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.
Inequality and/or poverty > Gender inequality, Other
International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
The author summarizes findings of case studies from Argentina, Costa Rica, the Philippines, and Kenya on the contribution of social dialogue to formalizing the informal economy and meeting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. She discusses how social dialogue serves as a mechanism for implementing the 2030 Agenda and provides recommendations for improving social dialogue to better contribute to formalizing the informal sector.
The author offers a brief explanation of social dialogue before discussing the scale of the informal sector in the global economy. She then highlights the challenges that informal workers face, demonstrating the need for formalization and explaining why social dialogue is essential to the formalization process. Citing examples from around the world, the author also demonstrates how social dialogue can facilitate progress on social protections, inclusion, and more.
The author highlights the continued challenges to formalization, including lack of commitment to social dialogue by various actors, insufficient time and resources, and lack of coordination between dialogue processes. She concludes with recommendations to address these challenges and strengthen social dialogue outcomes.
Report/Definitions and Concepts; Guidelines, Strategies and Recommendations
In this report, the authors explain how just transitions can help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and address climate change. They argue that social dialogue is an essential element of just transitions, as it can facilitate planning processes based on genuine partnership. Drawing on case studies from around the world, the authors highlight just transition processes forged through social dialogue at the national and corporate levels.
The authors examine the role of multinational companies in a just transition, describing the dilution of regulatory power and social and labor rights tied to the rise of large multinational companies. In this context, they explain the importance of social dialogue to protect workers’ interests across supply chains. They highlight various examples of social dialogue within energy and textile companies, including through Global Framework Agreements, and advocate for coordination among trade unions to promote supranational mechanisms for social dialogue. They highlight the need for trade unions to strengthen their capacity on climate-change issues and to integrate an environmental dimension into their strategies to engage in just transitions effectively.
The authors conclude with wide-ranging recommendations for the successful implementation of just transitions. These recommendations are directed at a variety of actors in this space, including donor governments engaged in development.
This report discusses the potential for green job creation and sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific region in the context of just transitions. It outlines how the region could accelerate this transformation by creating clean energy jobs that contribute to climate change mitigation—provided certain policy measures are put in place.
The report explores some of the opportunities and challenges of green job creation in the Asia-Pacific, in particular in the climate-vulnerable Pacific islands and in the textile and garment industry, a polluting sector that is nonetheless an important source of women’s employment and foreign investment. It then explores lessons learned from just transition pilot programs in the Philippines and Uruguay.
The report groups its recommendations for how to address the challenges of a just transition in Asia-Pacific into five categories: policy and institutions, training and capacity building, social dialogues and collaboration, awareness raising, and financing.
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.