The Green Initiative

More than 1.2 billion jobs depend on a stable environment and ecosystems. The Green Initiative aims to scale up the ILO’s knowledge, policy response and capacity to manage a just transition toward greener economies and a sustainable future.

A healthy planet is a necessary condition to guarantee decent work, productive enterprises and sustainable livelihoods.


The Green Initiative is also the conduit for actively greening the ILO’s own operations at Headquarters and in the Field, building on the ILO Environmental Sustainability Policy and Management System. The Green Initiative focuses on three areas of critical importance:

The Green Initiative focuses on three areas of critical importance:
  1. Advance research and understanding of the challenges and opportunities for the world of work arising from a green transition.
  2. Forge policy responses from the world of work in all sectors to ensure decent work and social justice for all.
  3. Build strategic partnerships at national, regional and international levels.

Challenges and opportunities of a green transition

The Green Initiative seeks to better equip the world of work to understand the challenges and opportunities of the coming transition, and help them take up the active role that they must play in managing this change. It provides a platform of knowledge and research to further build the case that decent work approaches and social dialogue are indispensable for truly transformative change.

The ILO will continue strengthening its role as a unique policy reference on employment, social protection, equality and social dialogue, while linking them to thematic issues on climate change, low-carbon and resource efficient innovative strategies. The connections highlighted between such sectors give the opportunity to expand research and analysis on front line issues, complex interactions and consequences of environmental change for the future of work.

The World Employment Social Outlook 2018 - “Greening with jobs” shed ground-breaking evidence of the impact on jobs of a transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient and circular economy.

Policy responses from the world of work 

Building on the existing Green Jobs Programme, and integrating with ILO country programmes and strategic outcomes, the Green Initiative catalyses the ILO’s work in four broad areas:
  • Global level: to boost the ILO’s standing as the global centre of excellence on current and future implications for the world of work, climate change and the transition to a greener economy.
  • National level: to enable countries to adopt and implement employment and social policies in support of national commitments on climate change, using the Just Transition policy framework and the related ILO guidance. This work has started in Ghanathe Philippines and Uruguay
  • Sectors and enterprises: to incorporate ILO core values and practical approaches in global, regional, sectoral and industry policy frameworks for environmental sustainability.
  • ILO policies and practices: to increase the understanding and use by member states, social partners, UN agencies and international development partners of the importance of employment, social protection and equality in the transition to a greener economy.

Strategic engagement and partnerships

The Green Initiative also serves as a vehicle to expand strategic partnerships, such as with the UN Climate Secretariat (UNFCCC), the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) , the NDC Partnership and other global initiatives.  

The ILO Green Jobs Programme hosts the secretariat of the Green Jobs Assessment Institutions Network (GAIN), where it has taken roots. The GAIN Network contributes research insights on global negotiations on climate change. The Network developed a methodology and training guidebook for policy makers and researchers to measure social and employment outcomes of climate and sustainable development policies. Thereby, planning and policy making will be improved to maximise positive employment outcomes and cater for potential job losses.

The insights, policy tools and guidance on a just transition feed into an expanded knowledge sharing and capacity building programme for constituents and ILO staff through the International Training Centre in Turin. In doing so, sustainable development will become fully embedded in all areas of work of the Organization and make the ILO better fit for purpose.

ILO's action on climate change

Climate change is profoundly affecting economies, enterprises, workers and society as a whole. Both climate change and its necessary response – which is the transformation towards sustainable consumption and production – have become critical considerations in the promotion of full and productive employment and decent work for all. 
The ILO’s mandate to promote social justice requires the Organization to provide its fullest support to all its constituents around the world in acting on climate change. The Organization’s involvement is founded in the shared understanding, recognized in the Paris Agreement on climate change, of the imperative to ensure a just transition for all.

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