Climate Change

The ESF-Works Climate change Theme focuses on new jobs and new skills to provide opportunities, and takes an in-depth look at the employment and skills aspects of moving to a low-carbon economy.

Europe 2020, EU’s growth strategy for the next 10 years, outlines ambitious objectives to achieve a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy. Specific targets around climate change and energy use, to be reached by 2020, will ensure the development of a more resource efficient, green and competitive economy.

Sustainable growth means:

  • building a more competitive low-carbon economy that makes efficient, sustainable use of resources
  • protecting the environment, reducing emissions and preventing biodiversity loss
  • capitalising on Europe's leadership in developing new green technologies and production methods
  • introducing efficient smart electricity grids
  • harnessing EU-scale networks to give our businesses - especially small manufacturing firms - an additional competitive advantage
  • improving the business environment, in particular for SMEs
  • helping consumers to make well-informed choices.

Specific targets relating to sustainable growth are:

  1. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% compared to 1990 levels by 2020. The EU is prepared to go further and reduce by 30% if other developed countries make similar commitments and developing countries contribute according to their abilities, as part of a comprehensive global agreement.
  2. Increasing the share of renewables in final energy consumption to 20%.
  3. Moving towards a 20% increase in energy efficiency.

These ambitious targets present an opportunity for ESF to work with organisations in the development of new skills and new jobs within the emerging green sector to meet current legislation and future targets. Projects included on ESF-Works addressing the skills implications of a greener economy focus on the following areas:

Hands caring for the planet
  • Construction and Environmental Services
  • Influencing procurement and supply chains
  • Raising awareness of green issues
  • Working with employers to develop their workforce
  • Working with unemployed people to increase employability skills
  • Increased demand on more traditional skills.

Recent evaluation of The European Social Fund’s contribution to environmental issues, published in July 2011, shows that sustainable development and green jobs are benefitting from ESF investment, with the provider base increasingly delivering operational improvements. However, ESF’s contribution to Europe 2020’s goal of a green industrial revolution as the solution for future growth needs more specific support, drawing on lessons from the case studies summarised in the report – many featured in depth on ESF-Works, including Gateway to Suscon; Greenways to Work; and Eco-Advantage.