Procedure : 2014/2238(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0204/2015

Texts tabled :

A8-0204/2015

Debates :

PV 07/07/2015 - 15
CRE 07/07/2015 - 15

Votes :

PV 08/07/2015 - 4.13
CRE 08/07/2015 - 4.13

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2015)0264

REPORT     
PDF 319kWORD 172k
22 June 2015
PE 551.783v02-00 A8-0204/2015

on the Green Employment Initiative: Tapping into the job creation potential of the green economy

(2014/2238(INI))

Committee on Employment and Social Affairs

Rapporteur: Jean Lambert

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
 OPINION of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality
 RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on the Green Employment Initiative: Tapping into the job creation potential of the green economy

(2014/2238(INI))

The European Parliament,

–       having regard to the Commission communication ‘Green Employment Initiative: Tapping into the job creation potential of the green economy’ (COM(2014)0446),

–       having regard to the Commission communication ‘Green action plan for SMEs’ COM(2014)0440),

–       having regard to the Commission communication ‘Towards a circular economy: A zero waste programme for Europe’ (COM(2014)0398),

–       having regard to the Commission staff working document ‘Exploiting the employment potential of green growth’ (SWD(2012)0092),

–       having regard to the Council Conclusions of 6 December 2010 on ‘Employment policies for a competitive, low-carbon, resource-efficient and green economy’,

–       having regard to the Council Decision 2010/707/EU of 21 October 2010 on guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States,

–       having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions 'Green action plan for SMEs and Green Employment Initiative',

–       having regard to the OECD/European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training study of 2014 on ‘Greener Skills and Jobs, OECD Green Growth Studies’,

–       having regard to the European Employment Observatory Review of April 2013 on ‘Promoting green jobs throughout the crisis: a handbook of best practices in Europe 2013’,

–       having regard to the International Labour Organisation/European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training report of 2011 on ‘Skills for green jobs: a global view: synthesis report based on 21 country studies’,

–       having regard to the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training report of 2010 on ‘Skills for green jobs – European synthesis report’,

–       having regard to the Eurofound reports on Industrial Relations and Sustainability: the role of social partners in the transition towards a green economy (2011), Greening the European economy: responses and initiatives by Member States and social partners (2009), and Greening of Industries in the EU: anticipating and managing the effects on quantity and quality of jobs (2013),

–       having regard to the OECD, CFE-LEED working document of 8 February 2010 on ‘Green jobs and skills: the local labour market implications of addressing climate change’,

–       having regard to the ILO/UNEP definition of a green job as any decent job that contributes to preserving or restoring the quality of the environment whether it is in agriculture, industry, services or administration,

–       having regard to its resolution of 12 December 2013 on Eco-innovation – jobs and growth through environmental policy(1),

–       having regard to its resolution of 15 March 2012 on a roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050(2),

–       having regard to its resolution of 7 September 2010 on developing the job potential of a new sustainable economy(3),

–       having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–       having regard to the report of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (A8-0204/2015),

A.     whereas global trends such as the inefficient use of resources, the unsustainable pressure on the environment, and climate change are close to the limits beyond which irreversible impacts on our societies and the natural environment cannot be prevented and growing social exclusion and inequalities are a challenge to societies;

B.     whereas in its 2015 report the European Environment Agency has pointed out that current measures are insufficient to achieve aims related to biodiversity conservation, reduction in the use of fossil fuels, and combating climate change and averting its impact on human health and the environment;

C.     whereas the lack of a coherent policy response to tackle these common challenges risks leaving a significant part of the sustainable employment creation potential of a green and socially inclusive transition unused;

D.     whereas in response to these threats we are seeing the development of new sectors, changes within many others and the decline of some sectors such as those which are heavily polluting; whereas there is a need to focus on innovation and on ways to reduce pollution; whereas with regard to some declining sectors special attention needs to be paid to the workforce in terms of retraining and alternative employment; whereas investments in those areas prioritised under the Commission's Green Jobs agenda, including recycling, biodiversity, energy efficiency, air quality and all renewable energy technologies such as offshore renewable energy, have the potential to significantly boost job creation, including in sparsely populated areas;

E.     whereas, according to the European Environment Agency, the green goods and services sector grew by more than 50 % between 2000 and 2011, generating over 1.3 million jobs and whereas, according to the Commission’s calculations, the renewable energy economy will create 20 million new jobs in Europe by 2020; whereas an ambitious and coherent EU policy and investment in renewable energies, forest management, sustainable agriculture and soil protection (to prevent and counteract hydrological instability) have the potential to significantly boost job creation;

F.     whereas the objective of sustainable development is enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty, and enforcement of this implies that environmental issues are treated at the same level as economic and social ones within the annual cycle of European policies;

G.     whereas the EU2020 strategy to promote smart, sustainable and inclusive economies recognises the pivotal role of a transition towards green and socially fair economies;

H.     whereas labour market rigidities are impeding job creation, while a competitive EU labour market can contribute to achieving the Europe 2020 employment targets;

I.      whereas the EU and its Member States made a commitment, at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference in Cancun in 2010, to ensure ‘a just transition of the workforce that creates decent work and quality jobs’; whereas a just transition for all towards an environmentally sustainable economy needs to be well managed to contribute to the objective of sustainable and long-term employment for all – including, but not limited to, highly skilled jobs –, social inclusion and the eradication of poverty;

J.        whereas the five pillars of a 'Just transition' include: consultation/union voice; investment in green and decent jobs; green skills; respect for labour and human rights; and social protection for workers and communities on the frontline of the transition from high to low carbon;

K.     whereas strong participation by workers in the transition is essential with a view to increasing environmental consciousness and an understanding of the need for resource efficiency and decreasing our impact on the environment;

L.     whereas the potential for expansion in green jobs is hampered by a skills deficiency and mismatch caused by a number of factors, including variability of curricula in relation to sustainability, identified shortcomings in particular sectors, the lack of students with the necessary STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) and IT skills, and gender concentration in some sectors rather than gender balance;

M.    whereas there is evidence that investing in energy and resource efficiency and developing the supply chain through a clear industrial strategy, as well as shifting tax from labour to other sources, has the potential to have a positive impact on job creation;

N.     whereas Europe is engaged in global competition, and affordable energy costs, the completion of the EU’s internal market and an improved investment climate for sustainable growth and the creation of jobs play a decisive role;

O.     whereas certain sectors, such as energy-efficient building renovation, are site-specific and cannot be offshored or relocated;

P.     whereas uncertainty and a lack of coherence in policy direction and an absence of clear goals hinders investment, skills development, R&D and thus frustrates the development of employment opportunities;

Q.     whereas a greater societal awareness of the importance of the need for a green economy would enhance employment possibilities;

R.     whereas clear, fixed, mid- to long-term targets, including the EU energy efficiency and pollution targets, can be important drivers of change, and whereas EU regulation also has an important role to play in this regard; whereas targeted investment, including in the development of supply chains within the EU, leading to job creation should stem from, and be consistent with, a clear policy framework;

S.     whereas the public sector and local and regional authorities can play a pivotal role in facilitating the transitions to a green economy and creating inclusive labour markets;

T.     whereas the Ecolabel, EMAS, GPP and similar schemes help to create green jobs;

U.     whereas micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises are one of the most important generators of employment in the EU, account for considerably more than 80 % of all jobs and have led the way in many ‘green’ sectors, but may face particular difficulties in anticipating the skills needed and in fulfilling the job potential;

V.     whereas the Integrated Guidelines are a key aspect of the coordination of Member States' economic and employment policies and form the basis of country-specific recommendations, and whereas they should underpin the Europe 2020 objectives, notably the employment target, inter alia by promoting quality job creation including through green employment;

