The report suggests a series of considerations for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to allow for the integration of just transition considerations into its decarbonization operations, using historical evidence from other deep structural changes.
Economic diversification/restructuring > Economic development plans, Other
Employment > Job creation and/or equality, Skills
Environment and/or pollution
Social and/or cultural impacts > Pride or cultural identity
International Finance Institutions (IFIs)
multilateral development banks
regional economic development
special economic zone
Aaron Atteridge, Isabel Blanco, Claudia Strambo
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
Development finance institution
The authors seek to offer insights into how transitions impact people, economies, and the environment, as well as the extent of the effectiveness of different kinds of responses including the impacts of not responding. Moreover, it provides useful considerations related to the needs of those who lose out in society, while addressing overall concerns about inequalities in societies affected by deep structural changes. The report was used to inform EBRD’s approach to just transitions, as set out in the document “The EBRD Just Transition Initiative”.
The authors highlight that without measures to promote a “just” transition, resistance will likely undermine its pace. They draw inferences from other deep structural transitions, such as the steel industries in the United Kingdom (U.K.) and Newcastle, Australia, as well as the gold industry in Free State Province, South Africa, to offer insights into what to expect from a green transition.
The authors suggest a series of considerations for EBRD’s operational response to a just transition in order to create viable short-term and long-term solutions for local populations who are affected. Notably, they point out the need for strategic planning for impacted communities, governance structures, and state capacity to implement just transition actions, along with a holistic approach to regional economic development.
This report describes the environmental and health tolls of coal mining in South Africa and provides recommendations to move forward with a just transition.
Economic diversification/restructuring > Economic development plans
Employment > Worker safety
Environment and/or pollution > Human health, Nature
Government intervention > Regulation
Inequality and/or poverty > Gender inequality, Other
Social and/or cultural impacts > Non-financial loss
air and water pollution
damaged land and ecosystems
Non-profit organization/civil society organization
This compilation of research from various institutions details the environmental and social harm caused by South Africa’s coal industry. The report provides detailed analysis of the social, gender, and environmental impacts of coal mining and identifies the failures of South Africa’s social and environmental policy frameworks.
Coal regions such as Highveld and Mpumalanga, which contain the largest fertile lands in the country and were once an important source of fresh water, have been reduced to “toxic lands.” Several essays in the report criticize the government’s failure to regulate air pollution, calling for tighter regulatory oversight and a new focus on sustainability founded in economic, social, and environmental justice. The report criticizes the lack of enforcement of the Social and Labor Plans (SLPs) that coal companies must submit to win mining licenses. The Centre for Applied Legal Studies outlines the absence of community involvement or transparency in such plans, which often means communities have no access to them. Two organizations, groundWork and Friends of the Earth South Africa, call for a just transition as the only way forward for South Africans. An appendix in the report includes recommended links to reports and studies by other environmental groups.