The Environment, Employment, and Sustainable Development

By Monica Hale; Mike Lachowicz | Go to book overview
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The right training for the right jobs

Michelle Dobré and Thierry Lavoux


Institut Français de l’Environnement (IFEN) is a public administration created in 1991 to provide scientifically established environmental data at both national and international levels. IFEN is the focal point of the European Environmental Agency as well as the statistics service of the French Ministry of the Environment.

Taking care of the environment is an important economic activity in every industrialised country. In France environmental protection has been seen in recent years as potentially labour intensive. Consequently, figures have shown that 35,000 environmental jobs might be created in the waste and water sectors within five years. However, the accepted figure of 418,000 jobs in the environmental field may be an overestimate as it relies on a very broad definition of environmental activities.

For these reasons, IFEN is engaged in this topic to contribute in the medium term to a better understanding of the situation vis à vis environmental training courses, employment and professional aspects of the environment.


The required employers’ qualifications in the field of environmental protection are not easy to define, although new initial training or educational systems are developed every year. There are two main difficulties when trying to define environmental protection employment. On the one hand, the definition of environment is not yet universally established. This will affect the status of environmental protection in relation to economic activity. The accepted definition will also orientate the inventory of initial or professional training


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