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Helping the poor, the environment and the private sector:

Promoting small enterprises and green jobs in China

For the Conference on the Environments of the Poor

in the Context of Climate Change and the Green Economy

24-26 November 2010, New Delhi

Satoshi Sasaki
Specialist on Enterprise Development and Job Creation
ILO Office for China and Mongolia

The views expressed in this paper/presentation are the views of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the
views or policies of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), or its Board of Directors, or the governments they
represent. ADB does not guarantee the source, originality, accuracy, completeness or reliability of any statement,
information, data, finding, interpretation, advice, opinion, or view presented, nor does it make any representation
concerning the same.
1. Introduction

Environment protection and transition to a low-carbon economy is an imperative and no

leeway for China to do it the other round. Green enterprises already exist and the number
of them is increasing. Also, efforts have been made in many companies to make their
production processes and services greener. Questions should be made to what extent
emerging new businesses in green economy is inclusive and just, therefore not leaving
the poor people behind in the transition process. The ILO has been promoting the Green
Jobs Initiative, which supports the process of a just transition for the workers who are
affected by the on-going changes and the creation of enabling environment for green
businesses to grow.

The Green Business Options (GBO) is an example of entrepreneurship training

programmes of the ILO in China, partnering with the Ministry of Human Resources and
Social Security (MOHRSS) to explore the potential of individuals, who intend to take
business development opportunities in green economy. This paper will review the pilot
training of GBO in 2010 and summarize the experiences to date.

Based on the findings from the GBO pilot programme and the ILO’s experiences in
micro and small enterprise development in China, suggestions are made for the
development of future projects involving private sectors in the promotion of environment
protection and a just transition to a low carbon economy in an inclusive way.

2. Green Jobs Initiative in China

2.1. Why green jobs?

2.1.1. Implications of low-carbon economy to the world of work

The concept of “green jobs” is generally defined as work in agriculture, industry, services
and administration that contributing to preserving or restoring the quality of the
environment. Green jobs are typically facing the dual challenges, which are closely
linked therefore addressed simultaneously:

• Averting dangerous and potentially unmanageable climate change and protecting

the natural environment which supports life on earth
• Providing decent work and thus the prospect of well-being and dignity for all in
the face of rapid population growth worldwide and the current exclusion of over a
billion people from economic and social development

Drastic changes in production and consumption patterns are required to make economic
growth and development attuned to reduce the climate impact and environmental
degradation. Given the importance of sustainable enterprise development, it has been
emphasized the win-win relationship of environment and economic development aspects.
But relatively less efforts has been made to give attention to the social aspects of

sustainable development, in particular to the issues of quantity and quality of

2.1.2. Realizing a more balanced society

During the 11th Five-Year Plan period (2006-2010), the Chinese government has been
promoting the concept of “harmonious society” intending to reduce the gaps of wealth
distributions and services existing between the regional and individuals, amplified during
the previous periods. The latest discussions on the formulation of the 12th Five-Year Plan
(2011-2015) have focused more on the transformation of growth patters leading to better
economic prospects in a long run. The Government work report for 2010 highlighted
“sound” development rather than “fast” development for the first time.1 While
maintaining relatively high economic growth, the Communist party of China (CPC) made
commitment for enhance efforts to save energy and resources and build an
environmentally friendly society.

2.2. Potential of green jobs growth in China

2.2.1. Findings from the ILO/CASS study

There is no complete analysis and the projection of green jobs in China. The ILO and the
China Academy of Social Sciences organized a study in 2009, trying to estimate the
potential green jobs in selected sectors.2

Total employment effects of low-carbon development in major sectors in China (1,000jobs)

Direct Indirect
Sectors Sub-sectors Sub-total
Employment Employment
Afforestation &
Forestry 7,600 11,085 18,685
(2005 Sustainable Forest
~ 188 61 249
Forest tourism 3,154 3,616 6,770
Power Thermal Power 251 29 279
Industry Wind power 848 2309 3,157
~ Solar power 50 1,237 1,287
Iron and
Steel(2007~2011 -200 - -200

