Adaptation to climate change

Adaptation to Climate Change and the world of work 

Adaptation to Climate Change and the world of work 

Climate change consequences are getting real.

Over the past 50 years, we have seen an increase in the number and intensity of climatic events (increase of temperature, increase of precipitations, droughts, floods, wildfires, storms and other extreme weather events). These changes, if not properly anticipated, will have dramatic effects on many workers in the different sectors (e.g. loss of productivity in agriculture, increased pressure on health and emergency services, supplies problem in the industry, infrastructure damages in the energy and transport sectors, change in attractivity and behaviour in tourism, increased costs and risks in insurances, etc). In addition, various extreme weather events will have a severe impacts on workers’ health and safety (e.g. higher risks for workers during heat waves and other extreme events).

So far, Trade Unions have mainly focused their activities on mitigation measures, trying to cope with the important changes that a transition to a carbon-neutral economy brings for the different sectors and their workers. While mitigation remains a priority of the Trade Union movement – there is no job on a dead planet – we now need to also be active in adapting to the coming changes. Trade unions will have an important role to play in making our societies more resilient, be it by developing new col­lective agreements or by providing recommendations for relevant policy measures.

In this context, ETUC launched a project, with the financial support of the European Commission, to reflect on how trade unions can get involved in adaptation to climate change.

The objectives of this project were: 

  • to inform and raise awareness among trade unions,
  • to identify how climate change consequences impact and will impact workers in the years to come,
  • to formulate concrete demands and recommendations,
  •  to develop strategies to put the world of work at the core of future adaptation policies. 

The guide Adaptation to Climate Change and the world of work is a result of this project. Not only does it provide a clear definition of the concept of adaptation to climate change, it also gives the reader a clear idea of how climate change consequences will affect the different European regions and sectors. Highlighting the effects climate change will have on health and safety of workers, it finally details a set of recommendations and looks at existing practices allowing trade unions to take action on adaptation at various levels.

To accompany trade unions in their efforts to play an active role in the design and implementation of the national strategies for adaptation and to bring adaptation on the agenda of industrial relations, ETUC has developed dedicated toolkits, equipping our members to raise awareness at national level.

In the toolkits, you will find the guide, infographics, videos and banners translated into 10 languages.

Find your material here:

Toolkit EN

Toolkit DE

Toolkit FR

Toolkit ES

Toolkit IT

Toolkit PT

Toolkit NL

Toolkit HR

Toolkit PL

Toolkit GR

Toolkit FI_video

Toolkit CZ_Guide