Action Guide

Plan for a Just Transition 

Environmental Defense Fund

Just Transition is a framework and set of principles aimed at ensuring fairness and equity for all, especially historically marginalized communities impacted by economic and environmental injustices, in the shift towards a more sustainable and low-carbon economy. This includes supporting workers in impacted industries, recognizing countries’ varying responsibilities, and assisting companies and communities facing challenges during the transition. By addressing these issues and implementing strategies that do not leave anyone behind, we can achieve a more sustainable future for all.

As the global shift towards a clean energy economy progresses, it is essential to guarantee a fair and inclusive transition. This involves reflecting on your company’s individual role in this transformation, which may include addressing the concerns of workers whose jobs could be impacted, acknowledging the disparate contributions to climate change by different countries, and offering support to companies and communities that may face challenges during this process. Through this pathway, explore some of the crucial elements of a just transition and how to devise strategies that ensure all stakeholders are included and valued.  

Ensure Job Security and Retrain Opportunities 

One of the most crucial components of achieving a just transition is to ensure that workers in industries that may face adverse impacts during the transition, such as those employed in fossil fuel-based sectors, are not left behind. This requires implementing retraining programs to equip workers with the necessary skills for alternative employment opportunities, providing financial assistance to aid with the transition, and creating job placement services in rapidly expanding clean energy sectors. By doing so, we can ensure that these workers are not only able to maintain their livelihoods but also contribute to the development of a cleaner and more sustainable future. 

A sample of steps that can be taken include:  

  • Engaging with workers and labor unions to understand their concerns and needs during the transition and incorporating their feedback into your company’s climate transition action plans.
  • Partnering with local educational institutions to provide training programs and certifications that equip workers with the necessary skills for alternative employment opportunities in low-carbon sectors. 
  • Working with industry associations and government bodies to advocate for policies that support workers in the transition to a low-carbon economy, such as tax incentives for clean energy job creation and funding for retraining programs. 

The Role of Wealthy Nations and Equitable Burden Sharing 

As major contributors to climate change, companies in wealthy nations have a greater responsibility to address its consequences than those in developing nations. Therefore, it is crucial for these companies to take a leadership role in both reducing emissions across their value chain and investing in clean energy infrastructure. In addition, they should provide financial support and technology transfer to companies in developing nations to assist in their transition to a sustainable future. By assuming this responsibility, companies in wealthier nations can help mitigate the damage caused by climate change and ensure that all companies have an equal opportunity to participate in the global shift towards a cleaner and more equitable future.  

A sample of steps that can be taken include: 

  • Setting science-based emissions reduction targets that align with the widely accepted goals of investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions to achieve these targets. 
  • Advocating for stronger climate policies and regulations at the local, national, and international level, and engaging with governments and industry associations to drive systemic change. 
  • Investing in research and developing new technologies that can help mitigate climate change, and sharing these innovations with the wider industry. 

Address Supply Chain Challenges 

It is essential for companies with global supply chains to acknowledge the challenges faced by their suppliers in developing countries, who may not have the resources or infrastructure to reduce emissions. Multinational companies have a significant role to play in addressing this issue. One way to achieve this is by investing in their supply chains and providing financial support to suppliers in their efforts to become more sustainable. This could involve exploring funding mechanisms or offering incentives to suppliers who demonstrate a commitment to reducing their carbon footprint. By taking these steps, companies can not only support their suppliers but also contribute to a more sustainable global economy. 

A sample of steps that can be taken include: 

  • Support suppliers in conducting regular audits to assess their sustainability performance and providing feedback and support to help them improve. 
  • Collaborating with suppliers to identify and implement sustainable practices, such as using renewable energy sources, reducing waste, and promoting circular economy principles. 
  • Including sustainability metrics in supplier performance evaluations and using this information to make procurement decisions that prioritize suppliers with strong sustainability practices 

Prioritize Accessibility and Inclusivity in the Clean Energy Future 

A fundamental component of a just transition involves ensuring that traditionally underserved communities have equal access to the benefits of clean energy. To accomplish this, it is essential to invest in clean energy infrastructure and make clean energy options affordable and accessible to all. This can be achieved by implementing initiatives such as financing programs for low-income households, community solar projects, and energy efficiency upgrades for buildings in underserved communities. Additionally, educational programs can raise awareness and encourage participation in the clean energy economy, such as training and apprenticeship programs to provide job opportunities in clean energy sectors. By prioritizing these efforts, we can help create a more equitable and sustainable future that benefits all members of society, while also promoting economic growth and social justice. 

A sample of steps that can be taken include: 

  • Engaging with community leaders and stakeholders to understand their needs and priorities and incorporating their feedback into the company’s clean energy initiatives. 
  • Collaborating with local organizations and institutions to develop targeted programs that provide clean energy options and educational opportunities to underserved communities. 
  • Offering financial assistance and incentives to help make clean energy options more affordable and accessible to low-income households. 
  • Investing in local infrastructure to support the deployment of clean energy technologies, such as solar panels and energy storage systems, in underserved communities. 
  • Creating partnerships with local businesses and entrepreneurs to support the development of clean energy-related jobs and economic opportunities in underserved communities.