy sources, etc.
- Innovation and incubation centres/science parks.
- Development contracts and enterprises (venture capital)
- Public incentives/support/institutional building for knowledge distribution (technological information, counselling and technological centres/certified service centres.
Denmark's Working Group on a Green Industrial Development Strategy produced a discussion document in 2001 which made a large number of policy recommendations that were considered when formulating the current environmental industrial policy. These include:
"Government policies, including environmental regulations, green taxes and public procurement, should be designed in such a way that their overall impact furthers the greening of industrial development by rewarding companies and consumers that make an effort for the environment by means of market-based incentives. It should be endeavoured to design international regulations in such a way that green products and competencies become a powerful door opener in the global market.
Companies should have access to competencies, tools, environmental data and advice, which enable them to efficiently integrate environmental considerations into their strategies, development activities and day-to-day decisions. Competence development should be available to management and employees, enabling them to utilise environmental performance as an ingredient of competitiveness in the global as well as national markets.
Framework conditions should be developed that foster commercial exploitation of new environmental technologies. There is a need for effective involvement of the educational system, the research community, the financial sector, the environmental regulatory authorities, public procurement and the market. It requires the building up of new competencies and widespread will for change - in society as well as in companies".
Sweden's key policies which will have an impact on employment in sustainable areas are outlined below, other than the Local Investment Programme, which is detailed in the body of the report.
The Government is consulting and developing voluntary agreements with industry as a part of a 'softer' and longer-term approach to sustainable development. Initially, the government have focused on two sectors:
- The building sector, where environmental thinking and sustainability provide opportunities for the development of new technology, new building materials, system solutions for waste management and more efficient uses of energy, etc.
- The transport sector, which it sees as essential for sustainable development.
The Government has introduced targets for the public procurement of environmentally sustainable products. The Government spends 15% of GDP on public procurement and is making sustainability a key purchasing criteria.
The city of Gôteborg holds training seminars and workshops on green purchasing, including legal requirements, specific tools, and best practices for green procurement. By 2000, 80 to 90 percent of municipal staff had been trained on green purchasing.
One of the aims of the green procurement policy is to create a wider market for green products. The Swedish government forecasts that its policy will significantly increase the volume of affordable, sustainable products available to the private sector.
Innovation and export support
The Government is investing SEK10m (£750,000) in financing the establishment of office facilities for, and special funding initiatives in, environmentally driven business development and environmental technology exports. The Government aims to strengthen the link between public and private sector with respect to research, technological development, commercialisation and internationalisation of Swedish environmental technology.
Networking between the environmental managers of major companies has been established in projects sponsored, at low cost, by the government.
The renewable energy programme
The Swedish government is investing approximately £625m in a long-term (10 to 15 year) programme of R&D and demonstration of renewable energy technology. The focus is on the development of biofuel fired CHP, biofuel supply and ash recycling, new processes for ethanol from forestry raw materials, alternative motor fuels, wind power, solar and energy efficiency in buildings, and the industry and transport sector.
Local Investment Programme
The aims of the local investment programmes are:
- reduce pollution load
- increase the efficient use of energy and other natural resources
- increase the use of renewable resources
- increase the re-use, recovery and recycling
- improve biological diversity
- safeguard cultural environmental values
- improve the functioning of natural plant nutrient cycles.
The major fields of activity in the 1998-2001 local investment programmes were:
- The development of a sustainable supply of energy (the substitution of fossil fuels and other unsustainable sources with renewables) and the efficient use of energy. Over one third of the investments goes to the energy sector.
- Making whole residential areas green (about 20 % of investments), i.e. reducing the use of energy and improving waste management and water treatment. This also makes areas more attractive to residents and raises the awareness of and commitment to the environment and sustainable development.
- The restoration of wetlands and improving local treatment of sewage and storm water, to reduce the pollution of fresh water and of coastal areas.
- The development of plants for biogas production from organic waste.
- The restoration of polluted soils in old industrial sites, the conservation of nature areas important for biological diversity, and in the greening of public transportation and freight.
