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Green Jobs will bring a wealth of opportunities to Wales
The draft Strategy - published yesterday (November 18) for wide ranging consultation - will seek to ensure that businesses in Wales will have access to expert advice and technology to make their operations more efficient in an increasingly carbon constrained economy.
In addition, the strategy will encourage suppliers of new and innovative sustainable products and services to take advantage of fresh business opportunities as the world becomes more climate conscious.
Today's announcement takes on an added resonance given the current economic climate. It forms part of a much broader range of measures designed to create a sustainable economy built on the firm foundations of sustainable businesses, sustainable technologies and sustainable employment.
These will make an important contribution to the way in which Wales deals with the current global financial and economic situation and places itself in a robust position to take advantage of future opportunities.
The growth of the 'green' technology and services sectors, sometimes called 'environmental goods and services’, has been rapid over the past five years; the sector is already estimated to be worth 9% of Welsh GDP.
Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones said:
We intend to create a market for a whole new era of 'Green Jobs' in Wales; jobs that contribute to a bright and green future for Wales.
Committing to sustainable development doesn't have to be a burden; in fact a wealth of economic opportunities and possibilities for new and improved jobs are coming about as companies take advantage of new markets and increasingly efficient business practices.
Welsh organisations can be market leaders in areas of green technology and services.
At the same time, we are acutely aware that carbon intensive businesses, such as metal manufacturers or energy generators, may feel threatened by the move towards low carbon. But it is our intention to work to retain these businesses in Wales, and support them to become more carbon efficient rather than risk their loss to countries with lower standards.
Environment, Sustainability & Housing Minister Jane Davidson added:
Climate change is the greatest challenge we face today. A key element of our efforts to tackle it will be the use of new technology which will bring new economic opportunities for Welsh companies.
Developing a strong Green Jobs strategy is essential if we are to have the skills base to be a leader in this area and make the best of the opportunities before us.
Wales led the world in energy development in the 19th century, our coal powered the industrial revolution that made the modern world. Now we have an opportunity to lead the way again with the new green technology revolution.
The draft strategy will be published for a period of consultation which will seek a wide range of views about its aims and objectives - before an implementation plan, based on response to the consultation, is finalised in early in 2009.
The Strategy, one of the priorities listed in the Assembly Government's ' One Wales ' programme, will bring together a range of activities to help organisations prepare themselves to tackle issues which might otherwise damage their business. The Strategy will also include actions to help companies take advantage of the opportunities that new business practices, regulatory pressures and changing consumer demand will bring.
Under the twin themes of the Strategy, the greening of existing businesses and jobs will bring together actions to help existing organisations improve their own efficiency and performance. Actions will include expert advice on process efficiency, more efficient premises, better waste and energy management and energy security.
The second theme - creating new job opportunities - will stimulate the development of new job and business opportunities which stem from the pursuit of a low carbon/low waste economy. Actions will include drawing on the work of the new Low Carbon Research Institute, a collaborative partnership between Welsh Universities, to develop future technologies and to test and demonstrate them in preparation for commercialisation by Welsh-based companies.
Said Ieuan Wyn Jones:
There is a great deal of evidence that 'greening' the economy not only makes good environmental sense - but offers considerable opportunities for businesses across Wales.