What Are Green Jobs and Why Are They Important?

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Written by Annie Button

Green Jobs: The Sustainable Career Path of the Future

As the effects of climate change continue to be felt, going green has evolved from being optional to an absolute necessity. The costs to our well-being are adding up quickly and working to get climate change under control is the smart thing to do.

Governments, organisations and institutions worldwide are taking steps to lessen the environmental damage that we are causing our only planet. The UN’s net zero commitments have been agreed by over 70 countries, in which carbon emissions need to be reduced by 45% by 2030, and reach net zero by 2050, as stipulated in the Paris Agreement. 

However, we are not on track to meet these climate pollution reduction targets. Businesses, of which 100 are responsible for 71% of greenhouse gas emissions, need to listen and respond accordingly and transition to more sustainable practices. While most businesses account for far fewer emissions than the top 100 emitters, that does not absolve them of the responsibility to act and take meaningful action. 

One of the most impactful facets of this continuous shift involves the introduction and expansion of ‘green jobs’ that contribute to preserving or restoring our environment. In this short article, we will define some examples of green jobs and their importance, and how you might join up to help build a better future.

What Are Green Jobs?

Green jobs span a wide range of industries and sectors. They encompass those roles that are actively focused on creating a positive impact on the current or future environment. While there is no official definition of the word ‘green job’, the ethos behind the idea should be self-explanatory enough.

Below are some of the major categories of green jobs:

  • Renewable energy: Some of the fastest-growing jobs are related to solar, geothermal or wind energy and other sources of clean energy production and maintenance. Examples include solar panel installers, wind turbine technicians, engineers, and renewable energy technicians.

  • Green construction: These jobs focus on increasing the energy efficiency and sustainability of domestic and commercial buildings. Such roles can include smart home installers, green building designers, or any form of work that involves the use of renewable, energy-efficient materials.

  • Conservation: This field of work involves the preservation and protection of the environment, plants, wildlife and natural resources. These can include wildlife or marine biology, environmental science, ecology, or marine conservation, among many others.

  • Biodiversity: Biodiversity overlaps with conservation work in many ways, but also exists as a broad umbrella term. Biodiversity is all about preserving vital ecosystem functions like erosion control, tree pollination, soil fertilisation, ecology, and top-level careers that focus on sustainable development.

  • Green transport: These roles are all about finding innovative new fuels, technologies and services that reduce the impact of our travels. These include the fast-growing electric vehicle sector (encompassing roles from engineers to manufacturing), as well as electric haulage and public transport operations.

  • Agriculture and forestry: Organic farming, crop rotation and agriculture technicians all fit under this umbrella term alongside green careers related to using natural pesticides, efficient land management or aquaculture, where strides are being made in sustainable-farming practices, landscaping and forestry. Fossil fuels are a massive input to agriculture both for fuel and fertiliser. Anything that helps spread better, cost-effective practices without them is a big step forward.

  • Waste reduction and recycling: Manufacturers are working hard to create eco-friendly packaging and materials, and these jobs go hand-in-hand. Roles in this space would range from waste management and recycling coordination to composting and refuse collection, among many others. This field is set on minimising the environmental damage caused by our waste.

  • Administration: Creative and strategic thinkers are needed for roles that focus on helping companies meet sustainability initiatives and environmental compliance standards. Alternatively, it’s not uncommon to find roles for environmental health specialists, green data analysts, or environmental health and safety specialists listed for in-house vacancies.

  • Technology and IT: The tech job market is growing and is constantly seeking technically-minded experts to help companies leverage technology to meet their sustainability targets. Individuals can work in fields like web development or cloud infrastructure within a company that’s forthcoming about their environmental goals, or even as data centre operators or penetration testing providers. 

Why Are Green Jobs Important?

While it’s clear that we still have a long way to go to reverse the detrimental environmental damage we’ve done, as well as tackle the looming climate crisis. However, the boom in the green jobs market has shown that the potential is there, and how pivotal they are at preserving our planet’s resources and long-term future.

Here are just some of the reasons why green jobs are crucial:

  • They address urgent environmental issues by tackling climate change and helping companies overcome their sustainability challenges. 

  • They help companies - and by extension, their economies - create increased demand for eco-friendly and self-sufficient systems.

  • If a net zero pathway is followed, it will create millions of new jobs. 

  • Green jobs typically provide long-term job security, given that many employers are, understandably, resistant to offshoring.

  • Investing in green and sustainable jobs means that companies will use less energy, emit fewer emissions, and create lower amounts of waste, so there is a cost incentive here.

  • Surveys show that consumers tend to prefer socially responsible products, services and brands. Therefore, establishing sustainable practices will help companies meet this demand and retain a competitive edge.

  • Transitioning to green jobs ultimately reduces pollution and ecological damage, which has a positive knock-on effect on public health.

  • Green jobs tend to be very accessible and inclusive to under-represented groups. In turn, demand for green jobs provides opportunities for people regardless of ethnicity, gender, or background.

Getting Involved in the Green Economy

Arguably the most difficult part is finding a green job, given that the term is quite open to interpretation at this stage. Some companies may choose to advertise vacancies on targeted job boards that attract eco-conscious candidates, while others may choose to advertise internally. 

However, if you want advice on how you can get involved in the green jobs market, consider the following steps:

  • Gain training or certification. If you can undertake environmental awareness training, internships or apprenticeships in agriculture, green building, renewable energy or waste management companies, your real-world experience will prove invaluable.

  • Modify your current job if you can. If moving into a brand new green job isn’t feasible at this moment, look for ways to make your existing job more sustainable. Whether it’s digitising your paperwork, switching to eco-friendly materials, or establishing new environmental policies, this work will translate well to a prospective new employer, if you ultimately pursue that route.

  • Advocate and spread awareness. If you aren’t currently in the green sector, you can get involved in local community sustainability projects, or undertake volunteer work in the industry that you’re most passionate about. You can advocate for the environment by taking grassroots action, provided that you are ethical and mindful of others in doing so.

  • Make your business more eco-friendly. If you’re a business owner or entrepreneur, there are plenty of ways you can demonstrate your commitment to sustainability. Invest in renewable energy sources to heat your premises, cut down on waste, transition your supply chain to create eco-friendly products, partner with like-minded suppliers, and develop sustainability policies. 

  • **Accelerate climate solutions in your workplace. **As the backbone of any business and organisation, employees can be the most powerful climate advocates. With a passion to make change happen, they can appraise their roles and work with business leaders to identify and spearhead effective climate solutions in their workplaces.

Climatebase: A Green Job Board to Bookmark

If you are looking for a job board where you can see the types of green vacancies available worldwide, look no further than Climatebase. This is a great place to start learning about the types of careers you can pursue that address climate change and preserve our planet’s resources. If you want an introduction to this job board, we’d recommend reading this short guide.

It’s clear to see that green jobs are at the epicentre of our economy’s future. If businesses resist change for the betterment of our environment, they will miss out on potential job applicants and future earnings. Therefore, it’s in their best interest to start now, driving positive change through daily decisions. Join that trend and help build a better future!

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