G20 Leaders’ Summit

We can both create jobs and protect the environment

Job opportunity and economic growth can happen without costing the planet, said ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, at a G20 discussion on “Embracing the Opportunities (Infrastructure; Energy transitions; A sustainable food future)”.

Statement | 01 December 2018
© G20 Argentina
Thank you, Mr President.

The challenge you have put before us of transition to a fair and sustainable future requires above all us overcoming the objection that a straightforward choice has to be made between jobs and growth on the one hand, and planetary protection on the other.

It is increasingly clear that this is a false choice – one that has held us back too long, and can still cause hesitation. The good news is that there are immense opportunities for job creation at the same time as, and by protecting our environment.

In fact, climate-resilient infrastructure investment both creates the assets and connectivity that our economies need to grow – such as roads, schools, hospitals, energy and digital connection – and at the same time can build environmental security through natural resource management, water and soil conservation and flood protection schemes. And employment-intensive infrastructure investment has and can contribute importantly to food security.

The right policy settings mean that meeting the Paris Agreement’s targets can result in the net creation of 18 million decent jobs worldwide. Embracing the “circular economy” can bring 6 million more.

If all of this sounds too easy, it is clear too that the employment gains which are available are not automatic and inevitably also involve major job shifts in and between sectors. Financing and policy directed to mitigate social costs and provide just transition need to be very much part of the mix.

Finally Mr President, as with any process of change of this scale and complexity, its successful navigation depends heavily, as you reminded us at the outset, on dialogue, dialogue and more dialogue.

Thank you.