Photo by Dominic Sansoni/World Bank

Posted in: news

2nd August 2018

It’s Time For a Just Transition to Decent Jobs In Renewable Energy

This September, innovators from business, civil society and government, representing cities, regions and more, will gather in San Francisco for the Global Climate Action Summit. The Summit aims to accelerate action toward the transition to a low-carbon economy. But this also calls into question how we transition, specifically whether the transition is just.

A just transition has two components: managing the impact of the transition away from high carbon industries and sectors on workers and communities and ensuring climate action improves existing jobs and creates new, decent jobs in low or zero carbon sectors. Ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit, business is taking action to ensure these conditions are met, especially in new green industries such as renewable energy. Both energy producers and developers, and renewable energy buyers are taking the Pledge for a Just Transition to Decent Jobs to ensure that the energy transition creates good jobs that meet decent labour standards.

In a B Team-hosted Twitter chat, Unilever announces its commitment to the Pledge for a Just Transition to Decent Jobs.
Enel—another company committed to the Pledge for a Just Transition to Decent Jobs—reinforces its dedication to green and decent jobs.

By taking the Pledge for a Just Transition to Decent Jobs, renewable energy producers and developers are pledging to comply with the following standards with respect to their own employees, and only use contractors who also comply with these standards:

Renewable energy producers and developers are also committing to increase global and US GW targets and calling on other companies to join them.

While renewable energy buyers are pledging to procure renewable electricity from companies that commit to the following standards for their own employees and for any contractors they use:

In addition, renewable energy buyers are committing to integrating just transition and the commitments above into all procurement standards for renewable energy purchases. They are also committing to increase or accelerate ambition on renewable energy purchases globally and in the US specifically and calling on other companies to join them.

Samantha Smith, Director of the Just Transition Centre, outlines key social protections for workers as part of a just transition.

The business case for the supply of decent jobs is clear. A business' ability to deliver depends on its people. Companies that respect decent labour standards can expect a more productive, highly skilled workforce ready to grasp the opportunities of the decarbonizing economy and drive the transition to 100 percent renewables.

Paul Polman, B Team Chair and CEO of Unilever, emphasises just transition as a business opportunity.

The issue of a just transition for working people and communities requires urgent attention. Without it, the transition has the potential to heighten global inequality and instability, slowing the overall shift to a low carbon economy.

Missed our just transition Twitter chat? Follow the full conversation here.