Sustainable Growth

Green Jobs - An estimate of direct employment potential of a greening South African economy

  • Year: 2011
  • Organisation: IDC; BSA; TIPS
  • Publication Author(s): Jorge Maia; Thierry Giordano

Joint report from Industrial Development Corporation, Development Bank of Southern Africa and TIPS

In its recent green economy study, UNEP9 concluded that environmental sustainability and economic progress are not opposing forces and that significant benefits will flow from the greening of the world's economies. Greening generates increases in wealth, measured in classical terms of higher growth in gross domestic product (GDP) – even in poorer or developing countries – as well as in the form of ecological gains due to positive impacts on the natural capital of ecosystems and biodiversity. An important synergy exists between poverty eradication (ensuring food supply, water, energy and health, as well as support to subsistence farmers) and enhanced conservation of natural capital.

The green economy could be an extremely important trigger and lever for enhancing a country's growth potential and redirecting its development trajectory in the 21st century. A burgeoning green economy will reflect a clear expansion of productive capacity and service delivery across many existing areas of economic activity, and the introduction of numerous new activities in the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors.

This should be evidenced by substantial investment activity in conventional and non-traditional activities, meaningful employment creation, sustaining competitiveness in a world that is increasingly determined to address adverse climate change trends, and by opportunities for export trade, among others.

The imperative of stabilising greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere within particular boundaries, so as to contain atmospheric warming trends and other associated forms of climate change, is leading to discernible behavioural change in societies around the world, and to the consideration of (or a commitment to) specific national targets.

On top of this, there is a “growing threat of increasing 'eco-protectionism' from advanced industrial countries in the form of tariff and non-tariff measures such as carbon taxes and restrictive standards”. Such trends are proving to be a powerful force for the evolution of a green economy to protect biodiversity, address adverse climate change trends, pollution and unsustainable resource use.