Inderscience Publishers

Cleaner production, employment effects and socio-economic development

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Employment effects of clean technologies - i.e. integrated environmental technologies as probably one of the core contributions of firms to an environmentally sound development - have not yet been extensively explored. Production theory leads to the conclusion that the technological relationships between the firm's inputs are of crucial importance. On the one hand, the demand for labour may be tightly bound to the use of natural resources (complementary relation). On the other hand, it can be shown that clean technologies can reduce the number of jobs in a firm even if the amount of resources used in the production process and the number of jobs are not bound together. As clean technologies often lead to a more rationalised production process, these technologies reduce the demand for labour, too. Empirical findings of a survey involving 41 Austrian firms that implemented clean technologies indicate that firms neither reduce nor expand the number of jobs significantly. In many cases, rationalisation takes place, but they are used to extend the firm's market share and secure their economic position. The main qualitative employment effects are improved health and security, increased qualification and motivation of workers.

Keywords: clean technologies, socio-economic consequences, energy, water, materials

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