This guide provides recommendations for companies pursuing net zero emissions on how to ensure a just transition for their workers and the communities in which they operate.
Investment > ESG and corporate engagement, Private finance
company-level just transition processes
company transition risks
Samantha Smith, Emily Hickson
Just Transition Centre, The B Team
Academic/research institution or journal, Non-profit organization/civil society organization
This guidance document provides operational advice for companies on how to implement a just transition as they seek to reduce carbon emissions. The authors argue that businesses urgently need to understand how such a transition will impact them, outlining the various risks and opportunities (reputational, market, and technological) associated with the transition. Changes in perceptions of the company, shifts in supply and demand, improvements in innovations, policy actions, and industrial relations all provide opportunities for business to maximize positive impacts in support of a just transition.
The authors first make the business case for a just transition before outlining three stages of action for companies aiming to implement a just transition: engage, plan, and enact. They recommend that companies engage in social dialogue with workers, unions, government bodies, and other stakeholders at all phases of the transition, offering specific topics for discussion. With social dialogue as a foundation, a company should create a plan that “is concrete, time-bound, applies indicators, sets measurable goals, and is enterprise-wide.” The authors suggest that companies should conduct regular monitoring and reporting while implementing their plans and “advocate and collaborate… for stronger collective action” to promote a just transition. Throughout the text, the authors offer brief examples of just transition efforts at the business level. They conclude with an annex that offers general principles and recommendations that companies can incorporate into their procurement processes, business and employment planning, and emissions-reduction strategies.
Guidance document/Guidelines, Strategies and Recommendations
Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, Initiative for Responsible Investment
Academic/research institution or journal
This guide was generated as part of the “Investing in a Just Transition Initiative,” a joint program of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the Initiative for Responsible Investment at the Harvard Kennedy School. This initiative seeks to enable institutional investors to support inclusive economies and sustainable development through their action on climate change. This guide explains the motivations for investor action toward just transitions and describes how investors can apply existing approaches to pursue a just transition in their climate strategies and core operating practices.
Investors can make an important contribution to the just transition agenda as fiduciaries, stewards of assets, allocators of capital, and influential voices in public policy. The authors identify five ways in which investors can incorporate just transition principles into their practices, both as individual institutions and collective initiatives. These approaches include investment strategy, corporate engagement, capital allocation, policy advocacy, and shared learning. The authors provide concrete examples of these approaches and recommendations for next steps.
Academic paper, Commentary, Guidance document, News article/Case Study; Definitions and Concepts; Guidelines, Strategies and Recommendations; Policy Tools or Evaluations
This academic paper provides a comparative analysis of transition policies employed in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany; Alberta, Canada; and Victoria, Australia, and offers a framework for implementing just transitions in coal-dependent jurisdictions.
Australia, Canada, Germany
Economic diversification/restructuring > Economic development plans, Industry and/or sector assistance or plans, Infrastructure investment
Employment > Job creation and/or equality, Skills, Social protections
Government intervention > Public finance, Regulation
Social and/or cultural impacts > Non-financial loss, Pride or cultural identity
weak versus strong sustainable development
Kieran Harranhill, Owen Douglas
Energy Policy Journal
Academic/research institution or journal, Inter-governmental/international organization, Labor organization, Non-profit organization/civil society organization
The rhetoric of a just transition is central to energy and development policy discourse, yet recent studies have identified substantial challenges to its implementation. This paper provides a theoretical and practical comparative analysis of transition policies employed in three first-world jurisdictions dependent on coal: North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany, Alberta in Canada, and Victoria in Australia. These jurisdictions adopted different approaches based on their varying experiences with prior economic transitions, understandings of sustainable development, and government priorities and support.
The success of these policies is evaluated in terms of social dialogue, re-employability, re-training, and state welfare, all of which the European Trade Union Institute considers critical factors of a just transition. The authors identify which measures overcame key challenges in the achievement of a just transition and successfully ameliorated the socioeconomic well-being of coal-dependent workers and communities.
Based on these findings, the authors propose a framework for achieving a just transition in coal-dependent jurisdictions. This framework is broken into two phases, pre-transition and transition, illustrating the importance of planning and proactive social dialogue. The framework also identifies the important role of governments in assisting workers and communities in navigating the transition process and in supporting new and emerging low carbon industries in the context of sustainable development. The paper concludes by recommending topics for further study, including coal transitions in developing country contexts, consideration of a wider range of impacts, and testing of the proposed framework.
Guidance document/Guidelines, Strategies and Recommendations
These guidelines were developed through tripartite dialogue. They provide general guidance on how to formulate, implement, and monitor a just transition in accordance with national circumstances and priorities. It is a commonly referenced document in the just transitions discourse and, in many respects, outlines the foundational elements of just transitions in the context of climate action.
This document briefly summarizes the vision, opportunities and challenges, and guiding principles of a just transition, which were first outlined in conclusions by the 102nd session of the International Labor Conference in 2013. It then builds on these conclusions to outline the elements of a basic framework for a just transition. These elements include institutional arrangements and key policy areas that serve to mainstream and promote environmental, economic, and social sustainability. The guidance is directed at both governments and social partners, which have an active and significant role to play in the transition.