The transition to a green economy is becoming a much more pressing issue in light of recent events that have led to the energy crisis. The economic slowdown in the post-pandemic period and the military conflict in Ukraine have contributed significantly to accelerating this process. Experts from the Institute of Economics of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, in collaboration with colleagues from Malta, Italy, Poland, Luxembourg and Lithuania, explored the main expectations of labour market actors towards a green transformation in a survey carried out in early 2022.
This survey is one of the activities of INTERCEPT (motIvating mobilIzIng supporTing nEets gReen CarEer PaThway), a project which benefits from a € 2.18M grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment. The main objective of the project is to develop an innovative scheme to help young people aged 25-29 who are not active in the labour market to take advantage of training opportunities to gain employment in the green economy.
"The concept of green transistion is one of the major trends also in the post-pandemic recovery of the European economy. In addition to environmental aspects, this process also involves the creation of green jobs. These jobs contribute, for example, to improving energy efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, minimising waste and pollution, or protecting and restoring ecosystems," explained Ivan Lichner from the Institute of Economics of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, who, together with his colleagues from the Institute, compiled the results of the survey into a study on expectations related to the green transformation in the Slovak Republic.
The results of the survey showed that from the respondents' point of view, the most important driver of the green transformation process will be changes in envirnomental policy regualtions. On the contrary, the lowest impact on the course of the green transformation is expected to be due to consumer demand. "As up to 69% of respondents were from employers, it can be said that consumer behaviour significantly less reflected the trends of "greening" at the time of the survey", added the economist.
In terms of sectoral level, respondents expected that the renewable energy sector will be the biggest contributor to the green transformation process in the country. Agriculture and forestry came second with a significantly lower share. Although, these results are in line with international findings and thus point towards relatively rational expectations in the Slovak environment.
Also, respondents do not expect significant negative impacts on employment. On the contrary, the survey reveals moderate optimism about job creation or adaptation as a result of the green transformation process.