The 'Green Economy': A Just and Sustainable Development Path or a 'Wolf in Sheep's Clothing'?

  • Jacklyn Cock University of the Witwatersrand
Keywords: climate change, just transition, labour-environmental alliances, marketization, neo-liberal capitalism,


This article argues that a transformative model of the green economy could potentially benefit labour and provide an alternative, socially just and ecologically sustainable development path in South Africa. However, realizing this potential depends on an effective challenge to the 'corporate capture' of the green economy discourse. This could emerge from the deepening of an embryonic alliance between the labour and environmental movements. While historically relations between the two movements in South Africa have been disconnected – and even antagonistic – attempts by unions to formulate environmental policies and joint action on two issues, 'climate jobs' and rising electricity prices, are challenging the 'jobs-versus-the-environment' binary and creating new solidarity networks which are promoting radical alternatives.