Green investment(2008~2011) 3 175 357 532
Total4 30,759
Charting China’s new course, Beijing Review (28 October 2010)
Study on Low Carbon Development and Green Employment in China, conducted under the MDG
Achievement Fund Propgramme on Climate Change (March 2010)
Part of investment made through 4 trillion Yuan stimulus package after the financial crisis happened in
Here the simple measurement of sum total is only for reference, which includes incomparable data
between sectors like forestry and iron and steel because different methodology and data resources. And

The figures in the table shows huge employment gains expected in forestry and power
sectors, while net employment loss in Iron and Steel industries. The result of the study
suggests that the Green Jobs Initiative should support the emerging green industries, at
the same time it is important to take care of the workers who will lose their jobs.

2.2.2. Energy Efficiency in Building

Retrofitting of existing building saves energy, reduces emissions and protects the
environment and natural resources. It creates many job opportunities due to its labour-
intensive nature of work. Of the 42 billion square meters existing buildings in China,
assuming 1/3 to be retrofitted and 200 RMB per square meter, yield a market potential of
2.6 trillion RMB. In 2009, the “Response to Climate Change Report” pointed out that
building energy efficiency retrofits can add approximately 12.6 million new jobs.5

2.3. Sustainable enterprise development

The intention of the ILO in promoting green jobs reflects three different aspects which
are conducive for the creation of sustainable enterprises:

2.3.1. Creating more green businesses

In terms of job creation, the ILO supports its constituents in the countries to develop
more enterprises which contribute to solve the climate and environmental issues through
the market mechanism. Particularly, stronger focus should be made on the development
of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises that create majority of employment
opportunities, including the ones for migrant workers. Efforts should be made to promote
sustainable enterprise development by nurturing entrepreneurship, coping with the
increasing needs for skilled workers, improving business environment and financial
support for the entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses. This is more on the
positive aspect of taking opportunities in emerging green markets.

2.3.2. Protecting workers in green businesses

Many green businesses already exist in China. But workers in these businesses are not
always well protected. For example, toxic chemicals used in e-waste recycling without
proper protection gears and without ventilation system installed in the workshops could
be harmful for the workers’ health. Many of such jobs in small enterprises are occupied
by migrant workers who have limited access to insurance against health problems and
occupational injury. Irregularity and delay of payments and lack of social dialogue
between employers and workers are typically observed at this level of enterprises in
China. The ILO green jobs programmes will foster the Decent Work Agenda6, which
some of the employment data in this table is average value.
Information provided by Dr. Kevin Mo in the Green Jobs Consultation Meeting in Beijing on 20 March
The ILO’s organizational principles established by Juan Somavia, Director General, and supported by
tripartite constituents of the ILO.

pursue not any kind of employments but better quality of employments that are protected
and sustainable.

2.3.3. A just transition

Promotion of environment protection and low-carbon economy requires changes in

industrial structures and their operation processes. Some of the industries, either they
cause pollution by themselves or producing pollutants, are forced to closed down by the
government order. Such as the cases of closing of small coal mines that produce low
quality coals and thus contributing to air pollution. These small coal mines also have
hazardous working conditions to the mine workers, killing several thousand miners every
year. Workers who lost jobs in such enterprises have to find alternative jobs. But
apparently, emerging green industries do not exist where brown enterprises were closed
down. Also, the skills of workers from closed enterprises are not compatible to apply for
new jobs created in green industries. Coping with transition needs of workers from brown
industries, the ILO continues to support the government efforts in providing them with
social security and opportunity to gain new skills to minimize the impact of industrial
restructuring on workers.

