Table of Contents

  • In discussing and planning for greener growth, a fundamental question is how to measure, compare and keep track of how “green” companies, sectors and countries are, and how the results of green growth policies can be accounted for and evaluated.

  • Several international initiatives have been made to produce statistics on “green” activities, such as green sectors, jobs and technologies, among them the UN and the Eurostat as the core institutions. Environmental authorities and policy makers ask for information to perform international comparisons, to track environmental progress in sectors and the economy as a whole and to demonstrate the effects of environmental policies. Countries with high unemployment seek new business opportunities to stimulate employment and economic growth.

  • A transition to a future with lower greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental damages in the Nordic countries as well as in the rest of the world in the coming decades, calls for a greening of the economy, i.e. more environmentally friendly production processes and technologies. Education will be important to increase environmental awareness and resource efficient innovation.

  • This chapter presents and discusses the main initiatives made to measure the green aspects. The main initiative is the UN/Eurostat definition of the Environmental Goods and Services Sector (EGSS). The EGSS is planned to be incorporated in the UN System of Integrated Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA), and to become the international statistical standard from 2012 onwards. We also emphasise the US Bureau of Labor Statistics measurements of Green jobs, since this initiative is rather specific regarding the included statistics and particularly emphasizes the employment aspect. Also, we look into the joint initiative by United Nations Environment Programme, the International Labor Organization and the International Trade Union Confederation in measuring Green jobs, and the Metropolitan Policy Program measurements of the US Clean economy.

  • In this chapter, we aim to analyse whether the proposed statistics in the UN/Eurostat/BLS initiatives provide relevant answers to the intentions behind the statistical initiatives. First, we start out with an attempt to summarize the intentions as expressed in the frameworks discussed above (3.1). Then we summarize main characteristics of the statistics (3.2). Finally, (in 3.3) we discuss whether the statistics (3.2) are suitable to give answers to the stated need for data (3.1).

  • The EGSS, BLS and other initiatives made to measure green activities divide the economy into one green sector, and, implicitly, a non-green sector. There are several problems with this delimitation, as we will outline below.

  • This chapter contains a review of the relevant statistical initiatives, concepts and quantifications in the Nordic countries.

  • In Denmark, the Ministry of Finance produces long-term forecasts of the Danish Economy for use in the development of long-term finance policy. The latest official macro-economic forecast dates from 2007 as basis for the Plan 2015 (Danish Ministry of Finance 2007). The present report has been granted access to a more recent forecast, which was used by the Danish Energy Agency to predict emissions in their Energy Strategy 2050 (Regeringen, 2011).

  • Generally there has been a growth in the demand for labour with high skills and educational levels over the past decades, as a consequence of increased globalisations and technological progress, see for instance Bjørnstad et al. (2010). This trend is likely to continue, regardless of technologies in focus. A transition towards a more environmentally friendly economy might also require more specific competences. Both for students deciding on what education to choose and for authorities planning educational capacity, it is important to have a good understanding of future demand and supply of labour.

  • As we have argued in Chapter 3 and 4, it is not possible to make consistent divisions between “green jobs”, “green sectors” and “clean economy” and, implicitly, “non-green jobs”, “non-green sectors” and “dirty economy”. The initiatives to measure green activities seem to be motivated by a need of insight into the level and potentials of environmental pressure, environmental responses, and the economic and employment responses. A categorization of “green” and “non-green” activities is unfit for such analyses, as the delineation is subjective, and the conclusions are predetermined during the categorization process.

  • This report looks into the attempts to single out the green activities, such as green sectors, green businesses and green jobs. We conclude that it is theoretically and empirically impossible to make consistent frameworks for such a division of the economy into green and non-green activities.