York research informs UN International Labour Organization’s flagship report

Climate change

Data from a York University research project was used by the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO) to inform its flagship report “World Employment and Social Outlook 2018: Greening with Jobs,” which was released in May 2018.

In its report, the ILO draws on the research from York’s Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Response to Climate Change: Canada in International Perspective (ACW) project, which looks at developing tools to green Canadian work and workplaces to address the challenge of slowing global warming.

Professor Carla Lipsig-Mummé
Professor Carla Lipsig-Mummé

The ACW project’s lead investigator is Carla Lipsig-Mummé, professor of Work and Labour Studies at York University.

The ILO report indicates that action to limit global warming to two  degrees Celsius will result in sufficient job creation to more than offset job losses of six million elsewhere, and that 24 million new jobs will be created globally by 2030 if the right policies to promote a greener economy are put in place.

A key section of the report is devoted to the importance of workers’ organizations, such as unions, in reducing the harmful impact of climate change, and states “… the participation of workers’ and employers’ organizations must be integrated in mitigation and adaptation policies.”

The UN agency further notes that environmental clauses negotiated into collective agreements can have a positive impact, and draws upon data contained in the unique Green Collective Agreements Database compiled by York University’s ACW research project.

“Through collective agreements, employers and trade unions have worked together to identify areas, including greenhouse gas emissions, where a reduction in environmental impact could be achieved without losses in jobs, pay and working conditions,” the report reads.

Included in the report is a detailed table of 19 green clauses from collective agreements, grouped into five categories, including: green procurement; green travel; cutting waste and saving resources; the right to refuse work; and, whistle-blower protection.

“I am delighted that our research on worker agency in reducing climate change is being taken up by such a prestigious and influential body as the United Nations International Labour Organization,” said Lipsig-Mummé, a faculty member in York University’s Department of Social Science in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies.

York University’s ACW research project is earning increased recognition by international and Canadian institutions. The ILO report is the second time a UN agency has used research produced by the ACW; in 2016, ACW’s work was cited by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) secretariat.

Lipsig-Mummé was named finalist for prestigious Impact Award by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) in 2017, and she was the 2018 winner of the Sefton-Williams Award for Contributions to Labour Relations by the University of Toronto’s Woodsworth College and the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources.

The only tripartite UN agency, the ILO brings together governments, employers and workers of 187 member states, to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programs promoting decent work for all women and men.

The Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change: Canada in International Perspective (ACW) research project is a SSHRC-funded partnership grant which brings together 56 individual researchers and 25 partner organizations from seven countries, and is based at York University.

“World Employment and Social Outlook 2018: Greening with Jobs”, published by the ILO, is available from the ILO website.

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