United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Major Group: Workers & Trade Unions

RIO+20 Intersessional
Discussion on Green Economy
Workers and Trade Unions Major Group
What does the green economy have to achieve to be accepted by workers all over the
planet? What must it include for it to also be our flag?
From the trade unions we welcome a term which highlights that we have to count on
increasingly scarce natural resources and that proposes using them in the best way possible.
Evidently this is not sufficient to define an economy toward which we want to lean, but we
believe it is completely necessary as a starting point. We will certainly not support a neoliberal
green economy but we will be happy to support:
- A green economy that delivers social progress and for that purpose it will be good to
start measuring social progress and not GDP. A green economy has to satisfy human
needs in the long term, universally... water, food, housing, health, education, transport,
- A green economy that is based on equity. The green economy has to reduce the
differences between developed and developing countries: we will not support a green
economy that increases existing gaps. Funds have to be provided in their appropriate
scale, we support and understand the concerns of developing countries.
- But we also want the green economy to be an opportunity for greater equity within
countries. Most of the countries and regions here have been growing unequally during
the last decades. And the inequality has increased equally in the North and the South.
The green economy should be an opportunity to reverse this trend and should not leave
anyone behind: young people, women, low skilled workers and poor.
We have to come back to a real economy and move away from a speculative economy: we
need a real green economy. Two years ago governments came with interesting proposals when
the economic crisis exploded: they did recognize that we had to come back to a real economy
that focused on people and the planet. The labour movement sees with dismay the opposition
of certain governments to a financial transaction tax that could bring revenues in time of fiscal
trouble to steer the transition to a green economy and could also reduce speculation. For being
transformational Rio + 20 has to put into place the instruments that allow governments to follow
their own recipes, to help them to do what they say, and measures to provide the appropriate
resources, such as the FTT, are key.
The green economy has to be a profoundly pro-jobs agenda : green and decent jobs are very
good examples of the integration of the 3 pillars of sustainable development, at the same time,
they are a core part of a green economy.
- The green economy should create new jobs, in the North, in the South and in an increasing
number of sectors.
- The green economy has to respect the rights of workers. We will flight for a transition that will
bring job security and a just transition for the redundant workers.
- The green economy should extend social protection: in order to advance toward a green
economy to resilient societies, jobs in the health sector, in the education, in the social security
system are green jobs as important to building resilient societies as those in the renewable
energy sectors. And that is very important for the green economy in the context of poverty
eradication and sustainable development, but unfortunately it has not been addressed as much
in the discussions.
- The green economy has to promote social dialogue. We need to enhance our capacity to act
collectively: transparency and social accountability, social dialogue and informed participation of
all groups are as important for the transition as the concrete economic investments.
We will keep on working for having these objectives at the heart of the green economy and at
the heart of the discussions and preparations for Rio + 20.