Job Creation in B.C.’s Clean Economy

On October 11th, the Vancouver-based consultants, GLOBE Advisors, released three new studies which quantify job creation and highlight the public and private sector policies which have been effective in promoting the province’s clean economy. According to the press release, “In 2011, the Clean Energy Supply and Storage, Clean Transportation, and Green Building and Energy Efficiency sectors in B.C. were responsible for 123,350 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs (75,170 direct and 48,180 indirect) and over $15 billion in gross domestic product ($10.7 billion direct and $4.4 billion indirect).” The reports highlight demand and supply of specific occupations, such as engineers, technicians, and project managers. The other major focus of the reports is to identify the policy drivers and programs which can encourage further growth, with recommendations for the future. In addition to the perennial challenge of any Canadian company to find capital for innovation and expansion, the other important barriers to growth included access to skilled labour, education, and training. These three reports continue and build upon the analysis in the previous West Coast Clean Economy study (March 2012).  

 

LINK:

GLOBE Advisors webpage for the 3 studies is at:

http://www.globeadvisors.ca/market-research/bc-clean-economy-market-insights-study.aspx Free downloads of the reports and technical documents are available from here by providing registration information.

 

West Coast Clean Economy Report: Opportunities for Investment & Accelerated Job Creation
(March 2012) examines members of the Pacific Coast Collaborative (PCC): California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. It is available at:
http://www.globeadvisors.ca/media/3322/wcce_report_web_final.pdf

The Importance of Green Jobs for a Growing, Sustainable Economy

In a study released on October 10 by the Economic Policy Institute in the U.S., author Ethan Pollack compares the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Green Goods and Services Survey with other BLS employment trend data. The report begins with a discussion of the BLS definition and methodology regarding measurement of “green jobs”. It then provides data and analysis of the number of green jobs by state, by sector, and by private vs. public sector, pointing out that green jobs are found throughout the economy, and that despite the focus on jobs in renewable energy, that sector represents less than 3% of green jobs (compared to the manufacturing sector which accounts for 20.4 % of all green jobs). Among the conclusions: greener industries grew, and will continue to grow, faster than the overall economy for the next 10 years; green states have fared better in the economic downturn; and, green jobs are accessible to people with all levels of education. And from the concluding paragraph: ” In sum, a dirty economy subsidizes the well-off by taxing the poor and disenfranchised, distorts the market, and shortchanges future generations by leaving the world a worse place for them to live in. For these reasons alone, the case for transitioning to a greener and more sustainable economy is well justified. But the concept of green jobs does play an important role in illustrating a positive vision of a green economy. It reminds us that the seeds of a green transition are planted throughout the economy, that the fundamental structure of the economy will remain intact, and that this vision isn’t so radical but rather is already happening all around us.”


LINKS:


Counting up to green: Assessing the green economy and its implications for growth and equity
is available at:  http://www.epi.org/files/2012/bp349-assessing-the-green-economy.pdf

 

Employment in Green Goods and Services (March 2012) is at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website at: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/ggqcew.pdf; see also the BLS Green Jobs website at: http://www.bls.gov/green/ .

Green Jobs: Analysis, Statistics and Definitions for OECD Countries

The 2012 edition of the annual OECD Employment Outlook Report was released in August, and includes Chapter 4: “What green growth means for workers and labour market policies: An initial assessment”. The chapter is a summary version of a study released by the OECD in June 2012: The Jobs Potential of a Shift to a Low-Carbon Economy. It analyses the impacts of green growth policies, particularly mitigation policies, on the labour markets of the developed OECD economies, and then examines how labour market and education/training policies can facilitate green growth. The Supplemental Material for Chapter 4 includes useful tables summarizing national definitions of green jobs, initiatives to estimate green employment, and green-specific employment and skill development programs. Information is derived from questionnaire responses from OECD member government ministries, as of November 2010.

LINK:

 

2012 OECD Employment Outlook overview website is at:

http://www.oecd.org/els/employmentpoliciesanddata/oecdemploymentoutlook.htm. The full text is not available for free download; click on “Browse this book”, select Chapter 4, and click on the “free preview” link for a read-only version.

 

The Jobs Potential of a Shift to a Low-Carbon Economy (June 2012) is available in full at: http://www.oecd.org/employment/employmentpoliciesanddata/50503551.pdf

 

Supplemental Material for Chapter 4: Summary of Country Responses to the OECD Questionnaire on Green Jobs is available for download at:

http://www.oecd.org/employment/employmentpoliciesanddata/Chap%204%20Web%20Annex.pdf

Are Canadian MBA and Engineering Students Learning to Deal with Sustainability Issues?

