A green recovery could create as many as 400m jobs by 2030

As scientists and business leaders from different industries, as well as religious and medical institutions, have recently stressed, driving a post-pandemic economic recovery that focuses on the environment is paramount in our efforts to solve the climate crisis. Now, a report brings in new data on the actual benefits of such a course of action and what we should focus on in order to get the most out of it.

Published by the Economic World Forum, the report underlines that tackling the global nature crisis could create 400m jobs and $10tn in business value each year by 2030, that is if we are to avoid taking a business-as-usual approach towards recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.

The report, from the New Nature Economy project, published by the WEF, says a nature-first approach from business and political leaders will be a jobs-first solution. Akanksha Khatri, head of WEF’s Nature Action Agenda, said: “Nature can provide the jobs our economies need. There is nothing stopping businesses and governments from implementing these plans today, at scale, to re-employ millions.”

The WEF report proposes a range of measures for boosting jobs and economies, including cutting food waste by providing metal silos and crates to keep food from rotting. Better management of wild fish too could boost catches and add 14m jobs and $170bn in value, it says. It also stresses the importance of ending the $2bn subsidies given daily to agriculture which damage the planet.

As for urban development, retrofitting the built environment to increase energy efficiency could save $825bn by 2030, the report says, while the market for urban green roofs is already worth $9bn and could grow rapidly.

Renewable energy is also a huge investment opportunity and already matches the cost of fossil fuels in 30 countries, while the use of human sewage as an energy source is rising. WEF acknowledged that some workers in unsustainable industries would lose their jobs and urged governments to take the appropriate measures to ensure that the transition to a green economy was fair to all.

The organization estimates that that $2.7tn of annual investment is required to fund all the opportunities identified in the report, a sum similar to the stimulus package announced by the US in March.

Jennifer Morris, head of The Nature Conservancy, a US-based organization, said: “Nature simply cannot afford for us to waste any more time. None of this will be easy, system change at this scale never is. But WEF’s report underlines that it is our collective responsibility to transform the ways in which we eat, live, grow, build, and power our lives.”

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