Examples of 'green job' related activities by various Government departments under the banner of sustainable development are given below:
Enviroclub is a partnership between Environment Canada, Export Development Canada, the National Research Council of Canada and the Climate Change Action Fund. The Enviroclub helps SMEs to improve profitability and performance through environmental performance. It has two components: in-plant pollution prevention measures and raising awareness of eco-efficiency.
Science Horizons Program
Environment Canada's Science Horizons Program is intended to match promising young scientists and university graduates with experienced scientists and program managers, to give them hands-on research experience working on environmental projects.
EnviroCareers and EnviroEntrepreneurs
EnviroCareers and EnviroEntrepreneurs were programmes aimed at school children, aged 15 and 18 respectively, providing encouragement, advice and support for a move into environmental employment. Details on the effectiveness of these schemes are not available.
Comprehensive benchmarking support was provided to SMEs in the environmental sector, coupled with expert advice on how to improve performance and reach their 'full economic potential by…enabling them to select and target areas with the highest payoff in quality, productivity and customer satisfaction'.
Within the Welsh strategic plan, the priorities affecting the development of jobs in sustainable industries are to:
- Assist the shift towards environmentally friendly economic growth, by encouraging service and knowledge based businesses and encouraging best practice, including greater energy efficiency within industry.
- Pursue a course of developing Wales as a global showcase for clean energy production.
- Encourage the development of strong environmental goods, services and renewable industries sectors.
- Encourage sustainable farming through an increased emphasis on agri-environment measures and organic production.
- Intensify business and environment campaign activities.
- Develop a strategic framework for energy matters in Wales.
- Increase the emphasis on energy efficiency, use of clean energy, recycling, waste minimisation and better management of landfill sites.
- Support healthy lifestyles and green tourism by developing the National Cycle Network.
- To test all elements of the National Economic Development Strategy budget against the requirements of sustainable development.
- Use the purchasing of the public sector in Wales to promote the use of environmentally friendly goods and services.
'Learning to Work Differently' sets out policy commitments to help to deliver sustainable economic growth (primarily through WDA). Many of these have an indirect impact on jobs by increasing the energy efficiency and sustainability of businesses. Those with a direct impact on jobs include:
- We will encourage businesses to consider…the types of support they will need to meet future patterns of demand for products and services, as society moves towards a more sustainable growth pattern.
- We will promote the role of new technology in helping businesses in Wales move towards a more sustainable pattern of production, and provide active support to the development and implementation of new technology.
- The Agency will contribute to the aims of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and developing diverse supplies of energy in environmentally acceptable ways. In particular, we will actively promote the development and use of renewable energy in Wales.
- The Agency will…promote Wales as a sustainable location for inward investment, stressing the long term benefits of a commitment to a sustainable future.
- Through our established links with other countries we will develop markets for sustainable technologies and best practice, particularly to solve problems which impact on global sustainability.
Each of these commitments is supported by proposals for practical action.
The UK government's sustainable consumption key objectives are as follows: greater resource efficiency; support business innovation and take-up of best practice in technology & management; producer responsibility for waste; government drive on sustainable procurement (including new forms of information to influence choice and purchasing behaviour). 9
Its renewable energy key objectives are: remove market barriers and create a level playing field for renewable energy and energy efficiency; new technology development; technology demonstration; promote the widespread adoption of energy efficiency measures; and support low carbon programmes. 10
The EU has identified sectors 11 where there is a positive link between environment and employment. They recommend that these sectors should be the focus of supportive policy measures at European, national and local level. These are detailed below.
- Manufacturing industry
- investment in clean technologies to reduce the use of natural resources - cost savings result in increased competitiveness and maintain/create employment.
- development and marketing of green products leads to new business opportunities and business expansion, with positive employment effects.
- stimulation of transport options other than the car, through provision of improved infrastructure for public transport, cyclists, pedestrians and combination of transport modes.
- research & development of cleaner technology options such as fuel cells.
- improved energy conservation in private & public buildings
- energy counselling for industry and private households
- production and use of renewable energies
- management and conservation of valuable natural assets
- sustainable management of forests
- development and use of new crops in the non-food sectors, such as for energy production from biomass
- organic farming
- Consumer behaviour
- an important stimulus for more sustainable production.