Green Week – the EU’s biggest annual event on environment policy from 29 May to 2 June – will throw the spotlight on the skills gaps and potential job opportunities in the emerging circular economy. The week's highlight will be the Green Jobs Summit on Tuesday and Wednesday – featuring Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, Commissioner for the Environment Karmenu Vella and Commissioner for Employment Marianne Thyssen, as well as green business entrepreneurs. It will explore the role of policy makers, social partners and businesses to make sure people have the right skills for a greener economy. The Summit will also see the LIFE Awards ceremony on Tuesday evening which this year celebrates 25 years of successful EU funding for environmental projects.
Today, green employment – up by 20 % since 2000 to reach 4.2 million jobs in 2014, with a total turnover of around EUR 700 billion – is permeating more sectors than ever. In addition to exploring how to facilitate green job creation, Green Week will showcase many concrete success stories from water resource management, energy efficient construction, renewable energy, eco-tourism and environment-sound urban planning.
Consider former mining company Umicore that now sources precious metals from old smartphones, dead batteries and industrial scrap. It can retrieve most of the gold contained in circuit boards and transform it into 99.9 % pure solid gold bars. Umicore is planning to add to its already 10 000-strong work force of technicians, operators, chemists, administrative staff and scientists.
Did you know, the Maltese Water Services Corporation has turned Malta into the first country in the Mediterranean to treat all its wastewater? Now the company’s engineers, hydrologists and other technical experts are working on recycling waste water into water for agriculture and industry instead of discharging it into the sea.
Meanwhile, Innogy SE is working for a greener future by offering sustainable energy products and helping customers to use power more efficiently. Already successful in Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Poland, Innogy SE now plans to expand outside Europe and grow its
40 000-strong work force, re-skilling traditional gas and coal sector workers along the route.
Dutch company Heliox has created fast-charging electric buses to help fight air pollution in cities. Its innovative batteries can recharge a bus in under five minutes. The technology is already in place in Finland, Luxembourg, France, Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany and is set to be exported further afield. Other examples demonstrating that green jobs are part of the mainstream economy today are IKEA, SUEZ Environment and QualiBuild.
Through specially-themed days, Green Week will include a major policy conference in Brussels as well as online debates, twitter chats and events across Europe to showcase emerging green jobs. The programme and some key highlights are as follows:
Monday sees the official opening event in Malta and focuses on jobs in our countryside. It explores how EU policy is stimulating the creation of green jobs in nature restoration, farming, and eco-tourism.
Tuesday puts the spotlight on the water sector. Is EU environmental policy encouraging innovation in the water sector making sure water is preserved as a precious resource in the circular economy? It will also be day one of the Green Jobs Summit with the Green LIFE Awards ceremony in Brussels.
Wednesday: Working for a greener future: examines how, as part of the circular economy, companies and SMEs can expand their markets and create new jobs while transforming existing ones. EU funds are helping to provide training that closes the skills gaps in this transition.
Thursday: Green blue jobs for oceans: looks at jobs in marine and coastal protection and restoration, aquaculture, tourism and ocean energy. Thursday features a high-level event on ‘skills needs in an evolving maritime green economy’.
Friday: Green jobs in your cities: Sustainable urban development ensures cities become more liveable while stimulating innovation and creating green jobs. Green Week closes with the European Green Capital and European Green Leaf awards ceremony in this year's European Green Capital Essen.
Green Week – from 29 May to 2 June 2017 - is organised by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Environment. This key event in the environment policy calendar attracts policy-makers, leading environmentalists, stakeholders and other interested parties from across Europe and the globe.
You can also check out the Daily Report published each day during the week and follow #EUGreenWeek on social media.
To watch selected Green Week sessions, please check the Europe by Satellite schedule from Monday 29 May to Friday 2 June.