W.    whereas women must benefit equally from the creation of suitable green jobs, and the ‘glass ceiling’ must be broken through;

X.     whereas women are disproportionately hit by the crisis and by austerity policies, and whereas green jobs have shown themselves to be more crisis-resistant than others;

Y.     whereas the role of civil society is crucial in the transition to a green economy, as well as in the fight for gender equality;

Z.     whereas low-carbon sectors tend to have higher labour productivity, and wage shares have fallen less in these sectors than in the top 15 emitting industries;

AA.  whereas Eurobarometer data on green work in SMEs show that energy saving, waste reduction and lowering raw material consumption are measures which have come to be economically advantageous;

Towards a green economy – opportunities for the labour market

1.      Emphasises that a transition towards sustainable societies and economies, including sustainable patterns of consumption and production, can generate the potential both to create new quality jobs and to transform existing employment into green jobs in virtually all sectors and across the entire value chain: from research to production, distribution and servicing, and in new green high-tech sectors such as renewable energies, as well as in traditional industries like manufacturing and construction, or in agriculture and fisheries, or service sectors such as tourism, catering, transport and education; at the same time stresses that, in addition to creating a large number of jobs, investment in renewable energies and energy efficiency contributes to maintaining Europe’s economic and industrial competitiveness and to reducing Europe’s energy dependency;

2.      Stresses that two thirds of the services provided by nature, including fertile land and clean water and air, are in decline, and global warming and biodiversity loss are close to the limits beyond which irreversible impacts on our societies and the natural environment cannot be prevented;

3.      Points out that continuous economic growth is possible only if it takes into account the limitations of the environment; highlights, in this context, the fact that a green and circular economy can provide solutions for the environment as well as for the economy and for society in general;

4.      Highlights the fact that full implementation of environmental legislation, as well as the improvement of environmental integration and policy coherence across different sectorial polices in the EU, are essential for a full deployment of the potential linked to the green economy and therefore for the creation of green jobs;

5.      Notes that in its 2015 report the European Environment Agency points out that current measures are insufficient to achieve aims related to conserving biodiversity, reducing the use of fossil fuels, and combating climate change and averting its impact on human health and the quality of the environment;

6.      Notes that the transition bears significant potential to create local jobs which cannot be relocated, and in areas which cannot be offshored, and in sectors hit by the crisis such as the buildings sector; notes that there is strong evidence that the green transition will, on balance, have a positive impact on employment, reflecting the fact that sustainable economic activities like saving energy or farming organically are more labour-intensive than the activities they replace and could have the potential to enable regions to become more self-sufficient;

7.      Considers that an agreed definition of 'green jobs', based on that of the ILO and the International Conference of Statisticians, should be adopted;

Just transition and creation of quality and sustainable jobs

8.      Welcomes the Commission’s statement that restructuring should be handled in a socially responsible way, while at the same time recognising the need for companies to innovate and restructure;

9.      Believes it is crucial, in order to maximise the net job potential of the green economy, that we provide our existing workforce with proper opportunities to acquire the new skills needed for the circular economy;

10.    Calls on the Member States to encourage policies aimed at protecting and upgrading public buildings in order to increase energy efficiency and reduce consumption;

11.    Calls on the Member States, and the Commission where appropriate, to commit to a ‘just transition roadmap’ to pursue ambitious environmental goals with the promotion of the following aspects: adequate social protection and remuneration, long-term jobs and healthy and safe working conditions, government-led investment in education, training and skills programmes, respect for labour rights and the strengthening of worker information, consultation and participation rights regarding matters concerning sustainable development, and effective workforce representation; calls on the Member States to pursue these goals;

12.    Recalls that the revised EU Health and Safety Strategy should take account of specific developments in new sectors where appropriate;

13.    Stresses that anticipating change in employment requires proactive transformation management and improved high-quality data collection on the current and future needs of the labour market, with the involvement of European higher-education institutions, and that long-term planning is essential for ensuring an effective transition and increased employment; stresses the important role played by local and regional authorities in the transition to the greener economy in education, infrastructure, supporting local businesses and creating stable employment with salaries governed by collective agreements or other permitted means in accordance with national legislation; whereas social dialogue is an essential element of transformation management; calls on the Commission, Member States, regional and local governments and social partners to assume their responsibility and tackle this challenge collectively, taking into account the principle of subsidiarity;

14.    Notes that the role of the social partners in the transition to green jobs has been gradually increasing in recent years, but recalls that more needs to be done to build a lasting and sustainable social dialogue that can help to meet the challenges posed by the move to a competitive, low-carbon, resource-efficient economy;

15.    Highlights the importance of national governments in promoting sectorial social dialogue, especially in newly emerging green industries, and also in ensuring the inclusion of SMEs;

16.    Notes that some regions are facing more challenges than others because of the geographical concentration of energy-, resource-intensive and polluting industries, or of higher levels of poverty or unemployment; calls on the Member States and local and regional governments supported by the European Union to collaborate with the social partners and collectively implement just transition roadmaps, including solidarity mechanisms for a socially fair, green transition of the local and regional economies, while supporting communities and workers affected by change and thereby reducing insecurity due to job displacement and ensuring that demands for new job skills are met;

17.    Highlights the fact that local authorities can play a key role in promoting job growth in the green economy and more decent and inclusive jobs by:

– green investment,

– leveraging the power of public procurement, including the use of social and environmental clauses in public procurement,

– creating partnerships, including with training institutions, to improve the job/skills match on local labour markets,

– supporting both green SMEs and greening of SMEs,

– setting up inclusive green employment programmes that ensure that vulnerable groups will also capitalise on green growth;

18.    Points to the evidence that emphasises the importance of management’s engagement with the workforce to ensure substantial participation by them in achieving these changes through social partnership; recommends the involvement of trade union ‘green representatives’ working with employers on strengthening the greening of the economy and increasing sustainability at their workplaces; calls on the Member States to provide targeted support for joint worker/employer initiatives for greening industries;

19.    Considers that pilot projects in support of certain of these objectives should be developed;

20.    Welcomes the Commission’s commitment to using the Targeted Mobility Schemes under the Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) to promote labour mobility of jobseekers;

Skills for green employment

21.    Welcomes the tools for skills development and the forecasting of skill needs proposed by the Commission; highlights the fact that skills development should encourage the development of STEM skills, which are widely useful in an economy; stresses, however, that more ambitious action and investment is needed; believes that in order to anticipate future skills needs, all labour market stakeholders must be strongly involved at all levels;

22.    Calls on the Member States to work with the Commission to set up a data bank listing training courses and job offers related to green employment, with the aim of improving the quality of information, advice and guidance available on careers and the skills needed to capitalise on employment opportunities provided by the greening of the economy;

23.    Calls on the Commission to ensure that data collection is carried out in all green sectors, including those that are currently neglected, such as public transport and the retail sector; asks the Commission, while providing support to national statistical offices and Public Employment Services (PES), and while reinforcing the use of quantitative modelling tools, to incorporate a gender equality perspective in data collection on all green employment sectors;

24.    Asks the Commission to include a gender perspective in the development of new data collection, disaggregation and analysis, such as work carried out with the econometrical tool FIDELIO or with stakeholders such as the International Conference of Labour Statisticians;

25.    Stresses the need for a greater emphasis on bridging the skills gap through fostering skills development;

26.    Calls on the Commission to help foster skills development through the updating of qualifications and corresponding education and training curricula at EU level;

27.    Calls on the Commission to emphasise greater use of classification systems such as ESCO which can be used to identify skills gaps;

28.    Emphasises the importance of better synergies between education systems and emerging new green jobs through better coordination between educational institutions and employers' unions and other relevant organisations;

