Greening the economy and creating sustainable employment

The Action Plan for Jobs 2012 includes a commitment to produce a Green Economy Plan during the third quarter of 2012.
This paper asserts that all policy oriented towards the creation of employment should be in the context of a green economy. It offers working definitions for a green economy, and for green jobs, placing both in the context of Ireland’s move towards “Our Sustainable Future”. It outlines policies which will contribute towards green job creation, as well as policies and actions in those sectors where there is great potential for the creation of green jobs. Specific green job proposals are described under these sectors.


The establishment of a Green Economy Plan requires a baseline assessment of what green jobs already exist, and a vision of where new ones can be created. It is proposed that this baseline be developed using the methodology developed by UNEP. It is asserted that the narrow understanding of what constitutes a green economy, as presented as an adjunct to the Action Plan for Jobs 2012, will greatly restrict the potential for the creation of long term sustainable jobs that provide multiple goods to society. Sectors, such as nature conservation, with proven employment potential are absent.
The case is made that all government decisions regarding capital spending, taxation, subsidies, and monetary policy should be subjected to a rigorous “employment impact assessment” in the context of developing a sustainable green economy, and in order to avoid destroying future job creation potentials. It is also argued that for the development of the green economy, cross-departmental solidarity in Government must be the order of the day, with the public good taking precedence over sectoral economic gains.

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