The ETUI, in co-operation with the European Climate Foundation, held a conference on ‘The nexus of climate change and welfare: towards a new concept of the welfare state’ on 17 June 2021.

The aim of the conference was to create linkages between the climate change and welfare state discourses, and to explore the possibilities for developing a new concept of the welfare state that looks beyond the growth paradigm and is fit to address the challenges of climate change and a sustainable future. The event brought together experts from different fields of scholarship, as well as representatives of the trade union movement.

Among the topics discussed were the possibilities of decoupling welfare from GDP growth, the expansion of essential public services on the way to a net-zero economy, the challenges posed by climate change to health and healthcare systems, and the impact of the green transition on pensions. 

The workshop demonstrated that there is a growing interest and strategic reflection within academia and the trade union movement on the connections between just transition, climate change and welfare.

Conference papers:

Éloi Laurent, From welfare to farewell: The European social-ecological state beyond economic growth, ETUI Working Paper 2021.04

Ian Gough, Climate change: the key challenge. A framework for an eco-social contract, preliminary version

David Natali, Michele Raitano and Guilia Valenti, Pensions and the Green Transition: policy and political issues at stake, preliminary version

Christine Corlet Walker, Angela Druckman and Tim Jackson, Welfare systems without economic growth: A review of the challenges and next steps for the field, Ecological Economics, Vol 186, 2021

You can find further references to publications by the speakers, the agenda and recording of the event as well as presentations of the participants here.