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Five Sectors at the Forefront of Southeast Asia’s Transition to a Green Economy

By

Chris Addy

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2 minutes read

Southeast Asian nations have initiated ambitious transitions to green economies that promote sustainable, climate-friendly growth. The potential is huge: up to US$1 trillion in annual economic opportunities and 30 million green jobs by 2030, according to a new report from The Bridgespan Group.

Five sectors are capable of generating US$150 billion in economic opportunity annually across Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam by 2030:

  • Solar power has the potential to produce annual revenue of US$20 billion. Solar power alone will account for more than half of all renewable energy jobs across Southeast Asia by 2025.
  • Growing green commitments in built environment are projected to produce US$40 billion in revenue annually. Every US$1 million invested in energy-efficient building measures is projected to generate between nine and 30 jobs.
  • Sustainable farming is projected to produce US$30 billion in annual revenue. Most of that value will come from greener fertilizer practices; high-tech agricultural innovation, such as vertical farming, automation, robotics, and modern greenhouses; and providers of modernized farm services.
  • Vehicle electrification is projected to produce US$50 billion in annual revenue. Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand each has government-led EV roadmaps to support adoption and sector development.
  • Sustainable waste management growth opportunities could create 6.6 million jobs by 2030 and generate US$10 billion annually in expenditures required for managing municipal solid waste alone.

Across these sectors, there are more than 30 entry-level occupations that offer the most potential for green employment. Some are in traditional sectors (e.g. manufacturing and construction), and others are in emerging green sectors (e.g. renewable energy and electric mobility). All require green-skills training and changes in business practices.

The report—Promoting Equitable and Inclusive Green Job Growth in Southeast Asia—identifies specific steps that governments, employers, investors, and the social sector can take to ensure the emerging green economy achieves a “just transition” that leaves no one behind. The report also spotlights examples of workforce development programmes that include those from historically underserved communities. For example:

  • The Philippines government has a National Green Jobs Human Resource Development Plan that aims to provide green skills, including through technical and vocational education and training programs.
  • Schneider Electric has partnered with ASSIST, a nongovernmental organization, to create the Green Electrician lab in Vietnam, which provides training on electricity, sustainable energy management, and entrepreneurship in a programme leading to stable green employment.
  • The Platform Living Wage Financials (PLWF) is an alliance of 19 financial institutions that support portfolio companies to enable living wages in global supply chains. PLWF collaborates with external experts and works with companies to advance a living-wage agenda.
  • Generation, a nongovernmental organization, works closely with employers to create training programmes for professions across five sectors, including technology, healthcare, customer service and sales, skilled trades, and green jobs.

With the right policies and financing, more initiatives like those above will emerge to provide employment training opportunities for millions of Southeast Asian workers. The challenge ahead is to ensure that training for green jobs is accessible to historically underserved individuals and communities. It’s a chance to live into the post-COVID mantra of “build back better.” That is, for government, business, investors, and the social sector to invest in making
their economies more equitable and sustainable than ever.

References

A. Environmental Stewardship
To protect the environment, we organize programmes like mangrove nursery and Reforestation, Coastal and River Clean-Up, Community Based Environmental Solid Waste Management, Environmental IEC Campaign and Eco-Academy

B. Food Security and Sustainable Livelihood
To ensure a sustainable livelihood for the community, eco-tourism include Buhatan River Cruise Visitor Center Buhatan River Mangrove Boardwalk are run by the community. Others include Organic Vegetable and Root crops Farming, Vegetable and Root crops Chips and by-products Processing and establishing a Zero waste store.

C. Empowered Communities
To empower the community, we provide product and Agri-Enterprise Development Training, Immersion and Learnings Exchange Program, Earth Warrior Training and Community Based Social Entrepreneurship Training

Author

Chris Addy

Partner, Head of Market Impact Southeast Asia, The Bridgespan Group, Singapore

Chris Addy has been a member of Bridgespan since 2010, where he have gained extensive experience across multiple content areas, including education, health, scientific research, environment/climate, early childhood, and social justice. His work primarily focuses on serving clients located in the United States and Sub-Saharan Africa. Throughout his career, three prominent themes have consistently emerged in Chris’s work: facilitating significant philanthropic investments, collaborating with top-tier impact investors, and supporting NGO leaders in expanding their reach and impact within their respective communities.

Co-Author

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