2.4. Green jobs policy development

2.4.1. Official view of the government on green jobs

No official guidelines have been established by the Ministry of Human Resources and
Social Security (MOHRSS) on the employment aspects of developing green economy in
China. The recent speech made by Mr. Zhang Xiaojian, Vice Minister, MOHRSS, well
summarized the current view of MOHRSS on the promotion of green jobs in the context
of employment promotion in China.7 He explained the five key issues:

• Eliminate backward production capacity and create new employment

opportunities in economic transformation through public employment services in
forest protection, sand prevention, energy-saving activities and renewable energy;
• Measures against job losses in economic transformation, for example
reemployment of laid-off workers and unemployed persons. Also improvement of
social security system to mitigate unemployment risks;
• Skills training for workers need to be enhanced to meet the requirement of green
• Promotion of green small enterprises: encourage businesses start-ups in priority
industries such as those with comprehensive resource utilization;
• Conduct research studies to support green employment policy formulation for

He also emphasized the importance of coordination between employment policies,

environmental policies and industrial policies.
The speech was made in the Forum of Green Jobs for a Better Life, organized by the ILO at the Shanghai
Expo in August 2010.

2.4.2. Towards formulation of green jobs policy guidance

Based on the Employment Promotion Law established in 2008, MOHRSS is in the

process of developing the new policy guidance for green jobs promotion, which is
expected to be issued in 2011. The policy guidance will explain how to adapt
employment services at the local level and facilitate green economy at provincial and
municipal levels.

The Green Jobs Policy Guidance could also be used by MOHRSS as a position paper of
the labour administration for policy coordination with other ministries promoting
transition to green economy at the national level.

3. Green Business Options (GBO) Training: Developing green business

ideas for small enterprises

3.1. Objectives of GBO training

3.1.1. GBO, a private sector approach contributing to a low carbon


The idea of Green Business Options (GBO) Training was conceived as part of the MDG
Achievement Fund Programme on Climate Change in 2008.8 The programme became the
first opportunity for the ILO to introduce the concept of green jobs in the context of
transition to a low carbon economy to China. The GBO is a training tool for sustainable
enterprise development, embodying triple bottoms of business development, job creation
and environment protection.

From the view point of job creation, SMEs contribute 80% of urban employment in
China.9 The economic and social stability of China largely depends on the capacity of
SMEs, in particular small enterprises, in absorbing labour force and make the economic
growth inclusive for the people. It is of strategic importance for the government to
support small enterprises to explore emerging business opportunities in transition to a low
carbon economy. The ILO decided to develop a new entrepreneurship training
programme, which supports entrepreneurs to develop business ideas in climate change
adaptation and environmental protection.

After the pre-testing of the training materials in 2009, eleven training institutions
organized the first pilot training from March to June 2010. The second pilot training is
currently undertaken since August 2010 in Jiangsu Province and the city of Chongqing.10
A technical Cooperation Project funded by the Government of Spain, implemented from 2008 to 2010. It
is an UN interagency project, participated by ten UN agencies in China. In this project, the ILO focused on
green jobs.
“Smaller firms to benefit from new definition of SMEs” Chinadaily.com, 27 October 2010
The ILO and MOHRSS agreed the GBO pilot programme, supporting four cities in Jiangsu and
Chongqing to organize training of trainers (TOTs) and training of entrepreneurs (TOEs).

3.1.2. Make micro and small businesses accessible to new market

Many entrepreneurs and potential entrepreneurs understand there are different kinds of
environmental problems in China. But not many of them consider such problems as
business opportunities. The GBO training intends to provide entrepreneurs with a big
picture of climate change and environmental issues with tools to analyze emerging green
markets and help them in developing new business ideas.

3.1.3. Positioning of GBO in the Green Jobs Initiative

The contributions of the world of work towards the realization of a low carbon economy
could be made mainly in the following areas:

• Supply of skilled human resources required in starting green businesses

• Building additional/new skills of workers to facilitate the enterprises’ transition to
a cleaner and low carbon production system
• Protection of workers in green businesses to maintain occupational safety and
health standards
• Help workers in closing enterprises due to the environment protection reasons to
find new jobs in other sectors.

GBO is expected to contribute to the first and the last points.