In its 9th annual survey of the sustainability content in Canadian university programs, Corporate Knights (“the company for clean capitalism”) has focused on MBA and Engineering programs, using the rationale that corporate responsibility is most usually the result of CEO beliefs, and since 63 % of the executives for the top 10 TSX-traded companies hold either an MBA or an engineering degree, the education of these professionals is a necessary precondition of progress toward sustainability in corporate decision-making. As in every other year that the survey has ranked MBA programs, Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto has ranked at the top. This year, the Master of Environment and Business (MEB) program at the University of Waterloo ranked second. In general, the survey calls for improvements in MBA course content and institutional support: for example, more opportunities for sustainability-oriented internships, and more sustainability-themed courses in the core curriculum.

 

Amongst engineering programs, University of Toronto ranked first, followed by University of Western Ontario, and L’Université Laval. Overall, the survey finds only 43% of engineering schools provide course specializations relevant to sustainability concerns, and only 30% offering relevant joint degrees.

 

AND FOR PRACTISING ENGINEERS…. A survey published in May 2012 measured the knowledge and awareness to climate change adaptation of Canadian professional engineers practicing in five categories of built infrastructure: water, transportation, energy, buildings, and resource extraction/processing. The survey reveals that 70% of engineers agree that a changing climate affects their engineering decisions, (with lower than average agreement in Alberta and Saskatchewan, and higher than average in Quebec, the Atlantic provinces, and the North). However, only 10% of engineers indicate that they “always consider the impacts of a changing climate in their decisions.” Only 3% of engineers have already used or intend to use the Public Infrastructure Engineering Vulnerability Committee (PIEVC) Protocol; 7% are somewhat familiar with it, and approximately 80% are not at all familiar. The survey was sponsored by Engineers Canada, was conducted between December 2011 and February 2012, and updates a 2007 survey.

 

LINKS:  

2012 Knights School Survey, September 2012, including complete rankings and survey methodology, is available at: http://corporateknights.com/report/2012-knight-schools-survey

 

A Higher Degree of Sustainability by Jeremy Runnalls (overview) is at:   http://corporateknights.com/report/2012-knight-schools-survey/higher-degree-sustainability

 

National Survey of Canada’s Infrastructure Engineers about Climate Change is available at the Engineers Canada website at:http://www.engineerscanada.ca/files/csa_report_2012_eng.pdf

Using Information Technology to Improve Sustainable Operations in U.S. Government Workplaces

A new report from The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) (formerly the Pew Center on Global Climate Change) provides 8 case studies to highlight how the U.S. federal government is using innovative information and communication technology to achieve efficiencies, reduce operating budgets, and reduce energy consumption. One of the pilot projects, led by the General Services Administration (the landlord of federal government buildings), combines the latest mobility and collaboration tools with flexible office layout and telework to reduce office space requirements, resulting in a 45% reduction in energy use. Changes were guided by a Space Advisory Committee (composed of non-supervisory employees, union representatives and the GSA project team), and included regular communication to and from employees, training on the new technology tools, and management buy-in symbolized by the sacrifice of individual office space by managers. In an employee satisfaction survey at the conclusion of the pilot project, 78% of workers responded that the new workspace “adequately supported personal productivity”. Other interventions highlighted in case studies: reduction of printing, migration to email cloud services, improved energy efficiency in building standards, use of alternative energy, and improved fleet management.

LINKS:

 

Leading by Example: Using Information and Communication Technologies to achieve Federal Sustainability Goals (all case studies) is available at: http://www.c2es.org/publications/leading-by-example-federal-sustainability-and-ict?utm_source=Center+for+Climate+and+Energy+Solutions+newsletter+list&utm_campaign=dd4b8608e1-September_2012_Newsletter&utm_medium=email .

 

GSA’s Prototype Alternative Workspace: Redesigning the Federal Workplace for the 21st Century is available at: http://www.c2es.org/docUploads/federal-sustainability-ict-gsa-prototype-workspace.pdf.

Call for New Information Technology Standards to Link it to the Environment and Climate Change

At the second Green Standards Week, held in Paris from September 17 – 21, members of the Information Technology community agreed upon and issued its “Paris Declaration”, titled Green Growth and Climate Change Commitments: The ICT Sector Shows the Way. The document calls for governments to recognize the ICT sector’s potential to contribute to climate change mitigation and economic recovery, claiming that the “The total savings of applying ICT to key sectors of the economy are estimated at 7.8 Gt of CO2e, which represents 15% of global emissions.” The declaration calls for future actions, and briefly describes accomplishments of such IT companies as AT&T, Cisco, Dell, Fujitsu, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Nokia Seimens. Green Standards Week was organized by the International Telecommunications Union (A United Nations agency with government and private sector membership) and TechAmerica Europe, and hosted by Microsoft.

