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Green economy or green society? Contestation and policies for a fair transition

This paper outlines a conceptual and policy approach to bringing social concerns to the forefront of green economy and sustainable development debates. It examines a wide range of social problems and other issues associated with green economy, reasserting that any development transformation must be both green and fair ─ leading to a green society, not just a green economy. However, different transition pathways exist, each with different developmental implications. The paper addresses the key role of social policy, agency and participation in crafting transition paths that are green and fair. A comprehensive or transformative social policy is argued to play a key role in mitigating unfair consequences, influencing behaviour and transforming patterns of inequality. The paper concludes by highlighting issues of fragmentation associated with knowledge, institutional arrangements and social agency, and suggests the need for ‘joined-up analysis, policy and action’.