29.    Calls on the Member States, regional governments and local authorities to adopt and implement, together with the social partners and training providers, skill development and anticipation strategies with the objective of improving generic, sectoral and occupation-specific skills; further stresses the importance of partnerships and trust between educational institutions, businesses, the social partners and authorities;

30.    Notes that these strategies should include a thorough assessment of the type and level of green jobs to be created and the required skills and knowledge, leading to the anticipation and identification of skills gaps and targeted vocational and lifelong training programmes focusing on matching skills and jobs with the aim of increasing employment; stresses the need to actively include in the strategies both displaced workers and low-skilled workers at risk of being excluded from the labour market, by ensuring that skills training is targeted, accessible and free for these workers;

31.    Notes that CEDEFOP proposes that adapting curricula and including environmental awareness, with an understanding of sustainable development and business efficiency, is better than proposing new training programmes;

32.    Encourages the Member States and regional and local authorities to integrate sustainable development and environmental competences and skills into training and education systems, in particular by strengthening VET (vocational education and training) systems and by encouraging research centres to develop technologies, projects and patents for green products, in collaboration with new green companies; encourages exchanges of ideas between research centres and networks of companies and professionals; recalls the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills and the need to ensure that more women study STEM subjects;

33.    Calls for an ambitious strategy for creating sustainable jobs, including by addressing the skills mismatch with a particular focus on meeting the skills needs of a greener economy;

34.    Urges the Member States to take advantage of the development of this sector, to create highly skilled apprenticeships to provide young people with specialised knowledge and training, and to help tackle the high levels of youth unemployment;

35.    Calls on the Commission and the Member States to take into account, when making the transition to the green economy, the needs of women and girls for better lifelong learning opportunities, especially in fields which have a high potential for providing a significant number of new green jobs, such as science, research, engineering, digital technology and new technologies, with the aim of strengthening women’s position in society, removing gender stereotypes and providing jobs which correspond fully to the particular needs and skills of women;

36.    Invites the Commission, the Member States the and regional and local authorities systematically to include a gender equality perspective in the definition, implementation and monitoring of green job creation policies at all levels, with a view to ensuring that equal opportunities are guaranteed, taking into account the challenges of green job creation in rural areas; encourages the Member States and regional and local authorities to make further efforts to enable women to participate fully in policy formulation, decision-making and the implementation of a green employment strategy that includes green skills;

37.    Asks the Commission to open a public debate on, and to promote the concept of, ‘education for sustainable development’, with special emphasis on the education of girls and women; calls on the Member States and the Commission to promote policies to encourage higher participation of women in education in STEM subjects and entrepreneurship, and to connect the green jobs agenda to the empowerment of women through education; calls for the establishment of clear targets and monitoring for women’s recruitment into green jobs through apprenticeship programmes; calls for measures encouraging women’s participation in VET and life-long learning opportunities in green sectors;

38     Urges the Commission and the Member States to start applying a new, social and climate-friendly indicator on growth that includes non-economic aspects of wellbeing and sets its primary focus on issues related to sustainable development, such as gender equality, poverty reduction and lower GHG emissions;

39.    Calls on the Member States and the Commission to pursue all-green employment policies in close consultation with civil society;

40.    Calls on the Commission to adopt a Europe 2015-2020 strategy for gender equality that takes into account the Europe 2020 strategy’s employment rate targets for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

41.    Stresses the need for targeted action by public authorities and services to involve all labour market stakeholders, including employers' and employees' organisations, to bridge the skills gap; calls on the Member States and regional and local authorities to have mechanisms in place to train staff in employment authorities and services to mainstream skills for green employment in labour market policies and to develop the means of assessing the impact of such training; stresses the importance of European education institutions aligning their programmes with the needs of the green economy and the labour market in general;

42.    Calls on the Member States to put in place a regulatory environment  that encourages innovation in the green economy;

Policy coherence to fully develop the job potential of sustainable economies

43.    Calls on the Commission and the Member States to adopt ambitious, long-term and integrated regulatory, fiscal and financial frameworks for sustainable investment and to encourage innovation, thereby fully unlocking the employment potential of these changes; emphasises that policies should be developed in a framework of long-term horizons that includes targets as well as indicators to measure progress towards their achievement;

44.    Stresses that coordination across the Commission and across relevant ministries at national level is important in order to create a comprehensive, whole-of-government framework for change that is capable of devoting the required attention to the distributional effects of the transition;

45.    Notes that the success or failure of the Green Employment Initiative is dependent on the level of ambition of the Commission's binding targets to renewable energy and energy efficiency, and on investment in renewable energy technology and energy efficiency programmes committed to by the Member States;

46.    Stresses that the Commission and the Member States are responsible for consistent policies that promote renewable energy production and increased energy efficiency with a view to triggering local and regional development and creating quality local jobs; stresses that investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency can become one of the main sources of job creation in Europe in the coming years;

47.    Points out that territorial self-sufficiency in energy remains one of the EU’s long-term economic and energy policy goals; maintains, moreover, that the territorial dimension of investment must, without fail, be taken into account, given that it helps to achieve the EU’s territorial cohesion policy aims to connect cities and the countryside;

48.    Welcomes the Commission's inclusion of decent jobs in the EU negotiating mandate for the COP 21 Paris talks, building on the Cancun agreement of 2010 and subsequent initiatives; calls on the Commission to ensure that the 'just transition' agenda remains part of its negotiating position;

49.    Calls on the EU and the Member States to set mandatory energy-saving and efficiency targets, and to support white certificates as an instrument to facilitate the achievement of EU energy-saving targets; calls on the Member States to implement fully, and to enforce, the Energy Efficiency Directive and to remain committed to achieving, as a minimum, the 2030 energy efficiency targets;

50.    Supports EU commitments to pushing for a just global transition to an inclusive green economy in collaboration with other international partners;

51.    Calls on the Member States to fully respect and implement the new provisions of the revised EU legislation on public procurement, and to consider examining whether the introduction of environmental and social criteria in public procurement policies could boost job creation in the greener economy; stresses that remaining legal uncertainties related to use of the social and environmental clauses in public procurement could be clarified;

52.    Calls on the Commission to help revive the repairs sector, which would lead to the creation of new jobs that are by their very nature environmentally friendly;

53.    Calls on the Member States to support the contribution of public services to the just transition towards a sustainable economy, notably by proactively ensuring that services such as communications, energy, transport, waste and water management are delivered in a sustainable way;

54.    Expresses strong disappointment at the withdrawal of the circular economy legislative package, the provisions of which would have been expected to create up to 180 000 jobs in the EU waste management sector alone; calls on the Commission, therefore, while respecting the responsibilities of the Member States, to honour its commitment to proposing, as soon as possible, ambitious waste legislation to cover upstream reduction, new recycling targets, and redefinition of the criteria for calculating the quantity of material actually recycled;

55.    Calls on the Commission, moreover, to consider introducing criteria to provide incentives for companies which have a virtuous and environmentally sustainable waste disposal cycle;

56.    Recognises that linking sustainable agricultural production with the monitoring and protection of on-farm biodiversity and, subsequently, the use of smart labelling for agricultural products to mark their environmental impact, in order to stimulate consumer demand for biodiversity-friendly produce, represents a significant potential for green employment in EU rural areas;

57.    Notes that sustainable forest management has real potential to create jobs while actively contributing to climate change mitigation and the protection of biodiversity;

58.    Calls on the Commission to use the EU Semester and the review of the Europe 2020 strategy to support green job creation; calls on the Commission to issue country-specific recommendations that can contribute to higher employment and smaller ecological footprints, and calls for detailed independent studies on the costs and benefits of a shift in tax burdens (e.g. from labour to environmental taxation), as well as the phasing-out of subsidies by 2020;

