Green growth is about making growth processes resource-efficient, cleaner and more resilient without necessarily slowing them. This paper aims at clarifying these concepts in an analytical framework and at proposing foundations for green growth. The green growth approach proposed here is based on: (1) focusing on what needs to happen over the next 5–10 years before the world gets locked into patterns that would be prohibitively expensive and complex to modify; and (2) reconciling the short and the long term, by offsetting short-term costs and maximising synergies and economic co-benefits. This, in turn, increases the social and political acceptability of environmental policies. This framework identifies channels through which green policies can potentially contribute to economic growth. However, only detailed country- and context-specific analyses for each of these channels could reach firm conclusions regarding their actual impact on growth. Finally, the paper discusses the policies that can be implemented to capture these co-benefits and environmental benefits. Since green growth policies pursue a variety of goals, they are best served by a combination of instruments: price-based policies are important but are only one component in a policy tool-box that can also include norms and regulation, public production and direct investment, information creation and dissemination, education and moral suasion, or industrial and innovation policies.