European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions
Together for decent work and fair pay from farm to fork

EU agriculture could generate 2 million genuine ‘green jobs’


On 1-2 October, EFFAT presented findings of a project supported by the European Commission on the development of green jobs in agriculture and their contribution to achieving the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy.

A key component of the project was a study by Réseau Projectives, which involved a survey of national agriculture trade unions throughout the EU and found that around two million new jobs could be created in the EU as a result of innovative approaches in green activities in the sector.

The study also outlined how the sector can prosper from the creation of green jobs, particularly by enhancing prospects for young people entering agriculture, allowing for greater workforce participation by women and older workers, and ensuring a sustainable future for the sector through the creation of well-trained workers.

For trade unions in the agriculture sector, the concept of ‘green jobs’ denotes not only the creation of new jobs and economic recovery through job creation, but also the need for better working conditions, worker participation in corporate development processes and the production of high-quality, durable goods.

“In a nutshell, ‘green jobs’ should improve the employment situation and conditions within society,” said EFFAT Political Secretary for the Agriculture Sector, Arnd Spahn.

“These jobs should not only appear ‘green’ from the outside, but must allow for worker participation and codetermination,” he said.

Moreover, the creation of green jobs must go hand-in-hand with health and safety requirements to mitigate any risks associated with new technologies required to perform ‘green jobs’.

Already, farm holdings are supplying raw materials for chemical processes and materials used for a range of purposes, like insulating homes.

The increased use of renewable energy crops could contribute to establishing a low-carbon economy in Europe, thereby helping to reduce the use of materials that damage the environment.

The same applies for the conversion of biological waste into power and heating sources in biogas plants, and the construction of wind and solar energy plants in the fields.

The increased and sustained use of these types of processes will not only generate employment, but will help to mitigate the environmentally damaging aspects of agricultural land use, help to reduce the energy used by farm holdings to run their operations, machines and installations or use self-generated energy, serve to generate energy in rural areas from renewable raw materials or renewable energy sources, and help to enhance the health and safety of people, animals and the environment.

EFFAT is the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions. As a European Trade Union Federation representing 120 national trade unions from 35 European countries, EFFAT defends the interests of more than 22 million workers towards the European Institutions, European employers’ associations and transnational companies. EFFAT is a member of the ETUC and the European regional organisation of the IUF.