Green growth and sustainable development

OECD Green Growth Newsletter July 2012 (Issue Sixteen)




The OECD Green Growth Newsletter keeps OECD Committees and other stakeholders informed about the OECD’s green growth activities.


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Follow-up to the Rio+20 summit

Rio+20 outcomes 

“We acknowledge that green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication will enhance our ability to manage natural resources sustainably and with lower negative environmental impacts, increase resource efficiency and reduce waste.” - Rio+20 outcome document: The future we want.

The outcomes of the Rio+20 conference identify many areas for further work to move towards sustainable development and a greener economy. The OECD stands ready to assist countries to tailor green growth to their specific circumstances in areas including, for example, reforming fossil fuel subsidies, greening jobs and skillsinnovation, and ensuring the necessary financing is provided. Through its work programme on measuring well being and progress beyond GDP, including developing and applying green growth indicators, the OECD is supporting countries in tracking their progress. This will also contribute to future efforts on elaborating Sustainable Development Goals – a key outcome of Rio+20. Read more about the OECD’s contribution to Rio+20.

Rio+20 was also an opportunity to bring together people from around the world working on many exciting initiatives which are contributing to building greener economies. The OECD organised four side-events at Rio+20 and participated in over 40 others. Also see the latest OECD Insights blog on Rio+20: Rio+20: Half full or half empty?

Green Growth and Sustainable Development Forum, Save the date: 23 November 2012

The first Green Growth and Sustainable Development Forum will be held on 23 November 2012 in Paris. The main objective of the Forum is to facilitate multidisciplinary dialogue among experts from relevant OECD Committees and major stakeholders including other international organizations, business and civil society on key issues relating to green growth and sustainable development. The topic and agenda of the meeting will be announced closer to the time. Discussion will also take place on the International Green Growth Dialogue online platformSee access information.



Focus on greening jobs and skills

A successful transition towards green growth will create new opportunities for workers, but also new risks. The challenge for labour market and skill policies is to support a smooth reallocation of workers between sectors to maximise the benefits for workers and help assure a fair sharing of adjustment costs. Strengthening initial education and vocational training can support eco-innovation and the diffusion of green technologies. Reforming tax and benefit systems for workers can make sure that cost pressures generated by environmental policies do not become a barrier to employment.   

Overall the transformation of existing jobs and the way firms operate can bring new opportunities for new or enhanced products and knowledge-intensive services for a greener economy.



Labour market and skill policies can also support broader green growth policies by speeding the transition towards environmentally sustainable production patterns. Proactive training policies can minimise skill bottlenecks in rapidly expanding sectors such as renewable energy. Policies at the sectoral and local levels can have a significant role to strengthen industrial ecologies in local labour markets where firms, workers, social partners and education and vocational training organizations interact. The new OECD Employment Outlook 2012 features a chapter on the policy challenges posed by green growth for jobs. Read more about greening jobs and skills.


Green growth in action: China

Germany, the third largest economy in the OECD, has been proactive in developing ambitious environmental policies during the last decades, both nationally and internationally. The country’s strong environmental framework makes it not only a pioneer in environmental protection and sustainable development, but also constitutes a good example on how a cleaner low-carbon economy is compatible with growth. Ambitious green growth programmes have helped Germany to significantly increase the energy, resource and carbon efficiency of the economy. According to the recent OECD Environmental Performance Review of Germany, the country has achieved one of the highest levels of resource productivity among OECD countries and is one of the few countries that achieved to reduce greenhouse gas emissions absolutely, while GDP continued to grow for much of the 2000s. 

Read more about green growth in action in Germany.

Chinese temple


Recent events

At the G20 Summit in Los Cabos just before Rio+20, green growth featured highly in the discussions.

“We highlight that green growth and sustainable development have strong potential to stimulate long term prosperity and well being. We welcome the report prepared by the OECD, the World Bank and the UN on incorporating green growth and sustainable development policies into structural reform agendas, tailored to specific country conditions and level of development. We also acknowledge the G20 efforts to voluntarily self-report on current actions taken to integrate green growth and sustainable development into structural reform agendas. We will self-report again in 2013, on a voluntary basis, and ask appropriate officials to report back on countries’ efforts and progress on incorporating green growth policies in structural reform agendas and in relevant national plans to promote sustainable development.” -  G20 Leaders Declaration, Los Cabos, 18-19 June 2012.  

The OECD co-authored three green growth reports which were submitted to the meeting:

  • Incorporating Green Growth and Sustainable Development Policies into Structural Reform Agendas, OECD, United Nations and World Bank    
  • A Toolkit of Policy Options to Support Inclusive Green Growth, AfDB, OECD, the UN and World Bank  
  • Pension Fund Financing for Green Infrastructure and Initiatives, OECD   

The OECD LEED Programme in collaboration with the Benelux Union and within the framework of the project on Indicators of Local Transition to Low-Carbon Economy organized two workshops on 11 and 12 June 2012 to examine two cross border regions of the Benelux Union and define indicators of an area-based transition to a low carbon economy in these regions, with focus on job-creation and economic development in specific cross border areas of growth and sustainable development. Key highlights from the meeting.

Recent publications

Just launched: The OECD Green Growth Papers complement the OECD Green Growth Studies, and aim to stimulate discussion and analysis on specific topics. Subjects covered so far include green growth and environmental governance in Eastern Europe, Caucasus, and Central Asia, the jobs potential of a shift towards a low-carbon economy, interactions between emission trading systems and other overlapping policy instruments, environmental claims, and greener and smarter ICTs.

>>Further reading

Compact City Policies: a Comparative Assessment


Upcoming events

For more information, see the green growth events calendar

This will be the last issue of the OECD Green Growth Newsletter for the time being.

Green growth work will continue throughout the OECD and we encourage you to visit for regular updates.

Best wishes, the Green Growth Unit.

International Green Growth Dialogue and GG-SD Forum discussion group site access


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Contact us

Nathalie Girouard, Green Growth and Sustainable Development Coordinator,

OECD Green Growth website | International Green Growth Dialogue site