A green economy is defined as low carbon, resource-efficient and socially inclusive economy which aims at reducing environmental risks, managing ecological scarcities and aims for sustainable development without harming the environment. Basically, a green economy is driven by the desire to achieve growth in employment and income through investment which ensures that the infrastructure and assets allow reduced carbon emission and pollution, energy and resource efficiency is enhanced, and biodiversity is conserved.
Ensuring inter- and intra-generational equity and poverty reduction come under the objectives that a green economy tries to achieve. Policies concerning a green economy are designed in accordance with the interests of the minority communities and the economically backward groups.
Objectives of the green economy include ensuring of wealth and assets to the poorer segments of the population, equitable distribution of wealth between the current generation and totally sustainable development. Advocating good governance as an essential prerequisite for achieving sustainable development.
Green economists suggest that there is a need to have a stable and predictable macroeconomic environment in order to attract local and foreign investment. The environment of a green economy will be looked into with concern and be transparent and accountable. The role of efficient institutions and governance structures in ensuring the effective implementation of policies, plans, and programmes in connection to a green economy is very crucial. The process of transition to a green economy demands an all-new mindset as well as the ability of skilled professionals who can work for various sectors. It is necessary to prepare these calibres through training and formal education, and implementation of vocational training packages focused on greening the sectors. With the change in patterns of labour force, the education system to has to be modified with an aim to integrate the environmental and social factors in different disciplines.
Characteristics of Green Economy
Different international institutions have come up with various characteristics and nature of the green economy. Some of the general characteristics are:
- Green economy facilitates sustainable development
- It is resource and energy-efficient
- This economy creates decent work and green jobs.
- It respects planetary boundaries or ecological limits or scarcity.
- It involves integrated decision making.
- This economy measures progress beyond GDP using appropriate indicators/metrics.
- It is equitable, fair and just – between and within countries and between generations.
- It protects biodiversity and ecosystems.
- This economy delivers poverty reduction, well‐being, livelihoods, social protection and access to essential services.
- It improves governance and the rule of law. It is inclusive; democratic; participatory; accountable; transparent; and stable.
- The green economy internalizes externalities.
A green economy is thought to be based on three pillars – People, Profits and Planet. An economy needs to have healthy communities and thereby healthy workforce. Businesses that are part of the green economy needs to commit themselves to providing products and services which are ethical. It should also be made sure that the businesses do not exploit labour or decrease the quality of life by any means.
Businesses need to raise profits, making sure that the concept and ideas of sustainability are followed without fail. No business should in any way degrade the nature of its components on its run for profits.
A business that is part of a green economy should offer products and services which contribute to the regeneration to the planet. Efficient measures of waste disposal and energy management should be followed.
Principles of Green Economy
The concept of green economy is based primarily on different principles, such as:
- The Well-Being Principle – focuses on growing wealth that will support the wellbeing of all the citizens and is built on collective action for public goods, yet gives importance to individual choices
- The Justice Principle – the green economy aims at promoting equity within and between generations. It is inclusive, non-discriminatory and gives equal opportunity to all.
- The Planetary Boundaries Principle – It aims at safeguarding, restoring and investing in nature
- The Efficiency and Sufficiency Principle – It focuses on supporting sustainable consumption as well as sustainable production
- The Good Governance Principle – A green economy is guided by integrated, accountable and resilient institutions
- It delivers sustainable development in all aspects
- The Inclusion principle – This economy focuses on inclusive and participatory decision making
- The Resilience Principle – It aims at economic, social and environmental resilience
- The Intergenerational Principle – It invests for the future
According to Karl Burkart, a green economy is based on six main sectors.
- Renewable energy
- Green buildings
- Sustainable transport
- Water management
- Waste management
- Land management
Read: What is Sustainable Energy
There is an urgent need for a green economy for the following reasons:
- The initiative towards a green economy has been born out of several crises and resource scarcity
- This economy works towards sustainable development
- It can result in better social inclusion, decrease in poverty etc.
- This economy is a new economic paradigm that can result in the growth of income as well as jobs, without posing threats to the environment
- It is developed in common interest between both developed as well as developing countries around the world
There are different ways in which we can contribute to the making of a green economy.
- Establishment of frameworks to regulate sound
- Removal of harmful subsidies
- Prioritization of green investment
- Utilization of market mechanisms and taxation
- Building capacity through training and technology transfer
- Transformation of consumption patterns as a whole
- Poverty alleviation
- Engagement of the private sector
- Public awareness
Various governments can develop national development plans, and lay strategies in accordance with the principles of the green economy. Primary focus should be given to sectors like energy and agriculture, and low carbon systems should be ensured. Employment and growth of the economy should go hand-in-hand, in a full greenway. Labour market adjustments should be managed by the government. Thus, the green economy can make growth resilient to environmental degradation and climate change, ensure dignity and equity, lead sustainable development and ensure allocation of resources to everyone. As the nations are working hard towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of 2030, the concept and implementation of Green Economy is inevitable.