Glossary entry

Environmental Work & Climate Sabbatical Work

Definitions

Contracts definitions

Option 1

Environmental Work means work that will improve the local or national environment or ecology including but not limited to, tree planting projects, clearing and rewilding derelict land, habitat creation, or projects to install energy efficiency measures.

Option 2

Climate Sabbatical Work means work that:

(i) reduces Greenhouse Gas emissions including by improving energy efficiency, minimising the use of raw materials, waste and pollution, or protecting and restoring the environment and biodiversity; or

(ii) supports adaptation to the effects of climate change.

It includes, but is not limited to, tree planting, clearing and rewilding derelict land, habitat creation, installing energy efficiency measures or renewable power or raising awareness of climate change.

Option 3

Climate Sabbatical Work means work that meets the criteria for approval of a climate sabbatical in [name of document containing criteria] [and that is aligned with the Paris Agreement goals and the UN Sustainable Development Goals and that does not contravene the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights].

Model laws definitions

Option 1

Environmental Work means work that will improve the local or national environment or ecology, is aligned with the Paris Agreement goals and the UN Sustainable Development Goals and that does not contravene the UN guiding principles on business and human rights. This work includes, but is not limited to, tree planting projects, clearing and rewilding derelict land, habitat creation, or projects to install energy efficiency measures.

Option 2

Environmental Work means work that:

(i) contributes to preserving or restoring the environment by limiting Greenhouse Gas emissions; improving energy efficiency, minimising the use of raw materials, waste and pollution, protecting and restoring ecosystems and supporting adaptation to the effects of climate change; or

(ii) produces goods or provides services that benefit the environment.

Drafting notes

Contracts definitions

The definition of environmental work or climate sabbatical work for use in contracts is likely to be used by organisations offering climate sabbaticals in either an employment contract or a staff handbook to define the type of work that an organisation will accept as appropriate for a climate sabbatical. Organisations could decide to adapt this definition to allow environmental sabbaticals rather than specifically climate sabbaticals. 

For information on the Paris Agreement goals, see the drafting notes for the Paris Alignment definition.

Option 3 of Climate Sabbatical Work includes a requirement for environmental work to be aligned with the Paris Agreement goals and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and not to contravene the UN guiding principles on business and human rights (UN GPs). This is to maximise the impact of the sabbatical.  

Key UN SDGs to consider would be:

  • SDG 6 (Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all).
  • SDG 7 (Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all).
  • SDG 11 (Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable).
  • SDG 13 (Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts).
  • SDG 14 (Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development).
  • SDG 15 (Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss).

To draft the criteria for Climate Sabbatical Work in Option 3, organisations could use the wording in option 1. This wording may be appropriate to insert into a staff handbook. Organisations may wish to specify entities they have vetted and with whom employees may undertake a climate sabbatical.

Model laws definitions

The definitions of Environmental Work are likely to be used in the context of classifying those jobs that fall within the scope of the green economy or measuring the extent to which government policies have resulted in a transition to a green economy.  

We have included a requirement in option 1 for Environmental Work to be aligned with the Paris Agreement goals and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and not to contravene the UN guiding principles on business and human rights (UN GPs). This is to ensure that only Environmental Work that does not cause other environmental or social issues counts as green jobs.

Key UN SDGs are the same as those specified for contracts above.

Application

International law, national policies and legal frameworks. Use of definition by organisations wishing to insert climate sabbatical wording into employment contracts.