59.    Stresses that such recommendations could include a shift from labour to other sources, and that such a tax shift should aim to change polluting behaviour, but must not have unwanted repercussions on social security systems or impact disproportionately on those on low incomes;

60.    Calls on the Commission and the Member States to phase out direct and indirect environmentally harmful subsidies including, but not limited to, those for fossil fuels; invites the Commission to develop models that can be implemented by Member States for shifting taxation from labour to environmental pollution, and to take into account the environmental impact of goods and services in the spirit of the polluter pays principle; calls on the Commission to issue country-specific recommendations to the Member States that can contribute to efforts to foster green employment and reduce ecological footprints; calls, furthermore, on the Commission to integrate in a proactive manner environmental and climate-related considerations into the European Semester in order to support green jobs creation;

61.    Invites the Member States to introduce targeted subsidies and/or tax exemptions for start-ups, and for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, that provide goods and services offering high environmental added value, including overall reduced carbon content;

62.    Calls on the Commission and the Member States to show greater coherence and cohesion in their policies and to make more substantial political commitments at the highest level in related areas such as tax on capital and corporate gains, tax on financial transactions and the fight against tax fraud and tax evasion;

63.    Calls on the Commission to renew its commitment to the Europe 2020 strategy and to issue its mid-term review without delay and at the latest by 2015; calls on the Commission to reconfirm the targets in the European Semester, taking into account the scoreboard for macroeconomic imbalances and the review of the Europe 2020 strategy; calls on the Commission to propose more ambitious social and environmental targets for 2030 and 2050; stresses that accurate, methodologically grounded and shared monitoring of green jobs could also help Member States in assessing the effectiveness of their environmental and labour policies, and strengthen the tools developed at European level to track the progress of, and monitor, the Employment Guidelines under Europe 2020;

64.    Stresses the opportunities that the 2030 Climate and Energy package provides in job creation and the future role that environmental legislation will play in achieving the EU’s long-term environmental goals and in creating jobs and green growth;

65.    Calls on the Commission to look upon innovation as the cornerstone of Europe's industry and to develop active strategies to ensure that social transitions are well managed and benefits are spread across all of Europe; calls on the Commission and the Member States to support the emergence of new supply chains and industry networks in resource efficiency, goods and services through a sustainable industrial policy and market transformation incentives;

66.    Underlines the need for the Member States to prepare their economies for a low-carbon, resource- and energy-efficient future, while taking account of the possible risk of job relocation and carbon leakage due to the impact of climate policies;

67.    Calls on the Commission and the Member States to step up international efforts to create a global environmental policy that can limit the damage caused by offshoring of industrial production outside the EU and by carbon leakage;

68.    Calls on the Commission to present its proposal to reform the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) as soon as possible, taking into account the need to protect industries exposed to a significant risk of ‘carbon leakage’;

69.    Calls on the Commission to address green employment in the implementation of the Energy Union;

Investing in sustainable job creation

70.    Highlights the fact that there is a need to apply the right mix of supply- and demand-side interventions, which comes from combining job creation with matching active labour-market policies, specific to the needs of different local labour markets;

71.    Calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote, including in the framework of the European Fund for Strategic Investments, quality investments geared towards generating societal and economic benefits such as sustainable quality jobs, gender equality, quality education and innovation to promote the green transition and to fight energy poverty; calls on the Commission and the Member States to focus investment in areas with positive labour market impact with the aims of creating sustainable jobs with full social protection and fighting unemployment; stresses that the projects financed shall contribute to the EU 2020 strategy in a measurable way; points out, in this context, that job creation in the green sectors has remained positive throughout the recession;

72.    Highlights the fact that investing in energy efficiency can promote local job creation and local economic development and reduce energy poverty, and that ensuring energy efficiency in buildings is the most cost-effective way of offering long-term solutions to energy poverty, which affects some 125 million people in Europe, and an important element in ensuring more efficient use of European energy and creating green jobs; reiterates that ensuring the safety of buildings is also crucial in this regard; invites the Commission to present its ‘Smart Financing for Smart Buildings’ initiative as soon as possible;

73.    Recommends that climate, renewable energy and energy efficiency targets should be considered investment targets and key principles for political action;

74.    Warns against supporting activities that carry adverse environmental and social impacts as they undermine the policy coherence necessary to maximise the employment potential of green jobs;

75.    Recommends that quality investment in key public services such as communications, energy, transport, waste and water management are targeted in order to support sustainable public-procurement procedures and the mainstreaming of green skills;

76.    Calls on the Member States to make full use of the possibilities under the legal framework for the European Structural and Investment Funds and other sources of EU funding to promote sustainable projects that foster green employment, and to make EU funding and financial instruments as easily accessible as possible for local authorities, with clear, straightforward rules and reachable minimum funding thresholds;

77.    Encourages the Commission and the Member States to use the 2016 post-electoral revision of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) as an opportunity to promote the greener transition of our economies;

78.    Notes that ESF support is available to help support green economic and employment growth and encourages national governments and the relevant national services to consider using this financing more actively in order to promote the creation of economically justified and economically sustainable green jobs;

79.    Notes that some Member States have made considerable progress in the greening of the economy, and encourages the Union and the Member States to foster the sharing of ideas, knowledge, experience, and best practices in this area so as to ensure a smooth transition;

80.    Urges the Member States and the private sector to use instruments such as Ecodesign, Ecolabel, EMAS and green public procurement (GPP), as they can support the green economy and thus contribute to the creation of green jobs; calls on the Commission to provide guidance tools to create favourable market conditions for the full adoption of these voluntary instruments;

81.    Calls on the Member States to focus greater attention on the implementation of environmental management and eco-auditing systems based on the European standard (ISO 14000);

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

82.    Supports the objectives of the Green Action Plan for SMEs and the SME-oriented actions, including the establishment of a European Resource Efficiency Excellence Centre to advise and assist SMEs seeking to improve their resource-efficiency performance, to support green entrepreneurship, to exploit opportunities for greener value chains and to facilitate market access for green SMEs and microenterprises; considers that awareness-raising activities and technical assistance are key to active participation by SMEs in the circular economy;

83.    Stresses the need to promote: women’s entrepreneurship in the green economy; more collaborative business models such as cooperatives and social enterprises, as well as women farmers and family farms; access to microfinance for women; the creation of green jobs in public services; and pilot projects on gender-related quality criteria for companies in the context of public procurement;

84.    Recalls that SMEs have enormous potential for creating employment, in particular youth employment, and promoting a dual system of vocational training and apprenticeship schemes;

85.    Recognises that the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) could help micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises to engage in activities involving a high degree of environmental and social innovation;

86.    Notes that Eurobarometer data on green work in SMEs show that saving energy and reducing waste and the use of raw materials have become economically advantageous;

87.    Calls on the Commission to stimulate new business models, such as cooperative enterprises, for increasing the efficiency of production and distribution processes, adopting innovative solutions to save resources and offering more sustainable products and services;

88.    Points out that SMEs can only create growth and jobs if favourable incentivising opportunities are also available through the green economy;

89.    Calls on the Commission to ensure that green incentives for SMEs have a meaningful impact where they are most needed;

90.    Notes that SMEs and microenterprises are key drivers of job creation in Europe; stresses that SMEs  and microenterprises face particular challenges when exploiting the job opportunities of a green transition, in particular regarding access to finance, training and bridging skills gaps; calls on the Commission and the Member States to take ambitious action to provide support to facilitate green job creation in SMEs and microenterprises, including targeted information, awareness raising, technical assistance and access to finance and training measures;

91.    Points out that a greener value chain, which involves re-manufacturing, repair, maintenance, recycling and eco-design, can provide considerable business opportunities for many SMEs;

92.    Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission, and to the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0584.

