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The environmental transition and employment

The environmental transition and employment

Type of text : Opinion
Type of referral : Own initiative
Working group : Section for Labour and Employment

Rapporteur(s) :

Marie-Béatrice LEVAUX
Qualified Individuals Group
Environment and Nature Group
Date adopted : 26/05/2015 | Period : 2010-2015
The links between a more environmentally-aware economy and job creation now appear regularly in declarations and official positions at both national and European levels.
The realisation of this potential to create and transform jobs will, however, be dependent on the collective commitment to environmental transition policies. Despite the statement of objectives for fighting climate change and protecting biodiversity, there is still a need to further consolidate the corresponding public action in a number of fields if the environmental transition is to be seen as a structural choice. The hesitation surrounding the issue of increasing carbon prices and the failure of the European emissions permit market is an illustration of this weakness.
The environmental transition will only represent a real opportunity where employment is concerned if it is undertaken with consistency, determination and coherence. The policy that currently best reflects this need is the one aimed at improving the energy performance of the construction sector, with the active involvement of those in the profession, and which is having a measurable impact on activity and employment. There is, however, a certain complementarity and a necessary interconnectedness between supporting the environmental transition and France's policy for recovering from the crisis. Changes in the economic model and innovations can be capitalised upon in the framework of the National Council for Industry (CNI - Conseil national de l’industrie).
The issue of employment is raised from both quantitative and qualitative perspectives; indeed, the transformation of activities must be supported by the initial and continuous training system. Employment is not merely a consequence or a mere adjustment variable of the environmental transition but also determines the success of the latter. An improvement in skills and qualifications and professional transitions must be considered with a certain willingness as being an integral part of the strategies adopted by public authorities and economic, social and environmental stakeholders.
From a quantitative perspective, assessing the effects of the environmental transition on employment should not be limited to recording the number of people employed in the 'green economy' sector. It should, however, encompass all of the activities affected by the measures designed to radically alter our production and consumption patterns.
Anticipating and fostering vocational re-training and identifying and recognising the skills and qualifications needed for the environmental transition require businesses to be able to translate their strategic guidelines into an employee consultation process that addresses employment and training. Within corporations, the obligation to negotiate HRP (Human Resource Planning) must more fully integrate the environmental transition goal. For smaller businesses, the resources to anticipate changes must be mobilised at occupational sector and territorial levels.