Indonesia Mengglobal and the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), in partnership with CASE for Southeast Asia, held a joint event on Saturday, 6 November 2021. We raised the theme of “Green Jobs in Indonesia: Opportunities, Challenges, and Future Outlook.”
The webinar started with an opening remark from Dwinanda Ardhi Swasono, the President of Indonesia Mengglobal 2021/2022. Dwinanda stated that the theme of “Green Jobs” is non-traditional for Indonesia Mengglobal, who typically discusses scholarships and pursuing a career or higher education abroad. However, Indonesia Mengglobal believes that sustainability is a global issue that needs more attention in Indonesia. Therefore, Indonesia Mengglobal decided to collaborate with IESR and conduct the joint webinar, survey, and article publication.
The event continued with an opening remark and presentation from Gandhabhaskara, Outreach and Engagement Advisor of IESR. Gandha presented the core background and objective of the IESR project, which is to develop a new narrative of the direction of the energy sector in Southeast Asia towards an evidence-based energy transition, aiming to increase political ambition to comply with the Paris Agreement. In line with the objective, Gandha also stated that discussions about renewable energy should consider other discourses, such as economics and socio-cultural, including green jobs.
Adding to this statement, Gandha presented the result of a preliminary survey done by Indonesia Mengglobal and IESR about green jobs and renewable energy. The result showed that out of 205 respondents, 93% of them showed interest in energy and environmental issues. However, only 50% of the respondents are familiar with green jobs. More than 53% of respondents aspired to study the environment and/or renewable energy, and 90% claimed to be satisfied if their jobs were concerned with environmental issues. Furthermore, 98% of the respondents agree that the government should stimulate green jobs in Indonesia. Gandha closed his presentation with a call to young generations to raise more discussions about green jobs and renewable energy.
The main parts of the webinar were a discussion with four panelists from different professional and academic backgrounds and a focus group discussion (FGD) with three representatives from student organizations. Despite the background differences, the panelists and the discussants agree that there should be more effort to promote the issue of green jobs and renewable energy in Indonesia. The session ended with Edwin Chandra, Vice President of Indonesia Mengglobal for 2021/2022, who also served as moderator for the webinar, underlined the importance of raising literacy around the issues of green jobs and renewable energy.
Here are some of the main takeaways from the panel discussions:
Desy Pirmasari – Research Fellow, University of Leeds
- Climate change impacts everyone; however, the impacts are uneven. Marginal groups tend to be more affected because they get little to no options to face the challenges. Climate justice is an effort to provide equal opportunities to everyone to face the impacts of climate change, especially to the marginal groups.
- People don’t need to have an academic background in energy to have a green job. When their job contributes to sustainability and environment preservation, it can also consider as green jobs. For example, government officers design an urban plan by paying attention to the green areas. Considering eliminating carbon miles during goods procurement can also be identified as green jobs. In conclusion, green jobs have a broad definition.
- The most important things we must have in order to solve energy and environmental crisis are passion, willingness to learn, and innovation.
Noor Titan Putri – Post-doctoral Researcher, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, Germany
- There are several challenges in implementing advanced technologies in Indonesia, such as solar panels. First, advanced technology has not become a research priority in Indonesia, although there are opportunities to research in this field. Second, compatibility problems due to differences in resources. In the case of solar panels, every area has a different level of sunlight exposure. The third is resources. The research needs significant funding and qualified human resources to develop advanced technology.
- The two most important things to solve our energy and environmental issues are raising literacy and enriching ourselves with various perspectives. People who have limited views tend to be more closed to new knowledge and research opportunities.
Jonathan Davy – Co-founder & CEO, Ecoxyztem Venture Builder
- The biggest challenge in green jobs is we are lacking talents in this field, talents who are willing to start green businesses. Meanwhile, to solve the problem, we must start somewhere. Either start from our daily routines or student activities at the university. Once we start, we will find different perspectives through the process. Making a profit is not the primary goal, it’s a bonus.
Julius Christian – Researcher, Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR)
- Pressure from various parties increases the discussion about energy and environmental issues, especially renewable energy. Many sectors have already included environmental aspects in their business process. Changes in policy by the government related to renewable energy in the last 1-2 years are also quite fast. For example, the government has put a halt to coal power plants construction.
- Globally speaking, over the past year, investments worldwide for any industry have drastically dropped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, investments in renewable energy still increase, and it proves that there is more attention to the issue now.
In the FGD, some organization representatives spoke on the challenges over green jobs and environmental issues in Indonesia. Here are some of the key highlights:
Adi Muliadi – Ecologica Institut Pertanian Bogor (IPB)
- According to Adi, one of the challenges of entering green jobs is that many students felt discouraged by the high qualifications demanded by certain companies. However, Adi suggested that students start creating green job opportunities by introducing their products or services to the market.
Alriansyah Idris – BEM Fakultas Pertanian Universitas Bengkulu
- Living in Bengkulu, Alriansyah felt that regional policy was not inclined to support the environment, e.g., increase in palm oil plantation, discussion over converting elephant conservation area into a coal power plant, etc. Another challenge is the lack of implementation or practical skills students get in university to help solving environmental issues and entering green jobs.
Ghina Vika – Society of Renewable Energy Universitas Gadjah Mada (SRE UGM)
- In Indonesia, green jobs, renewable energy, and environmental issues are still unpopular among society. Vika suggested that we have to introduce and familiarize green jobs, especially to youth in Indonesia. Also, she encouraged students to dare to be different and dare to start a greener career.
Did you miss the event? You can watch the recording of the event on YouTube.