Going green is where the jobs are: new study

Posted on 16 June 2009

Brussels, Belgium – With over three million jobs across Europe, green economic activities are overtaking polluting industries in terms of employment, says a new WWF study.
“Low carbon jobs for Europe” shows that at least 3.4 million European jobs are directly related to renewable energy, sustainable transport and energy efficient goods and services. This compares with 2.8 million jobs in polluting industries, such as mining, electricity, gas, cement, and iron and steel. It is predicted that the low-carbon economy will continue to expand in the future, whereas employment in extractive and climate polluting industries will continue to decline.

“The study clearly points at the winners and provides evidence that climate-friendly policies and technologies make a positive contribution to the economy,” says Jason Anderson, Head of European Climate and Energy Policy at WWF. “The clean economy is about to take off. If politicians continue to support industries that contribute to climate pollution, Europe will face high costs in the future, both for the economy and the environment.”

Available figures suggest that in Europe close to 400,000 people are employed in renewable energy activities, some 2.1 million in efficient transport, and over 900,000 in energy efficiency goods and services. These jobs include, for example, manufacturing, installation and maintenance of wind turbines and solar panels, and construction works to improve efficiency in existing buildings. Related indirect jobs are estimated at approximately another 5 million.

All are showing significant growth, with particular focus on wind power, solar photovoltaic, bioenergy, public transport and building sectors.

Leading European countries are Germany, Spain and Denmark for wind power, Germany and Spain for solar power. Other countries see developments in similar activities, with high potentials for improvement.

Ahead of the European Council meeting in Brussels on 18-19 June, WWF is asking that the EU makes strong commitments to cut domestic greenhouse gas emissions and move to a green economy.

“In the next few days, Europe has an opportunity to do something to reduce the international perception that it is good at making promises but poor at living up to them,” added Anderson. “The Council should reemphasize Europe's commitment to taking on emissions cuts that are in line with staying below a 2 degree limit, which is not the case now”.

“In doing so Europe will demonstrate confidence that ambition in tackling the climate problem goes hand in hand with developing the engines of future economies and employment. As this report shows, making a strong emissions reductions commitment will also support the fastest growing and highest job contributing areas of the economy.”


For further information:
Jason Anderson, Head of European Climate and Energy Policy at WWF
Tel. +32 (0)2 7400935, janderson@wwfepo.org

Claudia Delpero, Communications Manager at WWF European Policy Office
Tel. +32 (0)2 7400925, cdelpero@wwfepo.org

Solar thermal electric panels at the EU research centre, Andalucia, Spain.
© WWF / Claire Doole
Windmill, close-up. Wind Farm at Castilla-La Mancha, Central Spain
© © Carlos G. VALLECILLO / WWF
Solar power station, New South Wales, Australia.
© WWF / Klein & Hubert