 

LINK:

 

Paris Declaration, Green Growth and Climate Change Commitments: The ICT Sector Shows the Way is available at: http://www.itu.int/dms_pub/itu-t/oth/4B/04/T4B040000190001PDFE.pdf

Retrofitting as a Source of Good Green Jobs

A briefing paper by the National Employment Law Project in the U.S. argues that retrofitting, especially in the commercial real estate industry (CRE), is a textbook example of the concept of the “triple bottom line”: profit, people and planet. The paper summarizes earlier reports on the job creation potential of retrofitting (see links below), discusses energy efficiency standards and financing arrangements, and finally focuses on a call for policies and practices to promote decent jobs, such as the retrofitting initiatives in Milwaukee, Los Angeles, and Seattle.

 

LINKS:

 

Rebuilding Our Way to a Sustainable Recovery: Making Commercial Building Retrofit Jobs into Quality Jobs for Our Communities, available at the National Employment Law Project website at: http://www.nelp.org/page/-/Job_Creation/CRE_Retrofits_Issue_Brief.pdf?nocdn=1

 

A New Retrofit Industry: An analysis of the job creation potential of tax incentives for energy efficiency in commercial buildings and other components of the Better Buildings Initiative (June 2011) at the U.S. Green Building Council website at: http://www.usgbc.org/ShowFile.aspx?DocumentID=9531 and Analysis of Job Creation and Energy Cost Savings From Building Energy Rating and Disclosure Policy (2012) available at the Institute for Market Transformation website at: http://www.imt.org/uploads/resources/files/Analysis_Job_Creation.pdf.

 

The City of Seattle’s Community High Road Agreement: Good Faith Stakeholder Engagement and Empowerment at: http://www.communitypowerworks.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/CPW-HRA-Case-Study.pdf

Britain’s Trade Union Congress Calls for Long-Range Planning for a Just, Low-Carbon Economy

With the belief that a shift to a lower carbon economy is necessary and inevitable, the TUC looks ahead to the economic disruption likely to flow from new environmental regulation and the establishment of carbon markets in the next decade, and calls for more proactive government leadership and planning. In A Green and Fair Future for a Just Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy, the TUC outlines 5 principles that must be present to affect a “just transition”, including employee representation and involvement in decision-making bodies dealing with environmental transition, long-term planning necessary to achieve stable, safe employment; a fair distribution of costs across all levels of society; and a high level of commitment to change from government, trade unions and employer federations. The report focuses on the current state of public discussion and policy in the U.K., but surveys “Just Transition” initiatives in the U.S., Canada, Argentina, Spain, and the EU. Research for the document was performed by the Working Lives Research Institute at London Metropolitan University, and included interviews with officers from key unions, government advisors on environmental transition, representatives of NGOs and policy think tanks in the U.K.

 

LINK:

 

A Green and Fair Future for a Just Transition to a Low Carbon Economy is available at: http://www.tuc.org.uk/touchstone/Justtransition/greenfuture.pdf

GreenJobs BC Workshop

GreenJobs BC is an alliance between B.C.’s environmental and labour movements, with a goal to build a green economy in the province. On September 21 and 22, the group hosted the “Good Jobs for a Green Future” conference in Vancouver. See http://greenjobsbc.org/events/2012-conference/ for summaries of some of the conference presentations (case studies of greening the post office, energy efficiency retrofitting, and greening one hospital employees union local). Related information is at the website of The Columbia Institute, the Secretariat for GreenJobs B.C., at http://www.columbiainstitute.ca/. Work in a Warming World (W3) was a co-organizer of the conference, and also organized a workshop on Climate Change and Work, with the Morgan Centre for Labour Research of Simon Fraser University. See http://greenjobsbc.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/W3_SFU_Workshop_Sept-211.pdf for a full workshop agenda.

U.S. Election: What they are Saying about the Wind Energy Tax Credit, Solyndra, and the Clean Economy

The U.S. Presidential election takes place on November 6. Little is being said about climate change, the environment, or green jobs, with some notable exceptions, including the expiration of the production tax credit program for wind energy, which threatens jobs in several states, including Iowa, a swing state. See Jobs Blow away as Congress fails to act on Wind Energy (Bloomberg Business Week, Oct. 7 2012) at: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-10-07/jobs-blow-away-as-congress-fails-to-act-on-wind-energy .