3.2. GBO training programme development

3.2.1. Training materials

The ILO has been promoting business start-up and management development training
programme known as Start and Improve Your Business (SIYB) for the last thirty years
worldwide. This training package focuses on the development of small enterprises,
particularly individuals who wish to start, improve or expand their businesses. It consists
of four training modules intended for learners at different stages of enterprise
development as follows: Generate Your Business Ideas (GYB), Start Your Business
(SYB), Improve Your Business (IYB) and Expand Your Business (EYB).

The GBO Training programme has been developed using GYB as the platform to
accommodate climate change and environmental issues explained systematically and lead
the learners to identify their own business ideas.

3.2.2. Training methodology

GBO is designed as learner-centered participatory training, using case studies, brain

storming and small group discussions. The size of a GBO class is limited to twenty
participants only. It takes three to four days to complete the GBO training course.

3.2.3. Target groups

GBO was initially designed for youths, particularly university and college students and
graduates who are thinking of doing business as a career option. It was anticipated that
those students and graduates who already have scientific knowledge and skills might
have better prospects for entering to environment-related businesses. When the pilot
training programme was launched, it was found that not only university and college
students and graduates but also private business owners who are thinking of expanding
their businesses showed high interest in learning GBO.

At present, GBO is still suitable for potential entrepreneurs who are thinking of starting
businesses in climate change adaptation and environmental protection in the future.
However, existing entrepreneurs are not excluded in the training.

3.2.4. Non-sector specific approach

The initial idea of GBO was to make it a generic training, not addressing specific sector
issues. There are reasons why it is better to keep it as non-sector specific, from the view
point of enterprise development:

• The very nature of GBO is a tool for developing creative and unique business
ideas by learners. Selection of economic sectors in training may cause many
learners ended up with similar business ideas.
• GBO should be an opportunity for learners to know about business potentials
in various green sectors. This is particularly important for university and
college students and graduates who do not currently own businesses to
identify the potential industrial sectors that they could use their knowledge
and skills.

Different from students and graduates, existing entrepreneurs who wish to expand their
businesses needs more information specific to the sectors they may explore. To cope with
their needs, GBO training has developed two resource books in circular economy and
energy conservation industry. The use of resource books will be adopted in GBO training
courses case by case. The trainers are advised not to mix two different types of learners in
the same training course.

3.3. GBO training management

3.3.1. Start and Improve Your Business (SIYB) Training Platform in China

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS) was first adopted the
SIYB training programme in China in 2001 as a way to facilitate alternative employment
opportunities in self-employment and small enterprise development, particularly for the
people having difficulties in finding jobs, including laid-off workers, migrant workers,
graduates, people with disability and retired military personnel. So far, the SIYB

programme has been expanding through the national network of vocational training
institutions and certified SIYB trainers nationwide. The SIYB programme has been
institutionalized through the establishment of Employment Promotion Law in 2008. The
SIYB network has been administered by the China Employment Training Technical
Instruction Center (CETTIC) under MOHRSS, having 142 Master Trainers and 18,900
Trainers around the country.11

Based on the results to be obtained from the on-going pilot training in Jiangsu and
Chongqing, the GBO training is expected to roll out throughout the country using the
SIYB training platform. From the contacts with local governments in the GBO pilot
training, high participation for GBO training is anticipated by the cities facing
environmental problems and old industrial bases in the north-eastern provinces which are
required to develop alternative economic development strategies.

3.3.2. Training capacity building

Having an extensive network of training institutions and trainers of SIYB as the platform
for rolling out the GBO training in China, the ILO has been focusing on Training of
Trainers (TOTs) to retrain SIYB trainers as GBO trainers. Typically, TOT takes one
week for the trainers to understand the technical contents as well as micro-teaching
sessions that could allow the trainers to demonstrate their ability to organize GBO
sessions with the guidance provided by the Master GBO trainers.

Currently, the ILO Beijing Office has two GBO Master Trainers, who have been
involved in the development of the GBO training. MOHRSS and the ILO expect to
develop a core team of potential GBO Master Trainers in the next two years.

