Shifting a greener economy could generate up to 60 million additional jobs over the next two decades says UN agencies and trade unions, urging governments to use the Rio+20 summit to turn this potential into reality.
A new report finds the transformation of key sectors such as agriculture, energy, construction and transport has already created tens of millions of jobs and will eventually affect at least half of the global workforce, equivalent to around 1.5 billion people.
It says the renewable energy sector now employs close to five million workers, more than doubling the number of jobs from 2006 to 2010, while energy efficiency is an important source of green jobs in the construction industry, which is among the hardest hit by the economic crisis.
Three million people are employed in the US environmental goods and services, while government figures show the equivalent figure in the UK is just under one million.
In the EU alone, 14.6 million direct and indirect jobs exist in the protection of biodiversity and rehabilitation of natural resources and forests says the paper, published by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Trade Union Congress (ITUC).
Environmental sustainability is not a job killer, as it is sometimes claimed," said Juan Somavia, ILO director-general. "On the contrary, it can lead to more and better jobs, poverty reduction and social inclusion."
See the full report here - http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_emp/---emp_ent/documents/publication/wcms_181836.pdf