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All about green jobs

Working to reduce the environmental impact 

Green jobs represent a magnificent opportunity to revitalize the job market, with an enormous growth potential. We tell you what they consist of and what the most in-demand green jobs today are.

The fair transition towards a green economy will mean the creation of 24 million jobs worldwide by 2030, according to the report “World Employment and Social Outlook: Greening with jobs” from the International Labor Organization (ILO). These new green jobs are not only key to protecting the environment, but they also contribute to the development of a more egalitarian society and improved quality of life worldwide, but what is green employment? What benefits does it provide and what conditions does it require to be developed? What are the sectors with the highest demand for green jobs? Keep reading and find out everything there is to know about these professions of the future!

What are green jobs?

 The General Assembly of the United Nations defines green jobs as all those jobs that reduce the environmental impact of companies and economic sectors in which they operate, meeting the principles of the green economy.

The creation of green jobs constitutes one of the key tools for the construction of a long-term sustainable economic and social model, according to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030, established by the General Assembly of the United Nations in the Paris Agreement in 2015. 

Care for the environment is a key requirement of green jobs, but in order to be considered as such, these new jobs must also offer decent working conditions. In this way, economic growth is linked to the development of an inclusive and fair society, in which everyone has access to basic resources and services for human well-being.

This global model also shares the principles of the circular economy, such as the commitment to renewable energies to decarbonize the economy and reduce pollutant emissions and the optimization of the use of products through ecodesign, reduction in the use of raw materials, reuse, repair, renovation, recycling, and recovery.

Benefits of green jobs for a sustainable economy

  1. They increase the energy efficiency of the production model by promoting the circular and sustainable economy, reducing the use of energy and raw materials.
  2. They reduce the ecological footprint derived from human activities.
  3. They contribute to the decarbonization of the economy through the use of renewable and ecological energy sources as an alternative to fossil fuels.
  4. They optimize waste management to reduce the generation of trash and reduce pollution.
  5.  They help to preserve the natural environment where they are developed, protecting natural ecosystems and biodiversity, and minimizing global threats against the environment, such as greenhouse gas emission.
  6. They offer an opportunity for economic growth with an enormous potential in sectors and jobs related to the environment.
  7. As the SDGs state, green jobs must offer a decent salary and working conditions, which will allow millions of people to escape poverty and will facilitate the global population’s access to basic resources and services, such as education or health.
  8. They promote the commitment of all economic agents -companies, public institutions, and individuals- to join forces and achieve a long-term sustainable development model.

Sectors with most in-demand green jobs

As well as slowing down climate change, green jobs linked to the ecological transition also offer enormous possibilities to develop an alternative, efficient, and nature-friendly production model. Below we will show you the most in-demand sectors and green professional profiles.

a roof with solar panels and a wind turbine

  • Renewable energies

This sector of renewable energies accounted for the creation of 11.5 million green jobs in 2019, according to data from the ILO and in 2050 could reach 42 million jobs, provided certain conditions are met. Within the energy sector, the transition towards a green economy will account for the loss of approximately 6 million jobs globally related to the fossil fuels industry, but 42 million green jobs will also be created, amply offsetting that loss.

Jobs related to the manufacturing, installation, operation, and maintenance of renewable energy systems are one of the examples of green jobs with the most promising prospects at present. By 2030, it is estimated that environmental employment based on renewable energy sources will rise to 2.5 million jobs around the world.

sustainable cities

  • Waste management

The industry related to waste management is key for the circular economy and sustainable development and is also one of the clearest examples of green jobs. According to the ILO, activities related to recycling, repair, reuse, and recovery can generate up to 6 million jobs by 2030. European Commission forecasts also highlight the potential of the waste collection and treatment sector, which currently represents 26% of existing green jobs in Spain and in the coming years could surpass 50,000 jobs.

  • Sustainable cities

Sustainability is one of the main features of Smart Cities, which are more efficient, more comfortable, and healthier. Within the professions related to these new sustainable cities, green jobs related to Smart Buildings, ecological or bioclimatic construction, or sustainable mobility, linked to the development of biofuels that reduce the emission of pollutant gases responsible for the greenhouse effect stand out. 



  • Biodiversity protection

The preservation of the fauna and flora that make up natural ecosystems requires companies to have new specialized professional profiles, able to offer advice in very diverse matters related to sustainability, such as environmental legislation to waste management, prevention of environmental risks, ecodesign, or corporate social responsibility, for example.

Within the green jobs linked to biodiversity protection, the jobs related to research and innovation deserve a special mention, both in the private sector and in research centers or public universities, essential for the construction of this new sustainable development model for everyone.