Green and Growth go together


Remarks by Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General

Meeting of the Council at Ministerial Level - Session 3: Green and Growth go together

OECD Conference Center, 25 May 2011, 15h15



Distinguished Leaders, Ladies and Gentlemen:

The launch of our Green Growth Strategy is a landmark in the history of this Organisation.

It is a great pleasure to present this report with Prime Minister Kim-Hwang-sik of Korea.  His country has been a beacon for us all in leading on Green Growth.

An Actionable Framework

The Strategy provides an actionable framework for addressing the twin challenges of expanding economic opportunities, while reducing environmental pressures that could seriously undermine our ability to seize those opportunities.

It brings together three deliverables:

  • A synthesis report Towards Green Growth  which makes the economic case for green growth and sketches the policy frameworks to make it happen;
  • A toolkit, Delivering on Green Growth;
  • And last, but not least, a report on indicators to measure progress.This is work in progress. This is why this report puts forward an ambitious measurement agenda.

Let me briefly highlight some key recommendations.


One size does not fit all, but some principles apply broadly

Green growth is not about piece-meal measures - we need a transformational change in our economic model of growth.

  • We need wider application of price signals to reflect the true value of natural resources, the costs of pollution, and provide the right incentives to change behaviour and encourage innovation. Environmental fiscal reform is key. Higher environmental taxes, for example, combined with lower taxes on labour can be a successful strategy for growth-oriented tax reform. Phase-out of subsidies on fossil fuels, is also critical. India and Indonesia are setting a strong example.

  • Price signals, however, are not sufficient by themselves. We need complementary regulations and performance standards that address pollution or energy efficiency.

  • We also need to scale-up green innovation and make it shared across national borders.  Governments have a critical role through funding research, targeting barriers to early-stage development, and accelerating technology transfer. We also need to provide the long-term policy certainty to business to mobilise their talent and resources for green innovation.

  • At the same time we need to guard against any downside risks or unintended consequences. Greener growth will see new jobs created, but we need suitable labour market policies to facilitate the re-allocation of workers from contracting to expanding sectors. We also need to address any distributional consequences through targeted compensatory measures, for example to low income households.  Finally, we need to monitor green investment measures to ensure that they are not used as disguised protectionism.

Implementation: Where the Rubber hits the Road


The implementation of green growth at the country level needs to mirror the multi-sectoral approach we have taken at the OECD to develop this Strategy. This also implies a leading role for Ministries of Economy and Finance to ensure that the contribution of natural capital to growth is captured in economic policy making.

But our job at the OECD does not end here. We will continue to work on indicators to monitor progress. We will tailor the Strategy to provide country and sector specific guidance. And we intend to make Green Growth an integral part of our Economic Surveys.

I very much hope that the recommendations of the OECD Green Growth Strategy reach as many countries as possible. And we count on your help.


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