The 2017 edition of Green Week, the biggest annual occasion to debate and discuss European environment policy, took place from Monday, 29 May to Friday, 23 June. It focused on the theme "Green Jobs for a greener future".
The clearest definition of the meaning of ‘green jobs’ was provided by Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries
“It’s not about white collar or blue collar jobs, it’s about moving to green collar. It’s about greening existing professions, getting the green know-how to people who already have the skills, but lack that particular knowledge that will make all the difference. We need to find ways of making green the new normal - initiatives under the Circular Economy Action Plan and the Skills Agenda will help .”
On the final day of the EU Green Jobs Summit in Brussels, participants explored the wide range of green job profiles – from organic farmers and natural reserve guides to workers in environmentally-friendly hotels as well as teachers – throughout Europe. Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner for Employment pointed out that:.
“Job data shows that over the last 15 years employment in the green economy across Europe grew by 49% compared to a growth of 6% in the economy overall - that's almost 1.4 million new green jobs,"
Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs © EU - Patrick Mascart
The summit covered the definition of green jobs with Monika Wozowczyk, of Eurostat, exploring the technical definition:
Employment in the green sector can include workers in cleaner and more resource efficient products – like a factory worker making energy efficient appliances, environmental goods and related services - like solar panel assemblers, and environmental services – like a waste sorters, …
The contribution of EU nature policies – like Natura 2000, the EU network of nature protection sites – in creating green jobs was also covered. Patrick ten Brink, Director at the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) estimated that Natura 2000 supports around 174,000 direct and indirect jobs in the EU including on-site management and restoration, jobs in sustainable crops, timber and fish, tourism and recreation.
The summit then turned its attention to investment in the green sector, and the ocean energy sector. Jacopo Moccia, Policy and Operations Director at Ocean Energy Europe, said.
"Jobs created through investing in the ocean energy sector will be concentrated in Europe. Ocean energy can create 400,000 jobs in the EU by 2050 – that's more than the workforce of the entire European naval construction sector today,"
At the closing session of the Summit, Markus Beyrer, Director General of BusinessEurope, said, "the circular economy is a real driver for job creation."
ETRA was there and had the opportunity to address some of these issues with representatives of the Commission.