Green: the colour of the future

September 15, 2015

climate change

According to the Australian Conservation Foundation, ‘green jobs’ (also known as ‘green-collar jobs’), which contribute to better environmental outcomes or increased sustainability, are set to boom in the 21st century as we move towards a global low carbon economy.

‘Climate change’ has emerged as the most important issue of the decade, perhaps the century. It is debated from parliaments to board rooms, coffee shops to lounge rooms. Globally, we have begun to acknowledge the need to meet emissions targets and shift our practices towards a sustainable future. Similarly, as individuals we are more aware of steps we can take to ‘reduce our carbon footprint’ and ‘green’ up our lives.

As the climate crisis changes the way we live, travel and act, it is also changing the face of our job market and the industries underpinning it. One of the first detailed reports to examine the effect of economies moving toward sustainability was released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 2008 found (broadly) four main impacts on the employment market. Firstly, some newly created jobs will emerge. Secondly, some sectors will undergo substitution – as from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. Thirdly, some jobs will be eliminated altogether as legislation forces the cessation of harmful practices. And lastly, the UNEP envisages a redefining of some existing role profiles as skill sets are updated to reflect new methods.

This report highlights several industries, such as the renewable energy sector; designing, installing and fitting (including retro fitting) energy efficiency into our buildings; ‘urban mass transit’ (public transport) and recycling as being areas of high job growth into the future.

The Green Jobs Index maintained by GreenCollar Talent indicates that around 1.8% of all jobs advertised in Australia can be classified as green jobs, with continued growth in the number of new positions created.

We can all take steps to slow the rate of climate change by reducing our personal carbon footprints. (If you’re interested, you can calculate your carbon footprint at

UNEP report “Green Jobs: Towards decent work in a sustainable, low carbon world” available at
ACF/ACTU “Green Gold Rush” (2008) available at (latest statistic quoted as at June 2014)

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