Green Collar Worker (Green Jobs)

Definition

The term green collar worker is used to describe an individual that is employed by a company in the environmental sector of the economy.  Green collar workers satisfy the need for long-term, sustainable, and environmentally-friendly development.

Explanation

Also known as green jobs, green collar workers are employed by companies providing goods and services aimed at conserving or improving the environment.  Unlike the term blue collar worker, which is descriptive of the work done by the employee, green collar workers include both professionals as well as unskilled laborers whose job function involves improving the environment.

Several examples of industries that would be considered "green" are as follows.  The common theme among these workers is the creation of a sustainable future state:

  • Energy Efficiency:  includes companies designing and producing energy efficient equipment (heating and air conditioning), lighting (LEDs, CFL), and appliances.
  • Organic Food:  includes farms that provide produce free from pesticides and practice sustainable land use techniques. 
  • Pollution Control:  includes companies designing and producing equipment that reduces greenhouse gases as well as other air pollutants.
  • Potable Water:  includes companies manufacturing equipment, developing projects, as well as operating plants that ensure people have access to clean drinking water.
  • Renewable Energy:  includes companies developing projects (design and construction) as well as generating electricity using wind turbines, fuel cells, solar panels, and hydro (water) sources.
  • Waste Reduction:  includes companies that reuse waste materials as well as those involved in the recycling of materials.

Individuals in green collar jobs can also help to establish policy or regulations that promote a cleaner environment.

Related Terms

exempt employee, non-exempt employee, blue collar worker