Friday, June 16, 2017

ILO chief calls for “greening” of world of work

As countries across the world seek to mitigate climate change through agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol and Paris Accord, some critics believe that such efforts take a toll on local jobs and manufacturing production. But International Labour Organisation (ILO) Director General Guy Ryder believes that economic growth and climate protection are not mutually exclusive.

“[T]he world does not have to choose between job creation and preserving the environment. Environmental sustainability is a must, including from a labour market perspective,” said the official in a speech last week.

“True, on the way to a more sustainable economy many types of jobs that exist today – especially in highly polluting or energy intensive activities – will disappear. Others will be replaced or adapted. But new jobs will be created as well,” he added.

For example, Ryder’s recently released “Working in a changing climate” report said that a shift from privately owned car-centred systems to metropolitan public transit and intercity rail, may result in job cuts in vehicle manufacturing and servicing, as well as fuel distribution. But it also said the operation and maintenance of public transit systems will require a “substantial” workforce.

Citing figures from the UN, the report added that a shift to more sustainable practices in agriculture has the potential to create over 200 million more full-time jobs in 2050, with growth coming from more labour-intensive green farming practices, research and development, and training of rural populations in the use of green technologies.

“Greener economies can be engines of growth, both in advanced and developing economies. They can generate decent green jobs that contribute significantly to climate mitigation and adaptation, but also to poverty eradication and social inclusion,” said Ryder in his speech.

Ryder added that the challenge is not just about creating more jobs, but also about the quality of those jobs. “Sustainable development must be pursued in full regard to its social and economic dimensions, not only its environmental consequences.”


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