What is a green job ?

Article | 13 April 2016
Green jobs are decent jobs that contribute to preserve or restore the environment, be they in traditional sectors such as manufacturing and construction, or in new, emerging green sectors such as renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Green jobs help:
  • Improve energy and raw materials efficiency
  • Limit greenhouse gas emissions
  • Minimize waste and pollution
  • Protect and restore ecosystems
  • Support adaptation to the effects of climate change
At the enterprise level, green jobs can produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment, for example green buildings or clean transportation. However, these green outputs (products and services) are not always based on green production processes and technologies. Therefore green jobs can also be distinguished by their contribution to more environmentally friendly processes. For example, green jobs can reduce water consumption or improve recycling systems. Yet, green jobs defined through production processes do not necessarily produce environmental goods or services.

As illustrated by the diagram below, a distinction can thus be drawn between employment in green economic sectors from an output perspective and job functions in all sectors from an environmentally friendly process perspective. For the ILO, green jobs are all those jobs that fall in the dashed area: