The 17th European Forum on Eco-innovation was dedicated to the topic of jobs and skills transformation

The Forum discussions examined the employment opportunities and challenges arising from the transition to a green and circular economy.

News | 05 December 2014
The European Forum on Eco-innovation was this year held in Lyon, France, on 1 and 2 December 2014 and focused on the topic of: “Transforming jobs and skills for a resource efficient, inclusive and circular economy”. The event had as objective to identify and showcase eco-innovative solutions to facilitate the up-skilling of workers for green jobs and the greening of the labour market. Bringing together around 200 specialists from academia, industry, policy, finance, civil society and business, the different stakeholders presented the latest developments in their fields of expertise and engaged in the discussions from their perspective.

The ILO contributed to the specific session on “Driving change in the work place” which raised issues on: (i) managing culture change in organisations; (ii) the involvement and influence of workers; (iii) employment conditions and quality of jobs; and (iv) the role of leadership, trade unions, employee empowerment. The ILO highlighted that the adoption of environmentally-sound practices is not only necessary to safeguard the natural capital on which the economy depends, but it also make economic sense as it contributes to maintaining or improving enterprises’ competitiveness. It can result in cost-savings, or the opening of new market niches. However, in order to realise such benefits and implement the change that is needed, dialogue and cooperation between employers and workers in the framework of the promotion of decent work principles are of critical importance. The implementation of greener practices needs to adopt a people-centred approach; new jobs need to be both environmentally friendly and decent.

With between three and over four million green jobs created in Europe over the past ten years, the green sector offers significant employment potential in light of the current unemployment crisis. The 2014 Commission's Green Employment initiative, together with the communications on the Circular Economy and the Green Action Plan for SMEs, will help ensure that environmental and employment policies converge and that appropriate funding is channelled to support the economic recovery process in the EU.

The Forum was jointly organised by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Environment and the French Ministry for the Ecology, the Sustainable Development and Energy with the support of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Rhône-Alpes, the Enterprise Europe Network Rhône-Alpes Auvergne and POLLUTEC Fair.