Green Economy policy framework and employment opportunity: A South African case study

Type Journal Article - Pretoria: Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies Working Paper
Title Green Economy policy framework and employment opportunity: A South African case study
Volume 2
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2012
In 2012, South Africa remains faced with the triple developmental challenge of unemployment, poverty and
inequality. In addition, the country’s current economic growth model is heavily resource and energyintensive,
aggravating pressures on the environment and the threat of climate change. The transition to a
green economy, stemming from the concept of sustainable development, has been internationally
recognised as a ground-breaking way forward, combining economic development, social welfare and
environmental protection.
South Africa is in a unique position to exploit the emergence of green economic development in the world.
The country’s renewable resources abundance (solar and wind predominantly) and biodiversity positions it
to play a leading role in the Southern African region and in Africa. In addition, if supported by an enabling
environment, green sectors have the potential to foster South African growth and employment, as well as
the shift to sustainable development.
Building on this opportunity, this paper, constructed as a national case study, investigates the current state
of play in terms of green jobs in South Africa and analyses potential changes that a shift to a green
economy could generate on the labour market. It reviews the policy and regulatory framework for a green
economy in South Africa, including the role of the institutional structure and social dialogue. It then
examines the current and potential employment of a green economy in South Africa, considering possible
sectoral trade-offs and employment losses. The change in employment conditions that could be triggered
by the greening of the economy is also considered.

Related studies