I think everyone has it wrong.
Almost every local article I have read that has attempted to define the concept of a green economy has been laced with indecisiveness and a pinch of incomprehension on the basics of what it is. Many have tried to contextualize it to the local situation but all am getting is negligence driven by failure of a deeper understanding of the issue. You cannot define Green Economy without making reference to macro-economic aspects which are explicitly integral to it. This does not, however, neglect the locally driven initiatives which can be classified as elements of a green economy; what it means is that they cannot be referred to as green economy projects as doing so will imply its disassociation from the essential economy wide integrating element that this concept should be linked with.
Matters green economy are mainly investment related and driven by the national government through its planning, environment and treasury ministries. It is therefore safe to say that this is mainly a fiscal issue.
Green Economy is a model, a process and not an end goal; making reference to projects as “green economy projects” is thus a symptom of the misconception that it continues to be associated with. For instance in a green economy Booklet published by National environment and Management authority on Green Economy and the Kenyan scenario, the writer asks the question “does Kenya have a Green Economy?”. This question models green economy as a product that can be owned/acquired, it does not accommodate the line of thought that considers green economy as a process. I would rather the writer had asked “Has Kenya adopted a green Economy?” Because Green Economy is a shift in the way business is done, it is about addressing structural inefficiencies and changing the “business as usual model.”
From my research on a number of existing literature on this topic, I am convinced that the reason for this confusion is driven by the crafters of this term who have failed to get consensus on how to unanimously define it. The term Green Economy traces its prominence to the Rio +20 conference of 2012. It was after this conference that most high profiled development organizations accelerated their efforts of promoting the development and adoption of economic strategies based around this model; although even up to now the model is not clear despite its rich history and origin. http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/index.php?menu=1446
Particular definitions from a number of institutions are as follows:
UNEP defines Green Economy (GE) as an economy that results in improved human well being and social equity while reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.
OECD on the other hand makes reference to green growth (the institution almost makes a deliberate effort to avoid use of the term Green Economy and prefers to use Green Growth) For them Green growth means fostering economic growth and development while ensuring that natural assets continue to provide the resources and environmental services on which our well-being relies.
World Banks’ focus is also on green growth but with a lot of references to the economy. It defines it as “growth that is efficient in its use of natural resources, clean in that it minimizes pollution and environmental impacts, and resilient in that it accounts for natural hazards and the role of environmental management and natural capital in preventing physical disasters. And this growth needs to be inclusive.”
The AFDB also uses green growth and defines it as the promotion and maximization of opportunities from economic growth through building resilience, managing natural assets efficiently and sustainably, including enhancing agricultural productivity and promoting sustainable infrastructure
It is clear that the other challenge facing this issue is the lack of international agreement on whether focus should be on green growth or green economy or how the interplay between the two should be. The one document that has made an attempt at clarifying this difference is a scoping paper done by the Green Growth Knowledge Platform. Although it does not explicitly differentiate the two, the document implies that the difference between Green Economy and Green Growth is the aspect of social equity and wellbeing. This is so because this issue is not captured in the various definitions of Green Growth. It is why several organizations are pushing for it to be referred to as inclusive green growth so that this element is captured.
On the positive side, the different definitions are not very diverse; several key elements come out about the broader concept of green economy, these include efficiency, clean production and maximization of outputs without severe consequences on the environment. The other elements include efficiency in the economic and production system including issues of green procurement, structural reforms and social inclusivity. The Kenya Green Economy assessment report refers to this model as essentially being a low-carbon, resource-efficient and socially-inclusive economy.
Afrcan Development Bank. 2014. Green Growth In Africa: Supporting Africa’s Transition to Green Growth-Snapshot of the AfDB’s Activities
The World Bank. 2012. Inclusive Green growth: the pathways to sustainable developmentfile:///C:/Users/QUOBAR/Downloads/Green%20Economy%20Booklet.pdf