Opening Session

Day 1: November 27

14.00 - 15.30 

This session provided the context for the conference as well as an overview of the green transition opportunities through keynote speeches by representatives from international organisations, local governments, the private sector and academia.

Welcoming Remarks by Moderator Rodolfo Lacy
Director, OECD Environment Directorate

Ban Ki-Moon, President of the Assembly
and Chair of the Council of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) 
by video address.

Keynote address:

  • Nicholas Stern, IG Patel Professor of Economics and Government,
    Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change
    and the Environment, London School of Economics


OECD perspective:

  • Alain de Serres, Deputy Director, Economics Department,
    Policy Studies Branch, OECD

Labour and business perspective:

Session 1 - Jobs & skills transition management: Strengthening green human capital

Day 1: November 27

16.00 - 17.30 

Many countries, regions and localities have experienced structural changes to their economies with significant employment and distributional impacts. Such transitions have often been part of the dynamic churn of the global economy. From the UK coal mine closures of the 1980s, the winding down of heavy industry sectors such as steel in the US and shipbuilding in Japan, to the digitalisation of today, structural changes with competitiveness and employment impacts have stirred concerns and resistance on the part of affected industries and workers. This session discussed lessons from past structural changes and considered if they are applicable to today’s green transition. It explored how worker reallocation, redeployment and re-skilling can be promoted, considering e.g. the specific challenges faced by regions whose economics are based on fossil-fuel extraction or carbon-intensive industries. The role of SMEs was considered, as well as the gender dimension in the low-carbon transition, e.g. for the predominately male work-force of extractive industries and other carbon-intensive sectors. What are the best approaches to help workers move from declining industries and regions to those with better growth prospects, with accompanying policies to help individuals upgrade their skills and assist lagging regions with catching up? What role for social safety nets and social dialogue to manage the transition and prepare for the future? 

Moderator: Steven Stone

Chief, Resources & Markets Branch, UN Environment


  • Samantha SmithDirector, Just Transition Centre, ITUC
  • Hanna Finmo, Assitant Policy Director, Swedish Confederation of Professional Employees, TCO
  • Catherine Saget, Chief of Unit, Research Department, International Labour Organization (ILO)
  • Peter Glynn, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, speaking on behalf of the Business Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC)

Scene-setting Presentations: 

  • Olivier Deschenes, Professor of Economics, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Fabio Manca, Economist, Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, OECD

Questions for discussion

  1. Can the impacts of the green transition on workers be “managed” by traditional job market policies or do they warrant novel approaches? What are the key policy tools?
  2. What are the relevant lessons from past industrial restructuring for worker redeployment, re-skilling and social compensation? How to best identify in advance the skill needs for a future greener economy?
  3. To what extent is the transition to a green economy compatible with quality jobs?

Session 2 - Green growth and competitiveness

firms who win, firms who lose

Day 2: November 28

09.30 - 11.00 

Less stringent or less strictly enforced environmental policies in other jurisdictions, and concerns about the resulting negative competitiveness impacts for domestic firms, are often used by politicians as justification for not introducing more ambitious environmental policies. However, OECD analysis shows that more stringent environmental policies can lead to enhanced productivity gains for more technologically-advanced firms. Moreover, efficient policy design can be a more important determinant of competitiveness impacts than stringency per se.  Similarly, while recent work shows that an increase in relative energy prices has a negative effect on trade flows and foreign direct investment, the scale of these impacts is very small compared with other determinants of trade and investment location choices such as transport costs, proximity to demand or the skill sets of local workers.


Moderator: Rodolfo Lacy

Director, Environment Directorate, OECD


  • Norbert Kurilla, State Secretary, Ministry of Environment,
    Slovak Republic
  • Stephan Sicars, Director, Environment Branch, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
  • Tilman AltenburgGerman Develpment Institute (DIE); Chair of GGKP Research Committee on Competitiveness
  • Donal O'RiainManaging Director, Ecocem Materials Ltd., Ireland

Scene-setting presentation: Carolyn Fischer

Professor of Environmental Economics, Free University, Amsterdam

Questions for discussion:

  1. How to design green transition policies to prevent adverse impacts on competitiveness without dampening incentives to develop cleaner processes and products?
  2. What combinations of environmental and complementary (e.g. R&D) policies best encourage green innovation?
  3. What should be the key priorities for government strategies for aligning sustainability and competiveness in international supply chains?
  4. Can the green transformation enable developing countries to ‘leapfrog’ into new leading industries given that green innovation is heavily concentrated in more advanced countries?

