Understanding SDG 8: Exploring the Intersection of Economic Growth and Green Jobs

Sat May 20 2023

Everyone's buzzing about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG 8: "Promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all". It’s a mouthful, but what does it mean, really? And how does it tie in with green job opportunities? Let's dive in and break it down.

Table of Contents

  • Understanding SDG 8
  • Why Green Jobs?
  • SDG 8 In Action: The Green Job Market
  • Linking SDGs with Job Opportunities
  • Conclusion
  • FAQs

Understanding SDG 8

The United Nations SDGs aim to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges, and SDG 8 hits close to home for many. It’s all about creating economic growth that benefits everyone—not just a select few. And not just any economic growth. We're talking sustainable economic growth that takes into account our planet's well-being. This goal is outlined through twelve detailed targets, each contributing to different facets of decent work and economic growth:

  • Sustained Economic Growth (8.1): This target emphasizes the importance of sustaining per capita economic growth in accordance with national circumstances. For the least developed countries, the aim is to achieve at least a 7% gross domestic product growth per annum.
  • Diversification, Technological Upgrading, and Innovation (8.2): The focus here is on achieving higher levels of productivity through diversification, technological upgrading, and innovation, including through a focus on high-value added and labor-intensive sectors.
  • Job Creation and Entrepreneurship (8.3): This target supports the development of policies that promote decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises.
  • Promote Resource Efficiency in Consumption and Production (8.4): The aim is to improve progressively, through 2030, global resource efficiency in consumption and production and endeavour to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, in accordance with the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production, with developed countries taking the lead.
  • Decent Work for All (8.5): This aim is to achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men by 2030, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value.
  • Youth Employment (8.6): The objective is to substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training.
  • Eradicate Forced Labour, Slavery, Human Trafficking, and Child Labour (8.7): The commitment here is to take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking, and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor.
  • Protect Labour Rights and Promote Safe Working Environments (8.8): The goal is to protect labor rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, particularly women migrants, and those in precarious employment.
  • Promote Beneficial and Sustainable Tourism (8.9): By 2030, the aim is to devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs, promotes local culture and products.
  • Universal Access to Banking, Insurance, and Financial Services (8.10): The target is to strengthen the capacity of domestic financial institutions and expand access to banking, insurance, and financial services for all.
  • Aid for Trade (8.a): This target focuses on increasing Aid for Trade support for developing countries, particularly least developed countries, including through the Enhanced Integrated Framework for Trade-Related Technical Assistance to Least Developed Countries.
  • Global Strategy for Youth Employment (8.b): This objective is to operationalize a global strategy for youth employment and implement the International Labour Organization's (ILO) Global Jobs Pact.

These targets reflect the multi-dimensional nature of SDG 8, emphasizing not only the necessity for economic growth and job creation but also the importance of ensuring that this growth is sustainable, inclusive, and beneficial for all sectors of society.

Why Green Jobs?

Enter green jobs, the poster child of SDG 8. These jobs reduce environmental impact, contribute to a sustainable economy, and often provide decent work conditions. They’re found in sectors like renewable energy, agriculture, transport, and construction, but also in unexpected places, like finance and education. A Sustainability Consultant at MeetGreen or an Energy Storage Analyst Intern at Phelas, for instance, might not work in a traditional “green” sector, but their jobs are essential to promoting sustainable economic growth.

SDG 8 In Action: The Green Job Market

You might wonder how green jobs translate into SDG 8 in the real world. Well, we’ve got examples for days.

Take the startup Betteries which repurposes EV batteries into mobile and modular energy storage. Or Fairphone, a company committed to creating a more ethical smartphone. Both contribute to economic growth while considering environmental and social impacts. is teeming with such opportunities. From a Product Manager at TrustTrace working on traceability solutions, to a Full Stack Developer at Rothys, a company that makes stylish shoes from recycled plastic, there’s a green job for nearly everyone.

Linking SDGs with Job Opportunities

As we delve into this, let's consider how SDGs are linked with job opportunities. The SDGs have been designed not just as lofty goals for governments to achieve, but also as a roadmap for companies to follow, fostering their own sustainable practices while contributing to the global agenda. Therefore, many corporations are aligning their strategies with these goals, which translates into green job opportunities.

For instance, if a company aligns with SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), they may offer job opportunities in renewable energy production or energy efficiency consulting. Similarly, a company focusing on SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) could provide jobs related to sustainable supply chain management or waste reduction initiatives.

The key is to identify which SDGs resonate most with you, then seek out companies and roles that align with those goals. Using platforms like can help you in this process, as they sort jobs based on their contribution to specific SDGs.


In conclusion, green jobs are a critical link between the urgent need for sustainable economic growth and the potential for inclusive, decent work for all. By focusing on these opportunities, we not only contribute to SDG 8 but also support the wider SDG agenda.

Whether you're a recent graduate, someone looking to shift careers, or just curious about the green job market, there's likely a place for you in this evolving landscape. The first step is just figuring out where you fit in and finding the companies and roles that align with your values and goals.


1. What is SDG 8?

SDG 8 stands for Sustainable Development Goal 8. It aims to promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

2. What are green jobs?

Green jobs are jobs that contribute to preserving or restoring the environment, be they in traditional sectors such as manufacturing and construction, or in new, emerging green sectors like renewable energy and energy efficiency.

3. How can I find green jobs?

Platforms like are great starting points. They allow job seekers to find companies that align with specific SDGs and provide various job opportunities that contribute to those goals.

4. How do SDGs relate to job opportunities?

SDGs provide a roadmap for companies to follow for sustainable growth. Many corporations are aligning their strategies with SDGs, which in turn creates job opportunities in various sectors focused on sustainability.

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