We associate the color green with hope or a traffic light to go ahead. In fact, psychologists agree that the simple vision of this color, intermediate between yellow and blue, provides tons of serenity. But above all, we think of green and a world full of nature comes into our minds.

If only a couple of decades ago, in the early years of the new century, we would have asked someone about what green employment means, it is most likely that the response obtained would not have implied much more than a park ranger or something similar. And it would not be a bad option, but it would remain insufficient.

Green employment in the sustainable economy

That same respondent would have thought we were crazy if, predicting the future, we would have advanced to the following figures: 400,000 new jobs in Europe, more than 50,000 only in Spain and almost 18 million around the world. That is the estimate made by the European Commission in the case that all the legislation enforced about waste would be applied in a real way.

Today, green employment is becoming, with every passing second, a magnificent job opportunity. So, roughly speaking, we could define it as that which has as an absolute objective so lofty as protecting the planet. And how can such a laudable goal be achieved? Basically by reducing the impact that human action itself, especially through large companies, provokes in the natural environment.

Within this sector, the most demanded areas are those related to energy efficiency, waste management, pollution prevention and many others included in what we know as Corporate Social Responsibility of companies. Ecological agriculture, environmental communication, sustainable tourism and eco-design are some of the most innovative fields that green employment already places in a powerful place of the supply and demand market.

Programs and aid for green employment

Empleaverde Program

To achieve this goal, the Ministry of Ecological Transition, through the Biodiversity Foundation and co-financed by the European Social Fund, has just published a new call for grants of the empleaverde program, which has 9.4 million euros for projects aimed at promoting the transition. Of this amount, 90% may be used in the main territories of the energy transition, and in particular in the coal regions.

This year new subjects have been included on which special emphasis will be placed such as the management, environmental improvement and eco-innovation in industry or companies, the industrial restructuring to environmentally sustainable activities and the fight against the depopulation in rural areas.

The Empleaverde Program plans to allocate 67 million euros until the year 2023, of which more than 10 million will be destined to boost the blue economy. Thus, it is intended to create 600 jobs and support 400 companies, as well as to train more than 3,200 people in sectors linked to the sea.

This public state program has co-financed 339 projects to date, has collaborated with 500 organizations and has supported 1,300,000 million recipients, creating 2,600 companies and lines of business in economic sectors linked to the environment. Figures will be increased, since annual calls will be published until 2022. In total, we plan to support more than 50,000 people and 3,000 companies during this period.

Banco Santander, the world’s first in green financing

Banco Santander is deeply involved in the field of sustainable development. The entity was the first bank in the world by number of operations of green financing in 2018 and second by volume, according to the ranking elaborated by Dealogic.

And this year, if the current trends do not change, which they probably will not, Santander will not only repeat, but improve these honors because in 2019 the bank has participated, through Santander Corporate and Investment Banking (SCIB), in operations such as the green financing of Forestalia (for the construction of ten wind farms in Aragón) and Ence Energía (for the acquisition of a solar thermal plant in Puerto Llano).

This year also corresponds with the issuing of the first green bonds of ICO and Telefónica, and several financings linked to the sustainability performance of other large companies such as Acciona, Gestamp, Iberdrola and Meliá.

Banco Santander’s commitment to society and the fight against climate change is also reflected in the group’s recent announcement to eliminate all single-use plastics in all its buildings in the world before 2021. In addition, the objective is to ensure that 60% of the electricity consumed is renewable, in order to reach 100% in 2025 in all those countries where it is possible to certify the origin of the energy.

Nature Program

In any case, Banco Santander is not alone in future projects, but reinforces its commitment to society and the environment through its Nature Program. Over the past year, more than 450 volunteers, among employees, pre-retired and retired, along with their families and customers, have collected more than a ton of waste, garbage and plastics from different Galician coasts and Ribera del Guadiana. All this with the main image of a luxury ambassador, the swimmer Mireia Belmonte. The next objective is for Natura to reach many other parts of the country.

Entrepreneurship in the green sector

With this absolute relevance of sustainable development, there are many young entrepreneurs who put all their hope in creating green jobs with good ideas and efficient business plans. That number is increasing every day and it is not going to stop. Among the Spanish start-ups with most outstanding eco-ideas are some such as:

  • Ecoalf, a sustainable fashion company whose business model is based on manufacturing high quality garments and design using recycled materials.
  • Goyti, which designs and manufactures electric vehicles made of renewable materials such as bamboo, wood, hemp or flax.
  • Sheedo is the project of four entrepreneurs who decided to revolutionize the paper industry and to do that, they managed to replace cellulose with residual cotton, machines with people and chemical elements with seeds.
  • Navlandis is a project located in Valencia that bets on the construction and elaboration of folding maritime containers to save costs in the transport when they go empty.
  • Biomival, or the bet for transforming plastic waste and converting it into low-sulfur fuel for industry and agriculture by reducing emissions up to 20%.

The top-ten of the most demanded green jobs

The Eroski Foundation made the last list of the ten most demanded green. Published in 2012, it is old and in some ways has lost its validity, but even so works to check the fast speed that the sector has taken in the last decade.

That particular ranking was led by agriculture and organic farming, followed by environmental engineering, control and prevention of pollution, eco-design, eco-entrepreneurship, renewable energies, in particular wind and hydropower, building rehabilitation, corporate social responsibility and energy services.

It is interesting to see how, over time, some of these most demanded jobs have become real emergency exits for sectors terribly hit by the crisis. Thus, for example, the rehabilitation of buildings and everything related to energy certification has served to alleviate, although it has been in a light measure, the terrible consequences suffered by the construction sector during the crisis in 2007.

Environmental science training

In order to comply with any of the previously mentioned measures, the ideal way is to bet on training. Obviously, many of them not only require a specific learning environment, but other elements in environmental training. The most demanded university degrees in sustainable development are in environmental sciences, in the first place, followed by Biology, Marine Sciences, Forestry Engineering and Geology.

At an official level and from the Ministry for the Ecological Transition, the Spanish Government’s green policy is committed to promoting sustainable economic activities in all sectors, promoting a fair transition to a low economy in carbon and circular, integrating biodiversity in management and business processes and making a more efficient use of natural resources. All this is with the aim of constituting an engine of sustainable economic growth and social progress, or, in other words, promoting entrepreneurship in the green sector.