Lunch Time Side Events

Day 2: November 28, 2018

13:00 - 14:30  Side Event 1  (Room CC18)

Investing in resource Efficiency  - The Economics and Politic of Financing the Resource Transition 

An expert panel consisting of Paul EKINS (University College London (UCL)), Antonia GAWEL (World Economic Forum) and Rob Dellink (OECD) will discuss practical and policy relevant approaches to overcome barriers and create smart incentives for leveraging resource efficiency investments, reflect on their impact on competitiveness, and seek to provide policy options for mitigating potential adverse effects of the resource transition – thereby advancing the Green Growth agenda. This session will draw on insights from the book Investing in Resource Efficiency – The Economics and Politics of Financing the Resource Transition (Springer, 2018) edited by Florian FLACHENECKER (OECD & UCL) and Jun RENTSCHLER (World Bank & Payne Institute).

A light lunch will be provided.

13:00 - 14:30  Side Event 2 (Room CC13)

Introducing the Green Finance Platform and the Green Industry Platform
- Hosted by the Green Growth Knowledge Platform (GGKP) 

The Green Growth Knowledge Platform (GGKP) will introduce two new knowledge platforms: the Green Industry Platform (GIP), originally an initiative of UNIDO and UN Environment, and the Green Finance Platform (GFP). Building on the successful GGKP model, the new Platforms will work to provide the business and finance communities with relevant guidance, best practices, tools and data to support their sustainability efforts. The event will include a presentation of the new platforms from a user perspective, as well as how new partners focused on green industry and green finance can join this growing network of institutions and experts.

A light lunch will be provided.

Session 3 - Social impacts of the green transition

Day 2: November 28


Social and political support for the transition towards a green and low-carbon future depends on whether its costs and benefits are distributed across society in a fair and transparent manner.  There is increasing evidence that poorer neighbourhoods face greater exposure to air pollution and other environmental risks. At the same time, low-income households may be more vulnerable to higher energy or water prices. This session discussed recent evidence on how the consequences of both environmental policies and exposure to pollution vary with household income and with other socio-demographic characteristics. The discussion built on insights, e.g. from energy pricing or subsidy reforms, resource and water pricing and other policies to preserve biodiversity and other natural capital, energy efficiency programs, which may have negative impacts on household budgets or livelihood of communities. The session also examined how green growth policies could also address poverty reduction. How can cities or local authorities promote a more social inclusion and environmental improvements via, for instance, housing or transport policies? Can they help to meet both inclusive and green objectives?


Moderator: Marianne Fay

Chief Economist for Sustainable Development, World Bank


  • Theresa Griffin, MEP for the North West of England; EU Observatory on energy poverty
  • Benjamin Gestin, Director General, Eau de Paris, City of Paris 
  • Nicolas Howarth, Research Fellow III, Energy Transitions and Environment, King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC)
  • Kevin Chika Urama, Professor, Senior Advisor to the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), formerly the Inagural Managing Director of the Quantum Global Research Lab

Scene-setting presentation: Ian Parry

Principal Environmental Fiscal Policy Expert, International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Questions for discussion:

  1. What approaches exist to balance affordability vs. higher energy bills from subsidy reform or carbon pricing to promote the low-carbon transition?
  2. How to implement policies to conserve and sustainably use natural resources while minimising loss of livelihoods for communities that rely on fisheries and other natural-resource-based activities?
  3. Are inclusive growth policies compatible with green growth policies? How to design and implement policies, reflecting the economic, social and environmental pillars of sustainable development?
  4. How to ensure that national and local policies are aligned so that green measures lead to more inclusive outcomes at all levels?


