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February 14, 2023

Definitions and future perspectives of Green Jobs

For some time now, we have been witnessing the emergence of a new economic model called the Green Economy. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, this model aims to “meet current human needs through the development and use of sustainable technologies and practices, in order to reduce the negative environmental impact of economic activities and ensure that future generations can meet their needs” (UNEP, Report “Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication”, 2011).

The Green Economy encompasses a diverse range of sectors, including renewable energy, sustainable construction, organic agriculture and sustainable tourism.

In this context, new professional figures have also arisen that fall within the definition of Green Jobs.

Green Jobs are central to the transition process towards sustainable development and are becoming increasingly important in the workplace.


Definition of Green Jobs

What is meant by Green Jobs? “We define Green Jobs as those work activities in the agricultural, manufacturing, administrative, services and research and development sectors that substantially contribute to the work of safeguarding or restoring environmental quality. These include activities that help keeping and protecting ecosystems and biodiversity; to reduce the consumption of energy, resources and water through the use of highly efficient strategies; to minimize or avoid the creation of any form of waste or pollution”. With these words the International Labor Organization and the United Nations Environment Program (ILO and UNEP) defined the boundaries of Green Jobs in 2008 in the first global report on the theme “Green Jobs: Towards decent work in a sustainable, low-carbon world”.

The document specifies that it is not always easy to identify Green Jobs because if some sectors, such as renewable energies, are easily recognizable, the changes that take place in traditional industries are not always easily identifiable. A few years later, the ILO returned to providing some parameters to help better identify these new professions, specifying that all those professions that:


  • improve energy and raw material efficiency;
  • limit greenhouse gas emissions;
  • minimize waste and pollution;
  • protect and restore ecosystems;
  • support adaptation to the effects of climate change.

Benefits of Green Jobs

Precisely because they were born in the context of the Green Economy, these new professionals bring with them a complex system of economic, social and environmental benefits.
Among the main advantages of Green Jobs, we can highlight:

  • reduction of greenhouse gas emissions;
  • improvement of air and water quality;
  • support for economic growth;
  • job creation;
  • skills development and training.

In fact, Green Jobs can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by promoting energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources, thus helping to combat climate change. They affect air and water quality by improving it through the adoption of sustainable practices and the restoration of damaged ecosystems. Investments in Green Jobs stimulate economic growth and can help reduce dependence on non-renewable energy sources, reducing long-term energy costs. All of this leads to the creation of new jobs in sectors such as energy efficiency, renewable sources of energy, waste management and recycling, sustainable agriculture and green construction, providing opportunities for training and skills development in fast growing and ever-changing industries.

What are Green Jobs

Energy transition and climate change are relevant issues for the labor market which is starting to offer new professions and specialization paths in this field. According to what was noted by the Fondazione Symbola and Unioncamere, already in last year’s report (GreenItaly Report 2021), the sectors that have begun to explore these new sectors offer numerous professional opportunities.

We are talking about sectors such as construction, transport and energy, to name a few, and roles such as designer or installer of solar photovoltaic and wind power plants, energy manager, environmental impact assessor, expert in green architecture and green building, certifier energetic, green designer.

What will be the green skills that will be most in demand in the coming years and the specific professional figures linked to these skills?

Again, according to the 2021 analysis by Fondazione Symbola and Unioncamere, the most requested Green Jobs in the near future could concern the following professional figures:

  • eco-label sales manager;
  • repairer of machinery and systems;
  • installer of electrical networks with improved efficiency;
  • environmental IT expert in environmental marketing;
  • ecodesigner Expert in energy management (energy engineer);
  • environmental quality certifier;
  • installer of air conditioning systems with low environmental impact.

Where are we? The situation of Green Jobs in Italy

To understand the current situation in Italy, the updated picture with last year’s data is contained in the new GreenItaly 2022 Report by the Symbola Foundation and Unioncamere.

The report includes and analyzes the contracts relating to Green Jobs, with activation envisaged by companies, and highlights the strong growth compared to the previous year: in 2021 the expected green activations amounted to 1,600,460, i.e., 38.3% more than the previous year (+443,380 units). The highest percentage is held by the Northern Regions with 32.9% for the Western part and 24.1% for the North-Eastern regions. Slightly lower percentages as regards Central Italy where 17.4% is recorded, while Southern Italy and the islands reach 25.5%. If we limit ourselves to reading numbers and percentages, we risk not understanding how much these new figures have had an impact and are an incubator of new ideas and resources.

Green Jobs are a strategic driver for the growth and development of modern companies.

The new contracts expected in 2021 in the design and research and development area focus on 85.3% of the total on green professionalism, leaving the residual share of 14.7% to the other professions; in logistics, 80.2% of new activations in 2021 are of the green type and similar values ​​are recorded in the technical area (78.6%) and marketing and communication (78%).

So, what is the state of the art related to Green Jobs in Italy? In fact, we cannot speak of professionalism so pervasive as to involve all stages of corporate life.

Nowadays the new activations of Green Jobs insist largely on the replacement of positions already present in the company, taking the form of a natural evolution of professionalism no longer in line with the new market needs.

Only 16.5% of these activations, in 2021, in fact, concern real new company figures.

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