Energy for a Just Transition Overview
The Business Role in Advancing the Just Transition
Companies have a critical role to play in advancing the just transition. As the world continues to advance the Paris Agreement goals to achieve a net-zero GHG economy by 2050, managing the impacts and risks to people, as well as the opportunities, generated by the transition to a low-carbon economy will be crucial. A truly just transition will ensure an economy which provides workers with decent and green jobs, while protecting communities. However, companies cannot address the just transition in isolation. Business along with other stakeholders are poised to seize this opportunity together, and to work collaboratively towards implementing a just, fair, and inclusive transition within the energy sector. The transition should be led by social dialogue and stakeholder engagement, uphold human rights, and benefit workers and communities.
About the Energy for a Just Transition
BSR and The B Team, together with committed energy, utilities, and related companies, are developing a business-led collaboration that brings together businesses and other stakeholders to collectively develop practical guidance on how companies can plan for, operationalize, and integrate just transition principles into their sustainability strategies and practices. The initiative is composed of energy, utilities, and related companies deeply committed to achieving net zero emissions goals in a manner that mitigates the potential adverse impacts on workers and communities.
Participation in the initiative is targeted at individuals within energy and utilities or related companies who are working to put the just transition into practice, i.e., sustainability, community and stakeholder relations, human resources, asset management, business development, strategy, and supply chain professionals. These individuals often work at the intersection of sustainability, human rights, and climate issues.
BSR began incubating plans for this three-year collaboration in mid-2021; it is expected to officially launch in Q1 2022.
The collaboration will focus on the following areas of work in 2022 and will based on principles of social dialogue, human rights, and stakeholder engagement:
Workstream 1: Just Transition Planning
This workstream seeks to catalyze action on the different aspects of just transition planning within companies’ own operations including framing and positioning, establishing governance, strategies and action plans, integration with current business processes, and reporting. Through a phased and intensive approach, the collaboration will support companies to identify opportunities for impact, facilitate collective problem-solving, and will develop detailed practical guidance, creating the foundation for a comprehensive just transition approach and plan that represents best practice, both at the corporate (global) and site (local) levels.
Workstream 2: Key Topics in Just Transition
This workstream consists of intensive issue-specific modular sessions to support companies in their just transition journey. The collaboration will provide an opportunity for companies to share learnings and insights and learn from experts and stakeholders about the various topics critical to a just transition, including, but not limited to, green and decent job creation; “just” energy projects’ development; transitioning communities and access to energy; just transition in the energy supply chain; human rights; and stakeholder identification, mapping and engagement. The introduction of these topics will complement and reinforce participants’ just transition planning and facilitate action within companies’ own operations, community and society, and the value chain.
Acknowledging that companies need to develop comprehensive strategies and programs to bring everyone along as part of the just transition, the three-year collaboration will take a holistic approach to achieve positive outcomes and impacts across the energy value chain, by focusing on:
- Operations—by helping companies to produce and implement concrete, time-bound, enterprise plans that promote a just, fair, and inclusive workforce transition, and guidance for engaging in social dialogue with their workers, workers’ representatives, and labor unions.
- Community and society—by taking an approach that engages crucial stakeholders, such as local communities, government policy makers, industry peers, and civil society organizations, and works towards mutually beneficial outcomes and a society that thrives as it navigates the energy transition.
- Value chain—by proving guidance on how companies can foster collaboration with suppliers and their workforce to enable a just transition throughout the value chain and to ensure human rights are respected.
The collaboration will function according to the following principles:
- Joint approach with BSR and The B Team facilitating the collaboration.
- Two complementary workstreams that address multiple aspects of just transition planning and explore key just transition topics through knowledge sharing with external experts and partners such as the World Benchmarking Alliance, Council for Inclusive Capitalism, and others
- Active participation model encouraging real-world application of developed approaches and supporting continuous company participation to guide design and action.
- Industry-focused membership prioritizing energy, utilities, and related companies strongly committed to achieving net-zero emissions goals to ensure relevance of outcomes and applicability of guidance.
Benefits of Participation
Companies participating in this initiative will have the opportunity to:
- Shape and advance the energy sector’s approach to the just transition based on a comprehensive understanding of emerging stakeholder expectations of business efforts.
- Engage with peer companies and partners to achieve just transition goals through collective action and unified advocacy to support workers and communities as well as promote policy and program development.
- Catalyze internal efforts and understand how to operationalize the just transition within your company's own operations, the community, and value chain based on expert guidance and informed by affected stakeholders.
- Enhance and demonstrate performance on corporate just transition efforts and disclosure across corporate just transition accountability frameworks and benchmarks (e.g., World Benchmarking Alliance’s Just Transition Assessment).
- Benefit from knowledge sharing, engagement with experts and stakeholders to build expertise on specific just transition planning topics.