3.4. Initial achievements from the GBO pilot training

3.4.1. Chengdu Vocational and Technical College

The Chengdu Vocational and Technical College is one of the eleven training institutions
the ILO tested the GBO in April 2010. The college has 41 majors with ten thousand
students. The students from different majors have participated in the GBO pilot training,
allowing them to apply their own skills and experiences in creating green business ideas.

Among twenty participants, some students came up with practical green business ideas
and now developing new businesses at a small scale. For example, these ideas include:

• Energy efficiency in school lighting

• A/C adapter for multiple purposes
• Stuff toys produced from used children’s clothes
• Rental bicycle
• Eco-tour
Information updated by CETTIC in October 2010.

The college, through its Entrepreneurship Department, encourages students to consider
business start-up as a career option. Students can apply for financial support for testing
their business ideas and have small space as their business incubator. The college also
works closely with the local enterprise association, linking students’ activities with the
network of local enterprises.

3.4.2. Energy efficiency through LED and the electricity control device12

Mr. Yang Shunbo is a third year student of the Chengdu Vocational and Technical
College majoring in electronic science. He participated in the GBO pilot training in April
2010. The business idea he developed is to provide services in replacing electric bulbs
with LEDs and install a small controller that he developed to further reducing the
electoricity consumptions. He said his business intended to contribute to lighting of
buildings with low costs, no pollution and longer lifecycle.

He found so many electric bulbs were used in the college, average of 13 bulbs in one
lecture room. He thought it would reduce huge amount of energy if these are to be
replaced by LEDs. In addition, he had an idea of adding a small electricity control device
minimizing the supply of electricity to be consumed. Studying electronic science, he was
confident that he could develop such a device by himself. Participating in the GBO
training, he confirmed that his idea was in conformity with the government policy of
energy reduction in the maintenance of school buildings.

Obviously, his idea could be applied beyond school lightings. But he decided to test it in
his school first. He established the Yu Chen Cheng Electronic Technology Company with
two other students to install LEDs. The Chengdu Vocational and Technical College has
supported his business plan and provided 5,000 yuan for his project. With this, he had a
contract from the college to install 100 LEDs. The contract allows him to share the profit
to be made from the reduction of the electricity use with the college. At present, he has
already developed the electricity controlling device. With his colleagues, he is now
producing 1,000 pieces of the controller, which will add more profit to his business and
further reduce the energy consumptions in school lighting.

He is expecting graduation next year. Given the good business prospect in energy saving
in lighting, he is thinking of continuing and expanding his business to other areas. In his
business plan, his primary target is colleges and universities, which have similar needs
for energy reduction. He also thinks of expanding his business gradually to the areas of
interior illumination, pedestrian lights and street advertisement equipment in large cities.
Also, he is looking into the similar needs in the rural areas. He expect to consolidate his
business model in the first five years, develop and improve technology and expand his
business in the south-west China in the next ten years.

3.5. Lessons learnt from the GBO pilot programme

Information collected by the author by interviewing Mr. Yang in October 2010.

3.5.1. Green sectors suitable for micro and small enterprise development

The GBO training intends to create an enabling environment for micro and small
businesses to participate in green businesses. The case of Mr. Yang in energy saving
showed the potential of individuals to use their own technical skills and develop new
green businesses. Obviously they are disadvantaged as compare to large enterprises,
which have high R & D capacity and strong financial capacity. However, there are niche
markets exist for micro entrepreneurs to explore green markets, including 3R (reduce,
reuse, recycle), eco-tourism and organic agriculture and building, which are less capital
intensive. But it doesn’t necessarily mean to exclude other areas of green businesses.
What is important for the GBO is allowing the participants to think flexibly in creating
unique business ideas.

3.5.2. Make products and services available for the poor

In the business case of A/C adapter for multiple purposes, the student who produced it
sold 160 pieces in ten days through the Taobao13, which is a popular auction service on
internet in China. This case implies the high potential of using internet as a platform for
small businesses to access the markets of the poor without major investments. More than
four hundred million people have access to internet and more than eight hundred million
mobile phones are used in China.

