Twenty million jobs could be created worldwide through the power of nature, which could potentially address significant societal and environmental issues such as climate change, disaster risk, and food and water insecurity, as announced during the United Nation’s Biodiversity Conference, COP15, in Montreal.
The report called “Decent Work in Nature-based Solutions,” compiled by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the UN Environment Program (UNEP), and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) stressed the importance of scaling up Nature-based Solutions (NbS) which will be instrumental in generating employment opportunities for populations in rural areas.
The report also emphasised a need for ‘just transition’ policies — greening the economy in a fair way and providing meaningful work opportunities for all.
The UN defines NbS as “actions to protect, conserve, restore, sustainably use and manage natural or modified terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems.” Around 75 million people — primarily from Asia and the Pacific — are already employed in NbS. Most NbS work is done in the agriculture and forestry industries, particularly for low-income (98%) and lower-middle-income countries (99%). The number falls to 42% for upper-middle income and 25% for high-income countries. Investment in these solutions could help triple NbS in 2030, generating twenty million jobs, an integral step in achieving biodiversity, land restoration, and climate goals.
Beyond NbS, various industries seek to incorporate more sustainable policies and job opportunities into their work models as environmental issues continue ravaging the world.
The working world has seen a lot of changes and trends in the past few years. Remote work, the Great Resignation, and the Quiet Quitting movement have made waves and disrupted normal workplace operations. Insights from LHH on managing talent note how many skilled workers are re-evaluating their careers because of burnout, inflation, and more flexible working options. People also feel more confident in changing jobs as hiring activity has increased dramatically. Many also seek a career that aligns with their passions, particularly regarding inclusion, their mental health, and environmental care.
As concerns for climate change and sustainability are increasing, especially among the youth involved in environmental activism, now is a great time to promote green jobs for those who wish to do their part. It can help retain talent while contributing to a better world.
The EU’s commitments
As people worldwide face natural calamities, food insecurity, energy crises, and a rise in the cost of living, the European Union has agreed to begin taking more action to alleviate the impacts of these problems brought on and exacerbated by climate change. During the European Employment and Social Rights Forum in Brussels, there was a push for the need of social rights that will be complementary to the green transition. As the European Union aims to create more economic and fiscal policies, participants agreed on the need to integrate critical social aspects, including sustainability.
In November 2022, The United Nations Climate Change Conference COP27 revolved around delivering on the promises of the Paris Agreement and ensuring its implementation. More efforts must be made to curb greenhouse gas emissions and limit temperature increases. At the same time, a need for employment that can ensure security for jobs, food, water, energy, and health. A workforce supported in their efforts and granted access to the most fundamental needs will be paramount to improving efforts to address environmental concerns moving forward.