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What is "Just Transition"?

Insights from historical cases of transition: Background paper for the EBRD just transition initiative

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.


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.