(2)

OJ C 251E, 31.8.2013, p. 75.

(3)

OJ C 308E, 20.10.2011, p. 6.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

The Commission’s Green Employment Initiative(1) was published in July 2014, together with the Green Action Plan for SMEs(2) (also covered in this report) and the Communication on the Circular Economy.

The Initiative aims to build on the 2012 Staff Working Document ‘Exploring the employment potential of Green Growth(3) - part of the Employment Package - which highlighted that up to 20 million jobs could be created by 2020 in the green economy and takes account of the Employment Guidelines, which call on Member States to: ...foster job creation, including in the areas of care and green employment.(4)

There is an issue as to how to define what is meant by ‘green’ jobs, particularly when trying to track their development for statistical purposes. The ILO says that green jobs are decent jobs that:

–Reduce consumption of energy and raw materials

–Limit greenhouse gas emissions

–Minimise waste and pollution

–Protect and restore ecosystems

It was put to your Rapporteur by a number of contributors to this report, including UEAPME and Professor Paul Ekins of UCL that it would be more helpful to think within an overall context of ‘greening the economy’ as being more appropriate in terms of products, processes and services and that this needs to be mainstreamed in all policies: fiscal, employment, labour market, education and training, research, innovation, climate and energy policy.

The green economy takes as its background a number of challenges outlined by the Commission: ‘The inefficient use of resources, unsustainable pressure on the environment and climate change as well as social exclusion and inequalities...’(5) social pressures well-known to this Committee, as is that of high unemployment. These challenges will obviously affect the world of work. For example, the major supermarket chain, ASDA estimates that 95% of its fresh produce is at risk from climate change, one third at serious risk(6).

The need to mainstream thinking on the green economy was reflected in a key demand put to your Rapporteur by many contributors: the need for a coherent, comprehensive policy framework that would provide a predictable environment for training and investment. Inconsistent policy and incentives were frequently cited as blocking progress, restricting the employment potential. Such policy also has to look long-term: buildings erected now could stand for the next fifty years so need to meet the highest standards of energy efficiency and sustainable construction; investment in major renewable energy installation needs to look beyond 2020 etc.

Three key drivers of job creation, known to be effective, were identified by Professor Ekins and others and have been proposed by both Commission and Parliament at times, but with inadequate follow-through:

•   Environmental tax reform - shifting the tax burden from employment to environmental costs, but ensuring it is not regressive in effect. This could be further enhanced through the ongoing use of the Semester process and national recommendations. In order to be consistent, there should also be efforts made to remove counterproductive subsidies which support polluting or carbon intensive sectors

•   Energy and resource efficiency. The EP has consistently highlighted the potential in this area, not least in addressing energy efficiency while combatting fuel poverty through a comprehensive insulation programme(7). Estimates for the employment effect of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive(8) pointed to the creation of a possible 2 million jobs, many of which would, by definition, not be off-shored and the Energy Efficiency Directive added further impetus. However, the effects can only be felt if the Directives are effectively implemented (and that may require stronger enforcement mechanisms) and backed by the necessary investment and training. There is considerable demand for improved resource efficiency: UEAPME pointed to Eurobarometer data showing that 93% of SMEs are taking at least one action to be more resource efficient(9).

•   Developing the supply chain, so that the EU benefits from all stages in terms of employment and economically. There is a clear need for an industrial strategy which directs and encourages investment in, for example the renewables industry, which could bring more employment to rural and former industrial areas. Supply chain development is also necessary to drive change and ensure that all parts of a business are able to respond to challenges. Many companies do not engage with supply chains on emissions, climate change-proofing or on resource efficiency.

In bringing about this transition to a green economy, workforce engagement is crucial. Some sectors will undergo considerable change, even decline, and managing that change will be more positive with the provision of effective support, retraining and possible change of production. EU Funds have an important role to play here if they are used efficiently. At the sectoral level, European Works Councils have an important role in managing change. Workforce participation is also about helping to create opportunities. ‘Green reps’, the equivalent of health and safety reps can be useful in leading awareness and change, as demonstrated in the TUC Report, ‘The Union effect’.(10)PHS Group, for example, has established a network of environmental champions, equipped with the right skills and expertise, as well as the opportunity to gain accreditation for those skills. They have helped reduce lighting costs and made significant progress in recycling and recovering materials.

Workforce engagement is also important because work should be decent work: fairly paid, with good working conditions and a sound health and safety ethos. Industrial relations in some green sectors are rather weakly developed at both employer and employee levels and new sectoral social dialogue should be encouraged. The revised Health and Safety Strategy should take account of new or changing risks in developing sectors.

When companies want or need to take action to make their business more sustainable, many are not confident about managing either risk or the change process or may discover that they cannot find workers with the necessary skills. The Commission Communication makes a number of positive proposals and we need a comprehensive approach, which instils an appreciation of the need to understand why sustainability matters to business and to society as a whole. There needs to be a general awareness of the principles of sustainability at the school level and there is still a lack of students specialising in STEM skills, especially girls, which is an ongoing problem. We heard from the UK’s NUS that 60% of first year university students surveyed are interested in learning more about sustainability, regardless of their course of study. This interest needs to be developed and generic skills instilled if we are to mainstream green work: learners are willing to collaborate in designing appropriate courses. As the NUS pointed out, if we are looking for leadership on these issues, 80% of the world’s leaders have been to university - what happens there can shape the future.

There is also much that can be done at the sectoral level, as EUROFER’s ‘GreenVET’ project has shown.(11) By providing in-depth training about the legislative and technical context (including resource efficiency) within which the steel industry works it is hoped that such accredited training will allow greater mobility within the sector and a transference of expertise. We should also be looking to validate formal and non-formal learning outcomes as well as the recognition of validation as a tool to bridge the gap between labour market demands and available skills – as was pointed out to your Rapporteur, many workers gain skills through ‘doing’ but these are never formally recognised, which becomes a barrier to promotion. Skills Councils can play an important part in ensuring that the curricula for sectoral and specific skills are updated, and also respond to market developments. But there is a need for an overarching Skills Roadmap and all actors need to be involved, from careers advisers, employment services (the European PES network can make an important contribution) through to training providers (including local authorities), social partners and government.

However, training needs to be accessible, affordable and available throughout an individual’s working life. Skills gaps are not only occurring at entry level but often at the level of project management, as in building engineers for example. The EWEA considers there is currently a skills gap that could lead to a shortfall of some 15,000 skilled workers by 2030. The skills shortage is likely to be greatest in operations and maintenance roles, which is hindering local and regional job creation in rural areas with wind farms - areas that often lack employment opportunities. It takes time to create an experienced workforce.

We could also build-in a more dynamic approach to those currently unemployed through innovative approaches: unemployed construction workers could be paid to replace workers attending training courses; graduates with sustainability skills could be placed for a period of time (on a paid basis) with companies or organisations wanting to develop their sustainability practices: such a scheme in the UK has created over 50 jobs so far as organisations have decided to keep their placement staff.

However, investment and appropriate incentives in line with a comprehensive and stable policy environment are crucial if we are to see a genuine green economy rather than the current patchwork of initiatives. The new EFSI offers another opportunity for such targeted, quality investment based on the partnership principle, as does intelligent use of other EU funding as set out in the Commission Communication: we know that building renovation offers a good return in terms of jobs for investment as well as energy saved. This is not to forget that other sectors, such as social care, are also in need of investment in decent work. As ENSIE and RREUSE pointed out, the social economy has also demonstrated that it can provide a considerable number of jobs in repair and re-use and contribute to social inclusion. Procurement policy also has a role to play in terms of using sustainable (green and social) clauses for responsible purchasing. The UK’s Social Value Act offers an interesting example(12).

