Gilad Erdan 29/07/10 Nir Kafri
Gilad Erdan Photo by Nir Kafri
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The government approved on Sunday a proposal to prepare a national plan to promote environmentally friendly economic development by means of encouraging clean industry, preferential marketing conditions for green products and state support for the use of recycled materials. According to assessments, green developments could bring in up to NIS 30 billion a year for the Israeli economy.

Under the proposal, compiled by the Environmental Protection and Industry, Trade and Labor ministries, the government will appoint an inter-ministerial team that will submit its recommendations on the implementation of the plan by May 2012. The team will also comprise representatives of various sectors of the economy who will offer their input.

The move comes as a follow-up to Israel's joining of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which has made green growth a central part of the economic and social strategies it is trying to promote. The United Nations' environmental protection agency has also recently come out with a comprehensive plan for promoting green economic development worldwide.

Among other things, the new national plan will focus on supporting industries involved in the development of green technologies, lifting regulatory restrictions that currently prevent the advancement of such technologies, and encouraging green consumption.

Vis-a-vis green consumption, the proposal states: "There are many tools for the encouragement of green consumption, including stringent environmental regulations, the labeling of products with green tags, subsidization of the purchase of such products and the encouragement of green governmental acquisition."

The new plan will also encourage employment in industries that specialize in green technologies.

Green economic development was the Israeli economy's next engine, said Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan ahead of Sunday's government meeting. "The plan we will formulate will help Israeli companies to compete in the global market, which understands the enormous economic potential inherent in proper environmental conduct," Erdan said.

"Based on a review of the waste market alone, more than 10,000 new jobs can be added to the economy; this, together with the use of raw materials valued at NIS 875 million that currently go to waste and are dumped in landfill sites," the minister continued.

According to an assessment compiled by the two ministries involved in the project, the annual economic benefit from green growth could reach a rate of NIS 30 billion a year within a decade. Most of this benefit would come from the export of green services and technologies to the tune of NIS 10 billion, along with the use of recycled raw materials that could save the Israeli economy around NIS 8.1 billion.

Among the sectors that are likely to constitute a level for green growth in Israel are the fields of water-purification technologies, solar-energy developments and green construction.