The UN Green Economy Textbook

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About this resource

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) launched a Green Economy Initiative in 2008, which aimed at encouraging investment in improving the environment as a new engine for economic growth. The initiative resonated with policy makers such that “green economy” was adopted as a major agenda item for the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

Governments and businesses are intuitively attracted to the notion that investing in clean technologies, clean water, and clean mobility, etc. can improve the environment while creating jobs and markets. Some of them acted upon this notion accordingly, such as in China and the United Arab Emirates. For the green economy model to sustain beyond anecdotal examples, however, it needs a systematic framework that speaks to policy advisers and business executives, as well as the graduate students who will step into those positions in the coming years.

This textbook attempts to offer that systematic framework for the green economy model. It builds on and extends from the traditional economic growth model by articulating the contributions to productivity from investing in natural capital, clean technologies, and green skills, enabled by fiscal, finance, trade, and labour policies. It also addresses the importance of institutions and progress measurement for ensuring that transition towards a green economy is pro-poor, inclusive, fair, and just. We hope that this textbook will inspire the students of today and prepare them to shape the Inclusive Green Economy of tomorrow.

Project partners

This resource has been made available through the generous contributions of:

Tongji University logo

Zayed International Foundation for the Environment logo