UNIDO-ILO Policy Dialogue on Inclusive and Green Transformation of Manufacturing in India

Opening remarks by Mr Satoshi Sasaki, Deputy Director, ILO Decent Work Team for South Asia and Country Office for India.

Statement | New Delhi | 10 November 2022
India joined PAGE in 2018 to catalyse action and enhance cooperation on existing initiatives on national and sub-national levels. PAGE India activities are supporting the government in many areas, including resource efficiency, sustainable public procurement and eco-labelling, modernization of MSMEs, sustainable rural development, and building synergies with other green-economy aligned initiatives. ILO’s activities within PAGE focus on supporting green jobs and ensuring a Just Transition, one that manages workplace changes as a result of the impacts of climate change and climate action.

Green jobs are jobs that are good for people, good for the economy, and good for the environment. They are both a mechanism to achieve sustainable development, as well as an outcome, in that they can provide the double dividend of just and decent employment creation with reduced environmental impacts. The ILO’s focus is on ensuring that these green jobs are quality jobs in line with the four strategic objectives at the heart of the ILO decent work agenda, which seek to:

1. set and promote standards and fundamental principles and rights at work;
2. create greater opportunities for women and men to obtain decent employment and income;
3. enhance the coverage and effectiveness of social protection for all; and
4. strengthen tripartism among government, workers’ and employers’ organizations and social dialogue.

A Just Transition means greening the economy in a way that is as fair and inclusive as possible to everyone concerned, creating decent work opportunities and leaving no one behind. It ensures that in the process of transitioning to a green economy, people in jobs and occupations that are reduced and phased out have pathways to transition to other viable employment, and have social protection on this pathway.

ILO and UNIDO under PAGE have been working together since 2020 on understanding key macro drivers for green growth and employment creation in the manufacturing sector. India’s manufacturing sector plays a significant role in the growth and development of the Indian economy, and is a major employment source in the country. From 2018-2019 the manufacturing sector added 700,000 new jobs, with most of these new jobs in the wage/ salaried category of workers (CII, 2021). The manufacturing sector was one of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic, and the impacts emerged from multiple shocks in the form of closure of factories and disruptions in global supply chains from accessing imported inputs (ILO,2020). Our work under PAGE focuses on unlocking green and inclusive manufacturing, highlighting the benefits of doing so, and ensuring a just transition to manage any negative impacts on jobs during this shift. The ILO identified drivers of green growth and green employment in the manufacturing sector as – energy transition, circular economy business models, and just transition process for green jobs creation.

Developing a supportive policy ecosystem to enable future green job growth, and ensure a Just Transition is critical; yet in many policy areas and jurisdictions green jobs and Just transitions are new concepts and require activities to build awareness and capacity before they can be fully developed. To build an understanding of India’s policy ecosystem, in 2022 the ILO undertook a ‘Green Jobs and Just Transition Policy Readiness Assessment’, with a focus on the energy sector. A draft report 'Assessment of India's Green Jobs and Just Transition Policy Readiness' has been prepared as of October 2022. The initial findings of this report will be presented later today. Following this assessment, a case study is being developed to understand green jobs and just transition opportunities in the textile/garment sector of Jharkhand, one of the states that is at high risk of job losses in the coal mining sector. The analysis will look at the Green Jobs potential in the textile/garment sector and produce policy recommendations for economic diversification in the context of a just energy transition.

We look forward to validating both these studies through a tripartite consultation with our constituents, including the government, employers’ and workers’ organisations.