3.5.3. Needs for knowledge development

The missing link of green business development by micro and small enterprises is in the
lack of information for them to understand the markets created by climate change and
environmental issues. Individuals tend to think climate change is something beyond their
control and nothing to do with the life of ordinary people. There has been no such
opportunity like the GBO to provide them with the information on of climate change and
environmental protection issues in a systematic and understandable way.

In some cases, participants in pilot training wanted to have more specific information
about the sectors that they are interested in exploring their businesses. Given the non-
sector specific approach of the GBO, it is necessary to strengthen the sector information
in the training and follow-up services by supplying additional informational materials and
link them to the government and private agencies involved in the specific sector
development. For example, water pollution of Taihe Lake is a major environmental
concern of the City of Wuxi. The city government of Wuxi has been supporting the GBO
strongly, expecting the contribution of private sector in solving the water pollution

3.5.4. Training needs of existing entrepreneurs

Taobao at www.taobao.com

The primary target group of the GBO training is the students and graduates of universities
and colleges. Given the low employment of graduates from tertiary education, at the level
of 67% after graduation in 2009, the GBO was expected to serve for dual purposes;
helping the young unemployed by facilitating the use of their skills and knowledge in
creating green businesses. But once the GBO pilot training was launched, the local
training institutions found high training needs of existing entrepreneurs, who are thinking
of expanding their businesses into green businesses, capitalizing on their technological
advantages and adding new value to their products and services to explore new markets.

The training needs of the existing entrepreneurs are that of more strategic way of thinking
required for the management, which goes beyond the capacity of GBO training. The
Global SIYB Programme of the ILO is now considering the necessity of developing new
training programme to capture the specific training needs of entrepreneurs in this respect.

3.5.5. Protection of intellectual property rights

Due to the small scale of business operations, the GBO learners who turned out to be
entrepreneurs are not yet sure about their business potentials. This is why they have not
thought about application of the intellectual property rights to protect their products. For
example, the electricity controller for LED, which was developed by Mr. Yang of the
Chengdu Vocational and Technology College, could be the core product for his business
development. But such a valuable device could be easily imitated by others, unless proper
protection is provided for his invention. The GBO training may need to add information
how entrepreneurs could protect their intellectual property rights. Also, it is useful for the
training institutions and schools, which provide business incubation services to GBO
learners, to support them in this respect.

3.5.6. Training needs expressed by local governments

Through the pilot testing of GBO training, local governments from different parts of the
country expressed their needs for GBO training. Towards the implementation of the 12th
five-year plan (2011-2015), it is clear that the central governments will require local
governments to adopt more distinctive measures in controlling environmental problems
and closing gaps between rich and poor. Typical examples of what local governments
expressed their interest in organizing GBO are:

• Expectation for private businesses to contribute in solving specific environmental

problems that the city/county is facing, in particular water pollution;
• Declaring as “environment friendly city” as its official policy, the city would like
to adopt GBO as a tool to promote environmental protection;
• Old industrial bases, typically in the north-eastern part of the country, which have
been looking for alternative industries.

Many of these cities mentioned their needs for capacity building of local training
institutions to organize the GBO training. They would like to have their own SIYB
trainers to be retrained as GBO trainers. It would be necessary for MOHRSS to have

more systematic survey of local governments to analyze the needs for the adoption of

4. Suggestions for project design: developing more inclusive green

business models in China

Suggestions below should be taken into consideration in developing a project to promote

private sector approaches towards inclusive green economy development. In particular,
points were made to create enabling environment for micro and small enterprises to
explore green business markets and create employment opportunities for the poor:

4.1. Integrated approach to sustainable small enterprise development

The experiences from the GBO pilot training indicated the potential of micro and small
enterprises to take part in the development of green economy. Small enterprises could
create new employment opportunities, including for the poor people to participate in
green businesses. At the same time, small enterprises are likely to provide access for the
poor people to be consumers of green products and services.