Investment is also needed to drive the necessary innovation in an EU industrial policy, designed to make the EU the most resource-efficient economy in the world, while developing active strategies to ensure social transitions are well-managed with benefits spread within the EU.

SMEs can face particular difficulty in terms of transition. The OECD considers that their adaptation to environmentally sustainable practices, in both manufacturing and services, is a key to a successful transition but considers that it is of concern that most SMEs appear to have very little awareness about the future needs for green skills and their investments in green training are very limited(13). These difficulties need a specific response, building on the Green Action Plan for SMEs starting from targeted information and awareness raising, through appropriate assistance to move to greener products and processes as well effective incentives. A comprehensive supply chain approach also has a role to play, where scale can be used to provide training and other benefits. Regional and local authorities also have a role in such support as do financial institutions.

It is clear that the world of work is already being affected by major global trends but that the EU response so far has not resulted in a comprehensive response. To make sure we can maintain and extend employment opportunities and job creation, we need a comprehensive, joined-up response from the policy level to core training. Time is of the essence as we are losing opportunities now to other parts of the world and failing to fully equip our workforce for the challenges we already face. The Commission Communication provides some of the answers but it will require all EU Institutions to play their part if we are to really make the transition necessary.

(1)

Green Employment Initiative: tapping into the potential of the green economy COM (2014) 446 final

(2)

Commission communication ‘Green action plan for SMEs’ COM(2014)440

(3)

Commission staff working document ‘Exploiting the employment potential of green growth’ SWD(2012) 92 final

(4)

Council Decision 2010/707/EU of 21 October 2010 on guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States [Official Journal L of 24.11.2010].

(5)

Green Employment Initiative: tapping into the potential of the green economy COM (2014) 446 final

(6)

Preparing for the Perfect Storm - skills for s sustainable economy, IEMA, 2015.

(7)

European Parliament resolution of 11 June 2013 on social housing in the European Union (2012/2293(INI))

(8)

Directive 2010/31/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 May 2010 on the energy performance of buildings

(9)

Flash Eurobarometer 381 -2014

(10)

The Union Effect - greening the workplace, TUC https://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/The_Union_Effect_Greening_The_Workplace_Covers_2014_All.pdf

(11)

http://www.gt-vet.com/?page_id=18

(12)

Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2012/3/enacted

(13)

The jobs potential of a shift towards a low-carbon economy, OECD


OPINION of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (7.5.2015)

for the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs

on the Green Employment Initiative: tapping into the job creation potential of the green economy

(2014/2238(INI))

Rapporteur: Eleonora Evi

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety calls on the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1.  Reiterates the need to move towards a low carbon economy; underlines the fact that the greening of EU economies can contribute to long term, sustainable and inclusive growth;

2.  Stresses that two-thirds of the services provided by nature, including fertile land, clean water and air, are in decline, and global warming and biodiversity loss are close to the limits beyond which irreversible impacts on our societies and the natural environment cannot be prevented;

3.  Points out that continuous economic growth is possible only if it takes into account the limitations of the environment; highlights, in this context, the fact that a green and circular economy can provide solutions for the environment as well as for the economy and for society in general;

4.  Stresses that a comprehensive policy approach is needed in order to respond to these challenges, build sustainable, crisis-resilient European economies and fully tap into the job potential of a green transition of our economies; calls on the Commission and the Member States to adopt ambitious and integrated regulatory, fiscal and financial frameworks to ensure sustainable investment, encourage sustainable innovation and, thereby, fully unlock the employment potential of the green transition;

5.  Highlights the fact that full implementation of environmental legislation, as well as the improvement of environmental integration and policy coherence across different sectorial polices in the EU, are essential for a full deployment of the potential linked to the green economy and therefore for the creation of green jobs;

6.  Notes that in its 2015 report the European Environment Agency points out that current measures are insufficient to achieve aims related to conserving biodiversity, reducing the use of fossil fuels, and combating climate change and averting its impact on human health and the quality of the environment;

7.  Emphasises that a transition towards sustainable societies and economies, including sustainable patterns of consumption and production, generates the potential to create new green jobs, and transform existing employment into green jobs, in almost all sectors and across the entire value chain – from research to production, distribution and servicing – in new green high-tech sectors such as renewable energies as well as in traditional industries such as manufacturing and construction, agriculture and fisheries, and service sectors such as tourism, catering, transport and education; stresses that this job potential provides opportunities for both a highly skilled and a low-skilled workforce;

8.  Recognises that the green transition will, on balance, have a positive impact on employment, reflecting the fact that sustainable economic activities, such as energy savings and organic farming, are more labour-intensive than the activities they replace;

9.  Notes that the green transition of our economies bears significant potential to create local jobs that cannot be offshored, including in sectors hit by the economic crisis, such as by pursuing energy efficiency in the construction sector;

10. Notes that, according to the European Environment Agency, the green goods and services sector grew by more than 50 % between 2000 and 2011, generating over 1.3 million jobs that have benefited the EU’s export balance and its economic competitiveness;

11. Points out that Member States may derogate from the rules governing State aid in order to pursue green policies;

12. Urges the Member States and the private sector to use instruments such as Ecodesign, Ecolabel, EMAS and green public procurement (GPP), as they can support the green economy and thus contribute to the creation of green jobs; calls on the Commission to provide guidance tools to create favourable market condition for the full adoption of these voluntary instruments;

13. Calls on the Member States to focus greater attention on the implementation of environmental management and eco-auditing systems based on the European standard (ISO 14000);

14. Stresses the significant employment potential of the circular economy; highlights the fact that improving resource efficiency could create between 1.4 and 2.8 million jobs in Europe, and that transitioning to an economy based on the durability and reparability of products can create jobs along the whole product lifecycle in the sectors of maintenance, repair, upgrade and reuse; emphasises that waste prevention, ecodesign, reuse and similar measures could bring net savings of EUR 600 billion, or 8 % of annual turnover, for businesses in the EU, while reducing total annual greenhouse gas emissions by 2-4 %;

15. Highlights the fact that implementing existing legislation on waste prevention and management could create more than 400 000 green jobs; recalls that an additional 180 000 green jobs would have been created by the revision of the Waste Directives that regrettably has been withdrawn by the Commission; stresses that implementing energy efficiency and saving measures could create up to 2 million green jobs, and that 3 million more could be created in the renewable energies sector;

16. Calls on the Commission to honour its commitment to submit, before the end of 2015, a new proposal for the revision of EU waste legislation based on a holistic approach that: addresses entire product lifecycles, including waste prevention; setting EU resource efficiency targets that limit resources and energy consumption, and a corresponding lead indicator; and promotes the ecodesign of products in order to facilitate reuse and recycling, taking the full product cycle into account with the aim of ensuring sustainable materials management; stresses the need to keep recycling targets that are at least as ambitious as those of the withdrawn proposal; calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote a market for secondary raw materials after recycling;

17. Notes that more than 14 million jobs in Europe depend directly on ecosystems and biodiversity, including forestry, agriculture and fisheries; emphasises that greening these sectors would increase the number of people in work and foster the resilience of the sectors in order to promote sustainable employment; notes that investing in green infrastructure provides many social, economic and environmental benefits, including job creation;

18. Calls on the Member States to develop programmes that protect and sustain the environment, to prevent and remedy hydrogeological instability, to develop green infrastructures and to fully take into account the value of natural capital and eco-system services in the decision-making process; stresses the need to support sustainable development at the local and regional level, as this is a key factor for green employment;

