ippr Green Jobs Summit
With the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation’s support, ippr is developing a ‘bottom-up’ strategy to promote quality green jobs in local areas. Following its scoping study, Green and Decent Jobs (PDF), ippr held a one-day Green Jobs Summit (PDF) in June. A distinguished panel of speakers talked about innovative ‘bottom up’ initiatives that are helping to provide new green employment opportunities both in the UK and the USA.
The summit brought together grassroots activists from across the UK to explore the potential for building new coalitions to push for decent and green jobs in their areas. Drawing on the experience of organisations like the Apollo Alliance and Centre on Wisconsin Strategy in the USA, as well as some innovative initiatives from the UK, the conference examined whether a ‘bottom-up’ approach to developing new ‘green-collar’ jobs opportunities could be successful in the UK and what lessons can be learned from experiences overseas.
• Barbara Byrd – Secretary Treasurer, Oregon Apollo Alliance, USA
• Joel Rogers – Director, Center on Wisconsin Strategy, USA
• Robin Oakley – Climate Campaign Manager, Greenpeace
• Matt Kepple – Youth Commission for Social Enterprise and Social Enterprise Ambassador
• David Still – Managing Director, Clipper Windpower Europe
• Sue Ferns, Head of Research, Prospect
• Maria Adebowale – Director, Capacity Global
• Jon Morris – Board member, Localise West Midlands
• Tess Gill – Commissioner for Work and Skills, Sustainable Development Commission (chair)
• Jeremy Leggett – Founder, Solar Century
The conference was attended by representatives from organisations with an interest in developing decent, low-carbon jobs, including: community-based organisations, social enterprises, local government, trade unions, charities and businesses from across the UK.
The summit provided an opportunity to discuss ways in which community-based organisations across the UK might work together in the future to help stimulate decent green jobs. While many speakers noted that ‘green’ jobs in the UK were not inevitable, there was still a sense of optimism that with committed leadership from central government and strong coalitions working at the grassroots level the UK could hope to see growing numbers of green job opportunities in the future.
It was also clearly acknowledged that ‘green’ jobs are not necessarily ‘good’ jobs and that government, businesses, unions and other third sector organisations will all have to play a role in making sure the new green economy is also a fair economy.
Green and Decent Jobs project
The conference was the culmination of a scoping study into the opportunities for creating green and decent local jobs across the UK, funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. As part of the project, ippr produced Green and Decent Jobs: The case for local action (PDF), a scoping paper setting out some of the projects underway in the US and what is already happening in the UK.
In the next phase of the work, also funded by the Foundation, ippr will assemble a group of organisations interested in taking this agenda forward and run a series of roundtables to examine in more detail the opportunities and challenges in creating local, green and decent jobs in the UK. It will also organise a learning exchange to the US to learn more about the many successful programmes operating over there. The final aim is to work with other organisations to set up a demonstration project that creates green and decent jobs for local people.