Implementation of Green Recovery Measures

The calls for the adoption of Green Recovery measures are being heard. Several major economies such as Canada, China, India and the EU, among many others, have at least attached some green strings to their stimulus packages. Yet, these efforts are simply not enough. On the global scale and in most economies, non-green—also known as “brown”—stimulus measures largely outweigh green efforts.

If this trend continues, the recovery from COVID-19 will likely just reinforce the destructive and short-sighted climate and environmental trajectory that has led us towards the crises we face today. We have a profound and deeply powerful opportunity to increase our resilience to future shocks, but we must make wise choices now.  

Relation of "brown" to "green" stimulus measures in selected economies:
Canada
China
EU Commission
India
South Korea
United Kingdom
USA

Adapted from the Green Stimulus Index developed by Vivid Economics which weights stimulus packages by their monetary size and expert judgements of the “green” versus “brown” nature of the national policy context, recipient sectors and individual measures.

Total spending - recovery spending - green spending. Countries worldwide

Source: Global Recovery Observatory, July 2021

Sustainable Infrastructure to Build Back Better

Infrastructure investments are a powerful driver to spur economic growth. As they offer new employment opportunities, enable economic activity and improve access to markets and services, they are a common pillar of stimulus packages of any kind. 

However, simply “investing in more infrastructure” is likely to lock-in environmentally harmful and socially exclusive practices and technologies. Hence, the IMF recommends countries to focus public investments on climate-smart and resilient infrastructures, combined with public work programs that provide income support for the most vulnerable. The significant level of recovery spending traditionally directed towards infrastructure development underlines the scope of this opportunity: focused on sustainable infrastructure solutions, these investments can make a significant contribution, not only to the green transformation, but also to its social inclusiveness. 

Yet, public spending alone will not turn the tide. According to the OECD, USD 6.9 trillion of private investments in infrastructure are needed annually until 2030 to bridge the infrastructure service gap in a way that is (only) in line with the 2°C target of the Paris Agreement. Leveraging these investments will not only require stricter regulations and definitions of what sustainability means in practice, we also have to support the sustainable finance market and the development of bankable sustainable infrastructure project pipelines with clearly reduced investment risks. 

6.9

Trillion USD of private investment needed

Interested in learning more?

Making the Green Recovery work for Jobs, Income and Growth

By: OECD

This report informs about the role Green Recovery plays for the future of economic development and job creation.

Greenness of Stimulus Index - Report

By: Vivideconomics

This report informs about the role Green Recovery plays for the future of economic development and job creation.

Green Approaches to COVID-19 Recovery

By: UNEP

This policy note highlights the role of green infrastructure in the green recovery, with individual sections on clean energy, water and nature-based solutions. 

Tracking how the world’s ‘green recovery’ plans aim to cut emissions

By: CarbonBrief

Track the individual measures of countries that are intended to contribute to a Green Recovery.

Relevant sustainability tools