Developed by Seabourne Consulting, experts in Policy Series: Green Jobs Contribute to a Well-Being Economy

Policy Series: Green Jobs Contribute to a Well-Being Economy

Green Jobs Contribute to a Well-Being Economy is part of the Equitable Economies Policy Series, a multi-part policy series developed by Well-being and Equity in the World (WE in the World), and brought to you in partnership with the Well Being In the Nation Network (WIN Network). The policy series explores priority policies within the Advancing Equitable Economies Policy Library that can be leveraged to create more equitable, well-being economies in the U.S.

Advancing More Equitable Economies in the U.S.

There are racial, place, and class-based wealth and health gaps in our economy. Racism and other discrimination cause inequalities in opportunities for people of color, women, and others. Where you live affects your access to education, jobs, and other factors that support your well-being. These inequities play a role in shaping the economy, society, and opportunity.  A more equitable economy will improve health and well-being for all. It will ensure that all people have just opportunities for fulfilling life over generations. 

Green Jobs Contribute to a Well-Being Economy explains how green jobs can advance more equitable economies, producing meaningful work that promotes health and well-being. It outlines the policy, explains why it is an important solution and how it would work. It also navigates to resources that support policymakers who want to create more equitable, well-being economies in the U.S.

What Are Green Jobs?

Green jobs have goods or services that help to keep a healthy environment. Jobs that make a business better for the environment are also seen as green jobs. These jobs support the natural world and are needed for community health. Green jobs are in many areas such as waste management and national parks. There are also green jobs in education, politics, and healthcare. To promote equity, green jobs must be quality jobs that pay a living wage with opportunities for career growth and development.

Green Jobs Promote Equity and Environmental Justice

Communities experiencing inequality now and, in the past, are regularly excluded from quality employment opportunities, while also being the most threatened by the harms of climate change. Investments in jobs in sustainability and combating climate change must center these communities’ economic empowerment. Now is the time to ensure that a well-being economy is built with equity in mind, putting people on a pathway out of poverty and into prosperity, ensuring all people and all places thrive.

Impact of Green Jobs Policy

To deliver on equitable well-being, advancing the green economy must lead to more high-quality job opportunities for all people. 

  • People from all backgrounds in communities across the country can benefit from green jobs.
  • Green jobs can be a crucial part of the solution to social, economic, and environmental problems.
  • Green jobs could do so much more to advance equity.
  • Unless advocates and policymakers are thoughtful about policy design and implementation, new workforce investments may not improve our legacies of environmental and economic injustice.
  • Green Jobs are a potent multi-solver – with a growing number of advocates and supporters across many non-partisan issue areas.


The THRIVE Act was introduced in Congress in April 2021. “Transform, Heal and Renew by Investing in a Vibrant Economy” –i.e. “THRIVE”—commits to a range of investments to rebuild the U.S. economy. This bill has been endorsed by more than 100 members of Congress, and hundreds of major union, racial justice, and climate organizations

This economic recovery package can put over 15 million people to work in living-wage, union jobs across the economy — from clean energy to care work to manufacturing — to cut pollution in half by 2030 and advance gender, environmental, Indigenous, economic, and racial justice.

Economic development and community development are ways to build better places to live. It is equitable when community members can decide on and act together. Economic development only focuses on the community’s economy. It is usually led by the government or business community. Community development’s goal is broader. The goal is to build a healthier community with more opportunities for low-income, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. It’s a way to support and empower communities. Both economic and community development can include building affordable housing and creating good jobs. But community development puts more focus on getting the community involved.

A Well-Being Economy Is Built with Green Jobs

Green jobs can contribute to a well-being economy. An equitable well-being economy is a living system. It rests on the basic goal of all people and places thriving together – with no exceptions. It is an economy that is just, regenerative, multiracial. It values all stakeholder interests. An equitable economy rebalances power. It provides what everyone needs to participate, prosper, and reach their full potential. A well-being economy provides opportunity for freedom, voice, power, ownership. It leads to a fulfilling life over generations for everyone. An economy that addresses inequities due to racism, colonialism and other discrimination creates the conditions for everyone to thrive together. Green jobs aim to serve people and communities first and foremost and offer a promising path toward greater social well-being and environmental health.

Actions: Increasing Access to Green Jobs

  • Join an environmental caucus.
  • Meet with environmental advocacy groups and labor unions.
  • Hold an event or provide education to raise awareness of the need for more green jobs.
  • Support the THRIVE Act.
  • Introduce legislation to create more green jobs.
  • Support worker cooperatives, labor unions, social enterprises, and other models of economic democracy.
  • Work with local businesses and anchor institutions to create more green jobs.

From the Equitable Economies Library

This Equitable Economies policy brief by the WIN Network draws on the Advancing Equitable Economies Policy Library to help drive action around important policy themes.

Visit the Advancing Equitable Economies Policy Library for more policy briefs and to explore hundreds of policy strategies that have the potential to bring us closer to an equitable, well-being economy for all.

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Environmental and Economic Justice Policy Guide
Resource - Guide/handbook
Brought to you by WIN Network
Published on 10/17/2022
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Access to Good Jobs Policy Guide
Resource - Guide/handbook
Brought to you by WIN Network
Published on 04/20/2021
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Advancing Equitable Economies Policy Library
Brought to you by WIN Network
Published on 04/20/2021
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Increase Jobs that Contribute to a Green and Well-being Economy
Resource - Policy Brief
Brought to you by WIN Network
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Using the Equitable Economies Library to Make Lasting Change
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons

More Resources

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Green Jobs in Your Community
Resource - Website/webpage
Brought to you by EPA
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The Next System Project: Environment and Energy
Resource - Website/webpage
Brought to you by The Democracy Collaborative
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The Center for Law and Social Policy: Environmental Justice
Resource - Website/webpage
Brought to you by CLASP
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Equitable Growth Initiatives
Resource - Website/webpage
Brought to you by PolicyLink
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These mayors are leading the way to a fair and green recovery from COVID-19
Story - Written
Brought to you by GOOD & Upworthy
Published on 07/15/2020
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Redefining Green Jobs for a Sustainable Economy
Resource - Report
Brought to you by TCF