A newly-appointed labour representative on the board of the United Nations Global Compact has delivered a positive message on the benefits of tackling climate change for workers.
n fact, during the launch of the ‘Ocean Stewardship Coalition’ recently held in New York, ITF General Secretary Stephen Cotton told:
“We have a massive task in front of us, to arrest the climate crisis. But from a labour perspective, if done right, the transition to zero carbon industries can be a big opportunity for workers – for decent pay, for better jobs, and for safer workplaces,” said Cotton. “Let’s be ambitious, but let’s be positive and realistic about what this can mean for workers,” ..as Cotton added..
In Cotton’s first public appearance as a UNGC board member, he threw union support behind a zero carbon emissions target for shipping by 2050. The industry currently accounts for around 2.5 percent of global emissions – a figure that could be much lower, according to the ITF which represents the world’s seafarers.
Global emissions targets will not be met without action in shipping. The industry needs to act, and governments need to set firm sectoral targets to reach zero emissions either multilaterally in the IMO or by including shipping as part of their own emissions caps committed to in Paris.
Cotton warned against a rush by the industry to cut emissions without considering the impact of new technologies on its workforce, particularly in relation to health and safety and training.
“A just transition must mean a planet safe to live on, and creating industries that are not only green, but also have safe, decent jobs for generations to come.”
For the records, Stephen Cotton is a British-born trade union leader who joined the ITF in 1993 to head the federation’s maritime agreements unit. He has led the organisation since 2012. Cotton is also chair of the Council of Global Unions which collectively represents more than 200 million workers.