The current global economic crisis has led to millions of job losses and likely will lead to more. As businesses and industries restructure, many of these jobs will not be recovered. At the same time, the world’s top scientists are sounding warnings about urgent environmental concerns, including climate change and limited natural resources to produce energy and provide for the world’s growing population. Amid these twin crises, governments and businesses around the world are realizing that future economic growth depends on producing less carbon and more jobs. The announced economic stimulus plans of China, Japan, and Korea contain green initiatives that could potentially generate more than a million green jobs in the next few years. These initiatives promise to improve real incomes and workers’ quality of life around the world. In the past, Asia has succeeded in creating jobs in carbon-intensive manufacturing industries as well as offshore services industries, tapping into a vast supply of low-cost labor. What conditions does Asia need to create green jobs for the future, and how well are Asian economies doing on these conditions?
Research by the Asia Business Council provides a preliminary assessment through the creation of a “green jobs index,” which measures current green employment needs, the market potential of various green industry segments, labor availability for green jobs, and government commitments to green job policies in various Asian economies.