 

For an impartial point of view, see A Voter’s Guide to the Climate and Energy Policy Positions of Obama and Romney at the website of the non-partisan Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) at: http://www.c2es.org/publications/2012-voter-guide, and Fact Check.org at http://factcheck.org/, which includes Romney’s Clean Energy Whoppers (from the 1st Presidential Debate) at: http://factcheck.org/2012/10/romneys-clean-energy-whoppers/.

U.S. Data Release on Green Goods and Service Jobs

On September 28, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released another of its series of reports on green jobs. Occupational Employment and Wages in Green Goods and Services Summary provides data based on a sample of approximately 93,000 businesses in 333 industries. Using the BLS output approach to measuring green jobs, the GGS-OCC defines green jobs as “jobs in businesses that produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources”. See the report at: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/ggsocc.pdf and note item #2 in this issue re previous BLS releases: THE IMPORTANCE OF GREEN JOBS by Pollard at the Economic Policy Institute.

New Website to Share Green Policies in Ontario Municipalities

The Ontario Green Policy Hub, launched in October, offers a searchable on-line library of sustainability policies in Ontario municipalities. At launch, the website provides details about policies and programs in Toronto, Kitchener, Burlington, East Gwillimbury, York Region, and joint programs. Categories are: Community Design, Transportation, Green Infrastructure, Water Conservation, Energy, Waste Reduction, and Public Buildings. The OGPH was developed by the Municipal Leaders Forum of the Greater Toronto area chapter of the Canada Green Building Council. The Ontario Green Policy Hub is at: http://www.ogph.ca/ .

Tourism and Climate Change

A new report assesses the current situation regarding tourism and climate change, reviews existing national and international policies, and makes recommendations on priority areas for further action. Following a survey of OECD countries, the report found that policies on climate change mitigation were still in their infancy, with ambitious pledges of emissions reductions but a fundamental lack of “serious” tourism climate policy. Only one-third of the countries studied had identified tourism-related strategies and only five out of 44 had implemented any policies (apart from the EU ETS). None had implemented the comprehensive measures which the OECD recommends in this report. Climate Change and Tourism Policy in OECD Countries is a joint publication of the Organisation for Economic Development and the United Nations Environment Program; the lead author of the report is Stefan Gossling of the Research Centre for Sustainable Tourism, Western Norway Research Institute. The full report is available at: http://www.oecd.org/cfe/tourism/48681944.pdf

Climate Smart Agriculture

In Greening the Economy with Climate-Smart Agriculture, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), clarifies the evolving concept of “climate smart agriculture”, which includes both mitigation and adaptation. The paper was released at the Second Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change in Hanoi, Vietnam in September. See Greening the Economy with Climate-Smart Agriculture at: http://www.fao.org/docrep/016/ap401e/ap401e.pdf

Carbon Disclosure Report Ranks Corporate Performance Re Emissions Reductions

The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is an independent, business-oriented, not-for-profit organization which measures, discloses, manages and shares environmental information with the goals of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and promoting the sustainable use of water by businesses and cities. The 2012 editions of its three annual reports, released on September 12, are published “on behalf of 655 investors with assets of US$ 78 trillion”. The reports use voluntary responses to a CDP questionnaire to measure, analyze and score corporate efforts at carbon emissions reduction via a CDI Leadership Index. The reports provide information by sector, with ranked lists by company name. Top performing global companies are: Bayer, Nestle, BASF, BMW, and Gas Natural SDG. Among the 10 largest (by market cap) companies which did not respond to the CDP request for information: Apple, Berkshire Hathaway, Royal Bank of Canada, Caterpillar, and Amazon.com.

LINKS:

The Carbon Disclosure Project website is at: https://www.cdproject.net/en-US/Pages/HomePage.aspx

CDP Global 500 Climate Change Report 2012: Business resilience in an uncertain, resource-constrained world is at: https://www.cdproject.net/CDPResults/CDP-Global-500-Climate-Change-Report-2012.pdf (see intro at ) https://www.cdproject.net/en-US/Pages/global500.aspx

CDP S&P 500 Climate Change Report 2012 (U.S. companies) is at https://www.cdproject.net/CDPResults/CDP-SP500-2012.pdf

Measurement for Management: CDP Cities 2012 Global Report is available at: https://www.cdproject.net/CDPResults/CDP-Cities-2012-Global-Report.pdf