Monday, December 24, 2012

#MotionMonday: The Truth About Green Jobs

A GOOD KIND OF GREEN – Greening up the manufacturing space is obviously an important priority for businesses that value sustainability, lean manufacturing, improved efficiency and being better stewards of the environment. But there's a good kind of green that needs to be the focus, the kind that brings high-wage jobs in the long term to put our growing population to work. But when these "green" jobs require heavy government regulation and rely on subsidies, that ends up hurting the economy and stifling productivity.

The California Lutheran University Center for Economic Research and Forecasting recently released a report titled "The Truth About Green Jobs and California: A Review of the Costs, Risks and Trade-offs of Green Jobs Policies" that examines the difference between positive green job growth and its negative counterpart.

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"Many within the media, academic and the economic development communities have expressed enormous enthusiasm about the prospects for green jobs as a result of strong environmental legislation," the executive summary reads. "Indeed, many claim that increased environmental regulation is a key to a newfound prosperity."

The report's aim is to cut through the hype, it says, to separate fact from fiction in the discussion about green jobs and how to regulate manufacturing to promote sustainability.

"One issue is defining a 'Green Job,'" the review continues. "Since data are collected in a way that makes it difficult to identify green jobs, researchers tend to classify certain industries as 'Green.' This necessarily requires either grossly underestimating the positive impact of green jobs, if one is too selective, or grossly overestimating them if too inclusive."

The California Manufacturing and Technology Association piggybacked on the university study to conclude that the "right" green jobs wouldn't sacrifice California's existing job base.

The right green jobs, per CMTA, are "new green product manufacturers, research and development jobs and service jobs that relate to purchases and installation of new green systems."

The wrong type of green jobs?

"Jobs created by policies that make it harder to retain and grow high wage jobs or that burden consumers with high costs."

What do you think of the report's findings and the CMTA's conclusion about which types are positive for California's economic growth? Tell us in the comment box!