What are good, green jobs?

Good, green jobs include work that helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), protects nature and improves wellbeing 1, 2, 3, while aiming to provide fair wages, safe working conditions, and stable employment. Good, green jobs can vary across regions due to cities’ unique economic conditions; what works for one city and its residents may not be suitable for another. Good, green jobs are found in various sectors like construction, transportation, energy, waste management, healthcare, and other emerging industries.

At present, not all green jobs are good jobs, nor are they accessible to everyone. Cities are taking action to address this, assessing their local economies and conducting pilot projects to better understand and meet the needs of their specific contexts. The goal is to ensure that everyone benefits from the transition to an inclusive and sustainable economy with green job opportunities.


Growing resilience in Quezon City

Tatay Sablay is a farmer with Quezon City’s Grow QC programme.

Tatay Sablay says he’s proud to be a farmer, as his good, green job helped the community access food during the pandemic.

A still from C40's #GreenJobsNow film from the City Stories series showing a worker from Quezon City in an urban farm.
Empowering women in Salvador’s solar industry

Tainá is a solar engineer whose job is part of the Salvador Solar programme.

Tainá finds happiness and fulfilment in her good, green job, and proudly demonstrates how women can thrive in the clean energy sector.

A still from C40's #GreenJobsNow film from the City Stories series showing a solar installation worker from Salvador smiling to camera.
Building a greener Seattle

Yaharia is a construction apprentice employed as part of Seattle’s Green New Deal.

Yaharia says her good, green job means she no longer has to worry about making rent, and she can help take care of her mother in her retirement.

A still from C40's #GreenJobsNow film from the City Stories series showing a construction worker from Seattle smiling to camera.

Why do we need more good, green jobs now?

According to C40 research, for C40 cities to contribute their fair share towards reducing emissions and limiting global heating to 1.5°C, 50 million green jobs are urgently needed. Green jobs will help create healthier, fairer communities with lower unemployment and rejuvenated economies that are no longer tied to fossil fuels.

Mayors showed their commitment to help drive the creation of 50 million good, green jobs by 2030 at the 2022 C40 World Mayors Summit. By investing in the skills of the future and prioritising sustainable workforce development, cities can provide well-paying and accessible employment opportunities to marginalised communities while reducing emissions and meeting climate targets.

Check C40’s green jobs analysis published in September 2023 for the latest data on green jobs in C40 cities.


30 % more jobs, compared to a “business-as-usual” approach
US$280 billion in savings from health-related costs
30 % reduction in air pollution, protecting health and reducing GHG emissions
Source: https://www.c40.org/news/50-million-green-jobs-by-2030/

What makes cities key to green job creation?

Representing 80% of global GDP, cities are the ideal good, green job creation hubs and are uniquely positioned to bridge the skills gap. As the closest level of government to workers, youth, communities, and businesses, cities play a vital role in addressing the challenges posed by climate breakdown and helping stakeholders to benefit from the opportunities of the green and just transition.

C40 cities are already delivering on ambitious climate action plans that include shovel-ready, long-term projects, supporting workforce skills assessments, and implementing training programmes to create equitable and sustainable job opportunities. Accra, Jakarta, and Rio de Janeiro are integrating informal workers to improve their working conditions, wages, and job security. Other cities, like Bogotá and Seattle, are providing training and recruitment opportunities for women, people of colour, and other marginalised groups.

Good, green jobs tracker

Access the interactive dashboard on C40’s Knowledge Hub to explore city actions that drive green job creation and workforce development in the sectors of the future.

Still from the C40 explainer video "What is a Green Job?" animated by Rosanna Wan
© Rosanna Wan


C40 offers a range of practical resources, including implementation guides, factsheets, case studies and more, to support decision-makers in delivering equitable and sustainable employment opportunities. 

Access the practical tools below to learn more about how and why we urgently need to create good #GreenJobsNow.