Local Employment and Economic Development (LEED Programme)

Improving the effectiveness of green local development initiatives


A LEED project for 2012


Objective / Rationale / Issues / Methods / Outputs / Contact



This project aims at identifying approaches to support the adaptation of the public sector to the green economy in view of removing the barriers to the emergence and expansion of greener practices and activities in the private sector. These approaches will look at ways in which the public sector can improve the quality of advice and services offered to enterprises (e.g. market prospection), workers (e.g. skills assessment) and the civil society (e.g. communication) to stimulate the green economy.

This study is proposed within the framework of the OECD Green Growth Strategy.



The public sector can play an important role in facilitating the transition to a green economy and in stimulating the development of greener practices, not only leading by example but also if there is enough capacity to act as broker between the market opportunities and the businesses.

In particular, the public sector plays a key role in effectively communicating:

  • The market opportunities emerging from moving towards a green economy;
  • The adjustments needed for industry to comply with new policies and regulations; as well as
  • The programmes and support schemes available for businesses to grow in the green economy.  

Preliminary findings of the OECD LEED project on Climate Change, Employment and Local Development have shown that the public sector has little understanding of the green economy and the opportunities arising for the private sector. There is a clear lack of capacity within the administrations to provide high-quality services and orientation to the private sector about green economy developments. Public officials at national and local levels are often unaware of the possibilities to create and develop economic activity in the green economy, and those that have the information at hand do not always communicate it effectively.

The services offered and the quality of advice are not always adapted to the needs of the businesses in this new context. Moreover, the Interim Report of the OECD Green Growth Strategy supports that the limited absorptive capacity of recipient countries is often a stronger obstacle to technology adoption than the price of patented inventions itself. Hence, building local capacities to adopt and adapt new technology might be more effective for boosting the use of environmental inventions (OECD, 2011). 

In addition, public sector-led action such as the setting of procurement policies that encourage enterprises to provide greener goods and services as a condition of securing contracts to supply the public sector, could be successful in stimulating a greener approach to doing business. Other initiatives such as technical assistance or early ‘green’ skills identification could have a positive impact on businesses. However, the effectiveness of this depends on the capacities of the administrations to understand what is at stake, recognise the opportunities and transmit the right message.


Issues to be addressed

This project will look at how to improve the understanding of key public officials on the green economy and its opportunities in order to facilitate the transition of industry to a low carbon economy and stimulate green growth.

Issues to be addressed will concentrate on innovative capacity-building approaches tailored to public officials aiming at, among others:


Facilitating their understanding of the green economy.


Ensuring they recognise the stakes and opportunities.


Raising their awareness of the role of the public sector (e.g. through procurement).


Providing them with tools to assess transferrable skills in the labour market.


Communicating effectively the green market opportunities and regulations.


Enhancing their capacity to act as brokers between the industry and the green economy .


Managing the transition of industries to green economy.



The methodology of this project includes an extensive analysis of the practices and approaches adopted across the OECD that have proven to have a positive impact on building capacities and raising awareness of administrations, supporting the expansion of green developments and facilitating the transition of the private sector to a greener economy.

Drawing on LEED’s extensive network of local development agencies (LDA) and given their role in the economy, this project will include the preparation of a survey targeted to LDA across the OECD. Local government networks and associations will also be a target of this project.

Given the importance of tourism as one of the more labour intensive sectors in all OECD economies, the survey will also target local tourism authorities across the OECD (in collaboration with the OECD Tourism Committee).



The findings of the survey and the literature review will be analysed and synthesised in an OECD report on Improving the Effectiveness of Green Local Development Initiatives to be prepared in 2012.



For further information about the project please contact Dr. Cristina Martinez at the OECD Secretariat.