2007 - present

Fully operational


Policy area

The focus is on training for green skills/jobs.

Policy goal

The problems addressed are the lack of skills for green jobs and environmental problems. The policy goal is to provide skills for green jobs to promote the greening of the economy and employability of workers. The final policy goal is to promote employment and competitiveness of the private sector through environmental transformation and greening. Thus, the instrument has three linked goals (environmental, economic and social). The programme was initially (2007-2013) focused on employed workers, but on the new ESF period (2014-2020) focuses on unemployed workers as well. In addition, the programme includes support to green entrepreneurs.

Explicitly designed to address skill mismatch

The objective of the project is to provide skills that are needed by the labour market for the development of green activities.

Administrative level
Main responsible body

Biodiversity Foundation, a public body embedded in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and the Environment.


European Social Fund: Co-funding and monitoring.
UAFSE (Ministry of Employment and Social Security), Management Authority of the ESF in Spain: Control and monitoring.
Training providers: Provide training in skills for green jobs.
Companies, associations and NGOs: design, application and implementation of projects.


In 2007-13 period, the budget reached €44.1 million.
In 2014-20 period, the budget reached €67 million.
The source of these funding is the ESF and the Biodiversity Foundation, through the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and the Environment. ESF co-funding ranges 50%-80%, depending on the level of income of the regions where the projects are implemented, following ESF co-funding criteria.

Intended beneficiaries

Direct beneficiaries are the entities that apply for projects. The final beneficiaries are the workers that receive training, the companies that employ these workers and local communities that benefit from a process of green development. The environment and the society as a whole are also final beneficiaries.


Use of labour market intelligence

Project beneficiaries (companies, associations, NGOs) design the project, identifying the skill gaps to address through training. Often beneficiaries are business associations linked with one sector of activity in one concrete region. On a broad sense, the programme priorities are set in line with the government strategies for environment.

Financial schemes

Subsidies based on calls are open to entities who apply for projects.
The programme is co-funded by the ESF and by the Biodiversity Foundation, through the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and the Environment.

Frequency of updates

The content of the programme is updated constantly as ongoing projects finish and new ones begin. On a broad sense, the programme design is updated every 7 years through the ESF programming periods. The programme has been updated between the 2007-13 and the 2014-20 periods.


The programme has been in action during two ESF periods: 2007-13 and 2014-20. In the new period, improvements have been introduced, such as to pay more attention to the participation of unemployed workers, to blue economy projects (environmentally responsible activities in the sea), focus on Natura 2000 sites, support social innovation projects and exchange experiences and knowledge among EU green entrepreneurs.


There are barriers of environmental awareness and of administrative complexity in some projects.
The lack of investment to carry out a green transformation of companies has also been identified as a barrier.
The economic crisis has also reduced the potential for greening.

Success factors

The design of projects comes directly from beneficiaries, who have a deep knowledge of the sectoral and environmental situation at the local level.


The main indicators are the number of participants, jobs created and start-ups created.
At the project level, each project is followed up and publishes a memory of activities.
At the programme level, the programme follows the ESF monitoring requirements. The development of programme actions appear in the Annual Implementation Reports of the ESF 2014-2020 Operational Programme of Education, Training and Employment of Spain.

Very innovative

The policy is innovative, as it focuses on skills gap from emerging sectors, such as green economy. In addition, universities often participate in projects, providing technologically advanced knowledge. At the project level, the template for the memory of each project includes a chapter about the innovativeness of each project.


Evidence of effectiveness

Around 60,000 employed workers (32% women) from 24,000 entities (94% SMEs, 3% large companies and 3% NGOs) received training between 2007 and 2015. In addition, the programme contributed to the creation of 3,500 direct jobs and contributed to the creation of 2,600 green start-ups and businesses. These results were above the targets set in 2007, which were to support 50,000 participants and the creation of 1,000 green start-ups and businesses.
No definitive results for the 2014-2020 period are available yet as the period is currently ongoing.
There have been positive impacts on environmental awareness, improvement of biodiversity and of fertility of soil.

Engagement of stakeholders

At the project level, Emprende Verde has included a network, Red Emprendeverde, which promotes the creation and consolidation of green start-ups and green businesses. In addition, the website of Emplea Verde disseminates projects that have been carried out.
At the programme level, Biodiversity Foundation holds regular communication with ESF Managing Authority within the ESF framework.

Easily transferable

The structure of the programme could be implemented in other EU member states. Indeed, it is a ESF funded project, which has shaped the programme design and makes it more transferrable to other countries that are beneficiaries of ESF. In addition, many of the concrete projects funded by Emplea Verde can be a source of inspiration for projects in other EU regions that share similar climate conditions, environmental challenges and skills environment.


The instrument has been positively assessed at the national and at the international level. It responds to a strategic field of skills shortages (green economy), where it is a reference instrument in Spain. The programme has already funding for the current ESF 2014-2020 period and it is likely that it will be funded in future ESF periods.