19. Recognises that linking sustainable agricultural production with the monitoring and protection of on-farm biodiversity and, subsequently, the use of smart labelling for agricultural products to mark their environmental impact, in order to stimulate consumer demand for biodiversity-friendly produce, represents a significant potential for green employment in EU rural areas;

20. Notes that sustainable forest management has real potential to create jobs while actively contributing to climate change mitigation and the protection of biodiversity;

21. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to phase out direct and indirect environmentally harmful subsidies including, but not limited to, those for fossil fuels; invites the Commission to develop models that can be implemented by Member States for shifting taxation from labour to environmental pollution, and to take into account the environmental impact of goods and services in the spirit of the polluter pays principle; calls on the Commission to issue country-specific recommendations to the Member States that can contribute to efforts to foster green employment and reduce ecological footprints; calls, furthermore, on the Commission to integrate in a proactive manner environmental and climate-related considerations into the European Semester in order to support green jobs creation;

22. Invites the Member States to introduce targeted subsidies and/or tax exemptions for start-ups, and for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, that provide goods and services offering high environmental added value, including overall reduced carbon content;

23. Stresses the opportunities that the 2030 Climate and Energy package provides in job creation and the future role that environmental legislation will play in achieving the EU’s long-term environmental goals and in creating jobs and green growth;

24. Stresses that policies should be long-term and include ambitious, binding targets for resource efficiency, greenhouse gas reductions, renewable energies and energy savings, as well as indicators for measuring progress towards their achievement; stresses that policies should aim at minimising external environmental and societal costs and establish an appropriate price for greenhouse gas emissions;

25. Underlines the need for the Member States to prepare their economies for a low-carbon, resource- and energy-efficient future, while taking account of the possible risk of job relocation and carbon leakage due to the impact of climate policies;

26. Calls on the Commission to present its proposal to reform the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) as soon as possible, taking into account the need to protect industries exposed to a significant risk of ‘carbon leakage’;

27. Calls on the Member States to invest part of the proceeds from auctions of ETS greenhouse gas emission allowances with a view to establishing policies to assist climate change adaptation and protect biodiversity and sensitive habitats, and, in so doing, to generating green employment;

28. Calls on the Commission to address green employment in the implementation of the Energy Union;

29. Calls on the EU and the Member States to set mandatory energy-saving and efficiency targets, and to support white certificates as an instrument to facilitate the achievement of EU energy saving targets; calls on the Member States to implement fully, and to enforce, the Energy Efficiency Directive and to remain committed to achieve, at least, the 2030 energy efficiency targets;

30. Calls on the Member States to develop and implement ambitious modernisation plans for buildings in order to improve energy efficiency while alleviating the economic crisis that has hit the construction sector, and to achieve the EU target of nearly zero-energy consumption for all new buildings; calls, in this context, on the Member States to develop financing mechanisms for stimulating energy efficiency investments; invites the Commission to present its initiative ‘Smart Financing for Smart Buildings’ as soon as possible;

31. Calls on the Member States to make more efficient use of European funds, such as by financing low-interest revolving funds for promoting investments in renewable energy, energy savings and efficiency, waste and water management, green infrastructure, air quality, the restoration and preservation of biodiversity, and research and development programmes in innovative clean technologies;

32. Calls on the Member States to exploit fully the wide range of EU funds and available financial instruments – such as the European Structural and Investments Funds (ESIF), and the leverage potentiality that synergies between them can foster – to develop the green employment potential; urges the Commission and the Member States to prioritise the financing of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises through EFSI investments that support the development of the circular and green economy and the creation of green and sustainable jobs; calls on the Commission and the Member States to use the 2016 post-electoral revision of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) to promote the transition to a green economy;

33. Recognises that SMEs play a key role in the transition to a green economy and in the creation of green jobs; supports the objectives of the Green Action Plan for SMEs and its SME-oriented actions to improve resource efficiency, support green entrepreneurship, exploit opportunities for greener value chains and facilitate market access for green SMEs;

34. Recognises that the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) could help micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises to engage in activities involving a high degree of environmental and social innovation;

35. Notes that Eurobarometer data on green work in SMEs show that saving energy and reducing waste and the use of raw materials have become economically advantageous;

36. Calls on the Commission to stimulate new business models, such as cooperative enterprises, for increasing the efficiency of production and distribution processes, adopting innovative solutions to save resources and offering more sustainable products and services;

37. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to set up data banks on training courses for developing green skills among employees, and on job offers, and to share best practices on green employment in order to increase the opportunities for young people, especially in regions where the transition to a sustainable economy is particularly challenging; calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote adequate information campaigns on green employment;

38. Urges the Commission to lay down a framework for the implementation of the aforementioned measures with a view to bringing about coherent green job creation within the EU.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

6.5.2015

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

61

7

0

Members present for the final vote

Marco Affronte, Margrete Auken, Pilar Ayuso, Zoltán Balczó, Catherine Bearder, Ivo Belet, Biljana Borzan, Lynn Boylan, Cristian-Silviu Bușoi, Nessa Childers, Birgit Collin-Langen, Mireille D’Ornano, Miriam Dalli, Angélique Delahaye, Jørn Dohrmann, Ian Duncan, Stefan Eck, Bas Eickhout, Eleonora Evi, José Inácio Faria, Karl-Heinz Florenz, Francesc Gambús, Iratxe García Pérez, Elisabetta Gardini, Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, Jens Gieseke, Sylvie Goddyn, Françoise Grossetête, Andrzej Grzyb, Jytte Guteland, György Hölvényi, Anneli Jäätteenmäki, Jean-François Jalkh, Josu Juaristi Abaunz, Karin Kadenbach, Kateřina Konečná, Giovanni La Via, Peter Liese, Norbert Lins, Valentinas Mazuronis, Susanne Melior, Miroslav Mikolášik, Massimo Paolucci, Gilles Pargneaux, Piernicola Pedicini, Pavel Poc, Marcus Pretzell, Frédérique Ries, Michèle Rivasi, Daciana Octavia Sârbu, Annie Schreijer-Pierik, Davor Škrlec, Dubravka Šuica, Tibor Szanyi, Claudiu Ciprian Tănăsescu, Damiano Zoffoli

Substitutes present for the final vote

Renata Briano, Nicola Caputo, Mark Demesmaeker, Jan Huitema, Merja Kyllönen, James Nicholson, Aldo Patriciello, Marijana Petir, Gabriele Preuß, Bart Staes

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Arne Gericke, Catherine Stihler


OPINION of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (7.5.2015)

for the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs

on the Green Employment Initiative: tapping into the job creation potential of the green economy

(2014/2238(INI))

Rapporteur: Monika Vana

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality calls on the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

–   having regard to Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and Article 8 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–   having regard to Article 23 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–   having regard to its resolution of 11 September 2012 on the role of women in the green economy(1),

A. whereas the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) broadly describe a green job as any decent job that contributes to preserving or restoring the quality of the environment, whether it is in agriculture, industry, services or administration, and whereas the concept is still difficult to define precisely;

B.  whereas a gender perspective must be linked with the ILO’s decent work agenda;

C. whereas the Europe 2020 strategy is the main EU policy under which the goal of sustainable growth goes beyond climate change and covers a wider range of issues, seeking to transform the EU economy along a smart, green (ecological) line; whereas creating green jobs for women will strengthen efforts to reach the Europe 2020 targets, specifically in the fight against climate change and against poverty and social exclusion, and the pursuit of an employment rate of at least 75 %;