In designing a project for promoting small green businesses, it should cover three
dimensions of sustainable development, i.e. economic, environment and social
dimensions, if the project is to be inclusive and prevent poor workers from further
deprivation. Particularly, the social dimension, including working conditions and
occupational safety measures, which are often neglected, should be integrated in the
promotion of green businesses.

4.2. Value chains analysis as a tool to find niche markets through upward
linkages for small enterprises

Indirect effects of employment creation should not be neglected in designing the project.
Green businesses cannot exist by themselves alone. They are linked to other businesses in
the local economy. To make to project more inclusive, it is useful to apply Value Chain
Analysis (VCA) to identify how the green products and services are produced and
consumed and how they could be linked to other businesses and support services. VCA
provide a participatory platform for stakeholders involved in the production and
marketing of selected products and services. Through VCA, the project may possibly
identify new employment opportunities to be created not only in the green businesses but
also in the other businesses linked to them.

4.3. Linking policy incentives to create green business markets

Natural demands of consumers for green products and services may not be strong enough
to expand green businesses in a short term perspective. For example, it takes years to
come to the break-even point in replacing fluorescent lights with LEDs, while initial
investment required make consumers reluctant to buy LEDs. To leapfrogging of green

enterprises in transition to a low-carbon economy, policy incentives, including financial
support, tax reduction should be available for green entrepreneurs and consumers.

4.4. Knowledge development and information dissemination

There is fundamental lack of access for the poor to obtain information about the global
trend in transition to low-carbon economy. What environment protection meant for them
and what are economic opportunities emerging around them? Education and training
should play a key role in this respect. The GBO is an example of providing potential
micro entrepreneurs and self-employed persons with systematic understanding and
approaches to explore their business opportunities in green economy. Given the
expansion of mass media and internet connections, social marketing methods for
information dissemination to the poor should be considered as an option for knowledge
development on green businesses.

5. Conclusions

China is explicitly shifting its development policy to realize a low-carbon economy and
creating a more equitable society, departing from the rapid economic growth policy
started by Deng Xiaoping three decades ago. For the next decades, the Government
departments have to adopt new lows and regulations, guiding structural changes to be
made in industries and the life of Chinese people. For the last two years, the ILO has
been working with its constituents in China, introducing the concept of green jobs and
alerting the changes to be resulted in the world of work. At the same time, efforts have
been made to search for new employment opportunities in emerging green industries.

The Green Business Options (GBO) has been developed basing on the national
entrepreneurship training platform owned and operated by the Ministry of Human
Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS) in addressing the needs of small enterprises
and self-employers to grasp business opportunities in environmental protection and
reduction of GHG emissions. Promotion of micro and small enterprises in green economy
is a critical element for making the greening process more inclusive, because most of
workers from the poor segment of society are employed in micro and small enterprises.
Also, it is likely that small businesses could provide green products and services for the
poor and contribute to the local economic development.

Since the official GBO pilot programme has started in March 2010, it is still too early to
evaluate its effectiveness in creating small green businesses. But the green business ideas
developed by the students participated in the GBO pilot training in Chengdu imply the
ample possibility of micro enterprises to capture emerging green markets and employ
more people as businesses expand.

Promotion of small green enterprises should be achieved effectively, if three bottoms of

sustainable development - economic, environment and social dimensions - are to be
supported by the programmes covering these aspects in an integrated manner. It is a

crucial concern of the ILO to make a just transition by creating decent and socially
acceptable jobs in green enterprises.


Beijing Review, 2010. “Charting China’s new course” Beijing Review (28 October 2010)

ILO, 2007. Conclusions concerning the promotion of sustainable enterprises,

International Labour Conference, June 2007

___, 2010. Report on Forum of Green Jobs for a Better Life, Unpublished internal

___, 2010. Green Business Options Training Book, Unpublished

Research Center for Sustainable Development, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences,

2010. Study on low carbon development and green employment in China

UNEP, ILO, IOE, ITUC, Green Jobs Initiative, 2008. Green Jobs: Towards decent work
in a sustainable, low-carbon world, by World Watch Institute