Governments must look to the green economy to find new sources of growth and jobs. They should put in place policies that tap into the innovation, investment and entrepreneurship driving the shift towards a greener economy.
Green growth makes economic as well as environmental sense. In natural resource sectors alone, commercial opportunities related to investments in environmental sustainability could run into trillions of dollars by 2050.
The OECD Green Growth Strategy, and the new report, Towards Green Growth, provide a practical framework for governments to boost economic growth and protect the environment.
“This report shows that green and growth can go together,” said the OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. “With the right policies in place, we can create jobs, increase prosperity, preserve our environment and improve the quality of life. All at the same time.”
Two broad sets of policies are essential elements in any green growth strategy: the first set mutually reinforces economic growth and the conservation of natural capital, including core fiscal and regulatory settings and innovation policies. The second includes policies that provide incentives to use natural resources efficiently and make pollution more expensive.
Replacing natural capital with physical capital is expensive and the infrastructure needed to clean polluted water can be costly, but the cost of inaction can be higher still. Greening growth now, the report argues, is necessary to prevent further erosion of natural capital, such as increased scarcity of water and other resources, more pollution, climate change, and biodiversity loss, all of which can undermine future growth.
In addition to the Synthesis Report, the document Tools for Delivering on Green Growth outlines options available to policy makers for developing green growth strategies. The report Towards Green Growth – Monitoring Progress: OECD Indicators outlines ways to measure progress.
The OECD will continue to support national and global efforts to promote green growth in the run-up to the Rio+20 Conference. Going forward, OECD will integrate green growth into national reviews and in future work on indicators, toolkits, sectoral studies and development co-operation.