D. whereas fulfilment of the Europe 2020 strategy objectives, and the implementation of transitional guidelines and policies for a green economy, have an impact on the employment market, while the role of women in green employment is underestimated and often ignored and the absence of a gender-equality perspective in environmental policies increases gender inequality;

E.  whereas women must benefit equally from the creation of green jobs, and the glass ceiling in the green economy must be broken, and whereas equal opportunities should be guaranteed when new jobs, including green jobs, are created;

F.  whereas women and girls are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and entrepreneurship education at all levels, all of which are relevant to advancement in the area of green skills and green jobs; whereas education must be seen as an investment in individuals, and in women in particular, at every stage in their lives; whereas the participation of women in STEM education fields is often hampered by gender stereotypes and gendered cultures;

G. whereas green jobs are viewed as a dynamic concept evolving in line with more environmentally friendly technological progress and investment, including through the Commission’s investment plan and the European Structural and Investment Funds, and must not benefit only highly qualified workers;

H. whereas women are disproportionately hit by the crises and by austerity policies, and green jobs have shown to be more crisis-resistant than others;

I.   whereas creating green jobs is necessary but not sufficient, and there is the need for a transition to a green and sustainable economy, e.g. through better management of natural resources, use of economic instruments beneficial to the environment, provision of support to innovations and to improved policies in agriculture, water and waste, and enhanced sustainable consumption and production;

J.   whereas the role of civil society is crucial in the transition to a green economy as well as in the fight for gender equality;

K. whereas more attention should be given to green employment in rural areas by providing support to women farmers and family farms in order to secure their income, through green growth, and to enable them to remain living in villages as food producers and protectors of the environment;

1.  Considers that the ILO and UNEP definition of green jobs should be taken as a basis by the EU, since green jobs need to pair concerns such as energy efficiency and low emissions with traditional labour concerns, given that women often suffer from lower wages for equal skills and responsibilities and unfavourable working conditions; however, it should not be limited to agriculture, industry, services and administration, but include all areas of work;

2.  Recognises the urgent need for an international agreement regarding a common definition of the green economy, based on the pillars of both social and ecological sustainability; emphasises the significant role of the civil society, especially social movements, environmental organisations, and women’s rights organisations, when establishing descriptions of aims and objectives of the green economy;

3.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that data collection is carried out in all green sectors, including those that are currently neglected, such as public transport and the retail sector; asks the Commission, while providing support to national statistical offices and Public Employment Services (PES), and while reinforcing the use of quantitative modelling tools, to incorporate a gender equality perspective in data collection on all green employment sectors;

4.  Asks the Commission to include a gender perspective in the development of new data collection, disaggregation and analysis, such as work carried out with the econometrical tool FIDELIO, or with stakeholders such as the International Conference of Labour Statisticians;

5.  Asks the Commission to include a gender perspective in its work with PES and the EU Skills Panorama to identify and bridge green skills gaps in labour markets; stresses that emphasis must be placed on identifying and closing gender skills gaps in green sectors;

6.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to start applying a new, social and climate-friendly indicator on growth that includes non-economic aspects of wellbeing and sets its primarily focus on issues related to sustainable development, such as gender equality, poverty reduction and lower GHG emissions;

7.  Asks the Commission to initiate research on gender equality in relation to green employment and the ecological transformation of the economy, and on women’s contribution to the development of green innovations, services and products;

8.  Invites the Commission, the Member States the and regional and local authorities systematically to include a gender equality perspective in the definition, implementation and monitoring of green job creation policies at all levels, with a view to ensuring that equal opportunities are being guaranteed, taking into account the challenges of green job creation in rural areas; encourages the Member States and the regional and local authorities to make further efforts to enable women to participate fully in policy formulation, decision-making and the implementation of a green employment strategy that includes green skills;

9.  Calls on the Commission to promote gender equality as a key issue when designing and negotiating on future regulations and programmes for the EU structural funds (ESF, ERDF, CAP), especially in the framework of measures related to the transformation towards a green economy;

10. Asks the Commission to open a public debate on, and to promote the concept of ‘education for sustainable development’, with special emphasis on the education of girls and women; calls on the Member States and the Commission to promote policies to encourage higher participation of women in education in STEM subjects and entrepreneurship, and to connect the green jobs agenda to the empowerment of women through education; calls for the establishment of clear targets and monitoring for women’s recruitment into green jobs through apprenticeship programmes; calls for measures encouraging women’s participation in vocational education and training (VET) and life-long learning opportunities in green sectors;

11. Stresses the need to promote: women’s entrepreneurship in the green economy; more collaborative business models such as cooperatives and social enterprises, as well as women farmers and family farms; access to microfinance for women; the creation of green jobs in public services; and pilot projects on gender-related quality criteria for companies in the context of public procurement;

12. Calls on the Commission, the Member States and the regional and local authorities to pursue an active labour market policy for women in the field of green employment;

13. Calls on the Member States and the Commission to pursue all-green employment policies in close consultation with civil society;

14. Calls on the Member States and the Commission to establish gender mainstreaming mechanisms in environmental policies at international, national and regional levels;

15. Calls on the Commission to promote a combination of ecological, economic, gender equality and labour market policies with a view to enhancing new skills in accordance with the new demands of a market in transition towards a green economy;

16. Calls on the Member States and the Commission to ensure the creation of high-quality green jobs with a high level of social protection for women; asks the Member States and the Commission to encourage the unionisation of women, also in green sectors, and a clear voice for women in trade unions and in the social dialogue;

17. Calls on the Commission to adopt a Europe 2015-2020 strategy for gender equality that takes into account the Europe 2020 strategy’s employment rate targets for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

6.5.2015

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

31

0

2

Members present for the final vote

Daniela Aiuto, Maria Arena, Catherine Bearder, Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, Viorica Dăncilă, Iratxe García Pérez, Anna Hedh, Mary Honeyball, Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio, Elisabeth Köstinger, Agnieszka Kozłowska-Rajewicz, Angelika Mlinar, Angelika Niebler, Maria Noichl, Marijana Petir, Terry Reintke, Liliana Rodrigues, Jordi Sebastià, Michaela Šojdrová, Ángela Vallina, Beatrix von Storch, Anna Záborská, Jana Žitňanská, Inês Cristina Zuber

Substitutes present for the final vote

Stefan Eck, Constance Le Grip, Georg Mayer, Sirpa Pietikäinen, Monika Vana, Julie Ward

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Isabella Adinolfi

(1)

OJ C 353 E, 3.12.2013, p. 38.


RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

16.6.2015

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

41

7

0

Members present for the final vote

Laura Agea, Guillaume Balas, Mara Bizzotto, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Enrique Calvet Chambon, David Casa, Jane Collins, Martina Dlabajová, Lampros Fountoulis, Elena Gentile, Marian Harkin, Danuta Jazłowiecka, Rina Ronja Kari, Jan Keller, Jean Lambert, Jérôme Lavrilleux, Patrick Le Hyaric, Verónica Lope Fontagné, Javi López, Thomas Mann, Dominique Martin, Anthea McIntyre, Elisabeth Morin-Chartier, Emilian Pavel, Georgi Pirinski, Terry Reintke, Sofia Ribeiro, Maria João Rodrigues, Anne Sander, Sven Schulze, Siôn Simon, Jutta Steinruck, Romana Tomc, Ulrike Trebesius, Marita Ulvskog, Renate Weber, Tatjana Ždanoka

Substitutes present for the final vote

Georges Bach, Amjad Bashir, Heinz K. Becker, Deirdre Clune, Sergio Gutiérrez Prieto, Csaba Sógor, Helga Stevens, Neoklis Sylikiotis, Ivo Vajgl

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Josef Weidenholzer, Marco Zanni

Last updated: 23 June 2015Legal notice