Green economy has the potential of generating millions of jobs in Latin America and the Caribbean as well as reducing labor costs stemming from modern environmental problems, like climate change, the overexploitation of natural resources and the pollution of ecosystems. The conclusion can be found in the latest report by the International Labor Organization (ILO), released this week.
The survey World Employment and Social Outlook 2018 indicates that the efforts to fight climate change by 2030 will generate a positive balance of 18 million jobs across the world. The estimate includes, for instance, job posts to be created in construction and manufacture to create new sources of energy and make strides towards energy efficiency.
In the view of ILO regional director José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, “the challenges posed by environmental sustainability are among the powerful forces shaping the future in this region, so this is why measures must be taken to maximize its benefits and effectively face up its threats.”
The study highlights that in this region of the plant, with such abundant natural resources, coastal waters, and great diversity of ecosystems “it is unquestionable that the labor world is intrinsically linked to the environment.” In this connection, “green jobs catalyze the transition to environmental sustainability.”
Salazar-Xirinachs warns that “there are huge opportunities in a green economy, but also a potential for destruction of job posts. So it must be ensured that workers have access to social protection, attain the appropriate set of qualifications and that the economies in the regions become more capable of carrying out the transition from a traditional to a greener industry.”
The director noted that “the main challenge is to make the transition fair for all.” He pointed out that “even though the creation of jobs is real, some workers and communities will be suffer a negative impact.” For this reason, “the region must be ready to take the coming employment opportunities and prevent the aggravation of inequalities.”
ILO econometrics specialist Guillermo Montt, who helped draft the report, explained that “in Latin America and the Caribbean, at least 1 million jobs are generated as a result of the use of renewable energy, more energy efficiency in properties, and a higher demand for electric cars and other technology changing consumption patterns to fight climate change.”
The data collected in the study further indicate that the region could generate another 4 million job openings with the development of the so-called “circular economy.” This economic model promotes the reuse, the repair, the recycling, the re-manufacture, and greater durability of products, as an alternative to the linear model of extraction, manufacture, use, and disposal prevalent in recent decades.
To Montt’s judgment, “the transition to a green economy includes changes in nearly every sector of the economy, among which energy, agriculture, transport, construction, mining, fishing.” He went on to say that “the progress towards a more generalized sustainable economy will make an impact on all sectors,” and that the choices to be made “will determine whether they will bring employment and decent work to the region.”
ILO believes that mitigation measures will prevent the negative effects of environmental degradation in the labor world.
*With information from UN News