- From agriculture to manufacturing, transportation to finance, every sector has a role to play in advancing a just transition.
- While a just transition is relevant for all sectors, the approach is unique to local operating contexts, business models and activities.
- BSR, The B Team, and We Mean Business have launched the Just Transition Resource Platform, which provides a step-by-step approach for businesses to take Action, drive Ambition, pursue Advocacy, and maintain Accountability in their just transition efforts.
It is clear that we need to accelerate the transition to a net-zero economy to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change. At the same time, we need to ensure a just transition—one that is fair and inclusive in line with ILO’s definition of a just transition as “greening the economy in a way that is as fair and inclusive as possible to everyone concerned, creating decent work opportunities, and leaving no one behind.” Because a net-zero future requires a transformation of economies and societies, a just transition is relevant and essential for all sectors—not solely energy. Therefore, all businesses need to examine and address how climate change and climate solutions affect people across value chains.
BSR, The B Team, and We Mean Business launched the Just Transition Resource Platform, which provides a step-by-step approach for companies across all sectors to advance a just transition. Businesses can take Action, drive Ambition, pursue Advocacy, and maintain Accountability in their just transition efforts. The Platform aims to guide companies across these four pillars and compiles resources, frameworks, and recommendations from leading organizations.
Just Transition across Sectors
While the predominant focus has centered on the energy sector, a just transition transcends any single sector's boundaries. From agriculture to manufacturing, transportation to finance, every sector has a role to play in enabling a just transition. Several examples include:
As food, beverage, and agriculture companies decarbonize, farmers and producers along the value chain will need access to technology, training, and financing to integrate sustainable and regenerative farming practices and irrigation systems, and efforts need to be made to avoid leaving smallholder farmers and suppliers behind.
Footwear, apparel, and textile companies can promote a just transition by centering the voices of affected stakeholders, including groups like migrants and informal waste pickers, while also focusing on reskilling, redeployment, and decarbonization efforts through financial aid and training, including in research and development for circularity for fiber and textile producers and processors.
For mining, the increased demand for renewable energy transition minerals and the closure of coal mines and thermal power plants necessitates considerations such as reskilling and upskilling workers, redeployment of workers and the creation of new green jobs, rejuvenating mining-dependent communities following closures, and continuing to conduct human rights due diligence.
In construction, upskilling and reskilling of workers is essential for a just transition to evaluate and procure cleaner materials, develop sustainable building practices, and adopt circularity. Companies also need to ensure worker health and safety, for example, in relation to more heat-intensive outdoor working conditions.
For shipping, seafarers, port workers, and engineers will need adequate skills and training to accommodate and operate new technology systems as well as manage alternative fuels. Moreover, enabling a just transition will include supporting the redeployment of workers as shipyards become automated.
The financial sector plays an important role in enabling a just transition by providing capital investment, risk-sharing mechanisms, and insurance to address challenges such as the global inequitable distribution of climate and transition financing, and by deploying just transition measurement frameworks to assess companies' performance and guide investment flows.
How do companies advance and enable a just transition?
While a just transition is relevant for all sectors, the challenges and opportunities are unique to local operating contexts, and business models. However, many of the building blocks are the same. These include; understanding and addressing social implications; stakeholder engagement and social dialogue as a vehicle for decision-making; planning for the future workforce; ensuring human rights are respected; and the importance of leading by example and advocating for policies that enable a just transition.
For business, ensuring a just transition is essential to maintain viability and continuity in the transition to net zero. It is an opportunity to strategically prepare for and effectively handle the societal, operational, and reputational consequences that arise from business transformation as well as meeting the growing expectations of workers, communities, and investors.
Navigating a just transition
The Just Transition Resource Platform is designed to help companies understand what actions they need to take to address and enable a just transition within their company and sector, and to provide additional resources and guidance published by a range of leading organizations. Nonetheless, because advancing a just transition is new territory for many companies, we are eager to hear your perspective, efforts, and challenges:
What tools, guidance, or resources do you need?
What challenges are your company facing in advancing a just transition?
Can you share any learnings on what has worked well or where your company has faced challenges?
How else can the Just Transition Resource Platform best serve your company’s needs?
Would you like to collaborate within or across sectors to understand, develop solutions, or measure impacts related to ensuring a just transition for all?
Please contact us with your thoughts through this form, and we will do our best to help address these gaps and questions!
Advancing a net-zero transition that is fair, inclusive, and just for all can only be accomplished if we all contribute. This starts with all sectors considering how climate change and climate solutions affect people across their value chains.