In view of the dramatic scope of climate change to be expected and the absolute necessity of achieving the aims of the Paris Agreement, doing business in an environmentally friendly way has become a constant commandment. This principle is enshrined in many European countries and in the policies of the European Commission, and has become a permanent political process. To EZA as a network of workers’ organisations acting on the basis of Christian social doctrine, this is a particular concern primarily from an ethical perspective: “The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all”, says Pope Francis in his Laudato Si encyclical.
In the EU this aim is also expressed in the “Europe 2020” strategy, with which smart, sustainable and inclusive growth is to be attained as a means of overcoming structural weaknesses of the European economy, improving competitiveness and productivity, and strengthening a sustainable social market economy. Other EU initiatives are also pursuing climate and energy objectives, such as “A roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050” or the Energy Roadmap 2050. Reference is made expressly to the correlation of pursuing political approaches with regard to climate change, by formulating concrete targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to raise the share of energy from renewable sources and to increase energy efficiency.
It is evident that huge changes which will have a significant impact on the economy and the labour market are required to achieve these ambitious aims of the EU. These include the restructuring of industries that severely stress the environment, as well as the introduction and further development of green and energy-efficient technologies in many areas of business and life. This in turn will create new sectors for manufacturing, using and maintaining innovative techniques.
Of course, such changes also have an impact on the world of work: new jobs may arise and the need for vocational training may change. However, such economic transformation processes will also entail streamlining effects and result in job losses or structural changes.
All these questions call for workers’ organisations to act and engage in social dialogue. Under the heading “Green Jobs”, EZA carried out a number of seminars addressing very different aspects of environmentally sound action and the corresponding challenges for workers’ organisations.
This brochure compiles the results of these educational events and intends to show – primarily from the experience of workers’ organisations – the range this issue has in the social dialogue and to make appropriate recommendations for action.
Our aim with this publication is to pass on these findings mainly to other representatives of workers’ organisations and politicians, and to help Europe fulfil its responsibility regarding global climate change as well as its economic policy and social responsibility on the labour market.
The brochure is available in German and English. The author is Marta Jędrych.