ILO Calls for Engagement of Labor Sector in Green Economy

ilo-eu18 July 2014: At a Joint Meeting of EU Environment and Labor ministers, hosted by the Government of Italy, the International Labour Organization (ILO) urged the ministers to align their policies on sustainable development. ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said a deliberate shift to a greener economy could promote job creation and help mitigate climate change.

Ryder noted that European countries historically have had a greater focus on improving labor productivity, rather than energy and resource productivity, adding that green technology is primarily in the hands of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Acknowledging the EU's Green Action Plan for SMEs, he also encouraged ministers to make use of the policy framework adopted by the International Labour Conference in 2013, which addressed sustainable development, decent work and green jobs.

The Green Action Plan - 'Enabling SMEs to turn environmental challenges into business opportunities' - was adopted on 2 July by the EC. It aims to: support green entrepreneurship; develop greener value chains through promoting repair, maintenance, recycling and eco-design; and facilitate regional market access for SMEs that are offering green technology, products and services. The Plan aims to contribute to ‘the re-industrialization of Europe,' and completes the EC's Green Employment Initiative, which proposes a road map for the creation of green jobs in Europe. [ILO Press Release] [EC Press Release on Green Action Plan for SMEs] [ILO Green Jobs Portal] [CEEP Press Release]