Parallel sessions - Presentations of selected papers

The Founding Partners of the Green Growth Knowledge Platform (OECD, World Bank, UN Environment and the Global Green Growth Institute) announced the Call for Papers for the Sixth GGKP Annual Conference. The conference sessions will be developed around competitiveness, employment and distributional impacts of green policies. The role of SMEs in this context will also be explored. The papers submitted covered the following themes:

  1. A. Competitiveness impacts of environmental policies
  2. B. Distributional consequences of environmental policies
  3. C. Green industrial policy
  4. D. Employment implications including development of green skills
  5. E. Sectoral/structural transition management (including labour re-allocation, re-skilling/vocational training)
  6. F. Impacts of the transition to a circular economy
  7. G. First-mover advantage from green policies
  8. H. Behavioural insights in relation to environmental and structural adjustment policies
  9. I. Role of SMEs in the green and “inclusive” transition


The Parallel Sessions discussing the selected papers took place from November 28 and 29

Session 4 - Special Panel Discussion: Green transition in a post-truth world

How to close the gap between perception and empirical evidence?

Day 3: November 29

11.15 - 12.30 

The final Plenary considered why there may be gaps between public perceptions and empirical evidence showing that impacts of environmental policies on firm or sectoral competitiveness are rather limited, as suggested by several studies. Furthermore, the discussion addressed how countries can advance on the green transition in the “post-truth” era. How can governments do their job of evidence-based policy making to address environmental challenges when citizens doubt the scientific evidence or dismiss expert advice? Understanding the actual preferences of citizens and consumers and therefore their consequent behaviour and choices is critical, and there could be behaviour-informed methods or tools that de-bias existing mechanisms to understand or get closer to “the truth”.



  • Roger Dungan, Deputy Permanent Representative to the OECD,
    New Zealand


  • Edgar E. Gutiérrez-Espeleta, former Minister of Environment and Energy, Costa Rica
  • Elke Weber, Professor of Energy and Environment; Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs, Princeton University, USA
  • Simon KuperJournalist, Financial Times
  • Anthony Cox, Deputy Director, Environment Directorate, OECD 

Scene-setting presentations

  • Cameron Hepburn, Professor of Environmental Economics, SSEE, Oxford University, UK

Questions for discussion:

  1. How can countries advance on the green transition in the “post-truth” era?
  2. How are the risk and benefit perceptions of citizens and businesses formed? How to close the gap between perception and empirical evidence? Have experts truly lost importance in the current public debate?
  3. How to better understand the true preferences of citizens? What lessons from behavioral sciences can be applied in improving the design and delivery of policies for the green transition? What role for the OECD and other partners?

Closing Session: Future Collaboration under the GGKP

Day 3: November 29

12.30 -13.00 

This final session provided the opportunity to review policy implications and possible future work for the OECD.

Closing remarks: 

The future collaboration with GGKP will involve 5 partners as a foresight on their renewed collaboration and strengthening of the Green Growth Knowledge Platform. The GGKP partners signed a new memorandum of understanding to ensure the continuation of collaboration for the next 5 years, and welcome UNIDO as a new partner organisation.


  • Stephen Sicars, Director, Environment Branch, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
  • Ligia Noronha, Director, Economy Division, United Nations Environment Programme
    (UN Environment)
  • Marianne Fay, Chief Economist for Sustainable Development, The World Bank
  • Orestes Anastasia, Deputy Head, Office of Thought Leadership and Head of Knowledge Sharing, Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI)
  • Kumi Kitamori, Head of Green Growth and Global Relations Division, Environment Directorate, OECD


GGSD_2018_Signing partners

Lunch Time Side Event

Day 3: November 29, 2018

13:15 - 14:15  Side Event 3  (Room CC16)

Concept Methods of GGGI's Green Growth Index 


The Green Growth Index and Simulation Tool provide an integrated assessment approach. This event will give an overview of latest innovations in concept and methods and focus on the policy relevance of indicators that frame the Green Growth Index. It will include a discussion with GGGI staff presenting their latest findings.

A light lunch will be provided.

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