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Factsheet: Green Jobs

  • Published on September 20, 2021
Green jobs are core to the United Nations’ and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)’s response to COVID-19 recovery packages. Amid all the loss and tragedy of the pandemic, hundreds of millions of people have lost their jobs as a result of the Great Lockdown. Building back better means creating jobs that take our economies one step further towards the 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement, by accelerating and scaling up sustainable consumption and production.
COVID-19 and Green Jobs
By the end of April 2020, 2.3 billion workers were
living in countries with mandatory or recommended
closures. Global working hours in the second
quarter of 2020 are expected to be 10.5 per cent
lower than in the last quarter, equivalent to a decline
of 305 million full-time jobs.2
Four sectors have experienced the most drastic
effects: food and accommodation (144 million
workers); retail and wholesale (482 million);
business services and administration (157 million);
and manufacturing (463 million); totalling 1.25 billion
workers around the world and representing almost
37.5 per cent of the global workforce.3
The effect on small and medium sized enterprises is
especially severe, particularly because of higher
levels of vulnerability and lower resilience related to
their size.
Sixty-one per cent of the world’s workers are
employed in informal sectors and most, if not all, are
left out of basic labour and social protections.4 5
Women are especially vulnerable as an estimated
70 per cent of the women’s employment in low
income economies is in the informal sector. 
UNEP’s Response
UNEP is committed to supporting countries as they
recover from COVID-19 by focusing on sustainable
consumption and production, green and decent jobs
and just transition. UNEP can help countries to:
Adopt an integrated approach to economic
recovery and job creation with a long-term
view to enhance resilience.
Building tomorrow better will demand an integrated
approach to economic recovery that leaves no one
behind, mitigates future threats to lives and
livelihoods–including from climate change and
degradation of nature–and advances the 2030
Agenda. The Sustainable Development Goals
provide a globally agreed framework that can guide
the revival of economies and jobs.
UNEP will repurpose its outreach on sustainable
living and smart choices, focusing on insights from
the response to COVID-19 and the emphasis on
health, well-being, and relationships, including with
nature; and using low carbon lifestyle challenges
and campaigns to support healthier working lives.

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