Today, at the Global Climate Action Summit, leading companies took a bold step toward ensuring a just transition, declaring that jobs in the new climate economy need to be decent.
Supported by The B Team, International Trade Union Confederation and BSR, both renewable energy buyers and developers demonstrated their commitment to building a just transition by announcing they’re taking Pledge for a Just Transition to Decent Jobs. Renewable energy buyers, Autodesk, Safaricom and Unilever, pledged to only buy from renewable energy providers that uphold fundamental workers’ rights including social protections and wage guarantees. Renewable energy developers, Enel and Ørsted, pledged to facilitate social dialogue with workers and their unions and to meet these core labour standards themselves.
These companies, supported by growing renewable developers, join a movement of businesses, workers, cities, and governments that believe a just transition for working people and communities requires urgent attention. Without it, the transition has the potential to make society more unequal and more unstable, slowing the overall transition to a low carbon economy. And with millions of new, green jobs created in this shift, a focus on growing industries like renewable energy is more pressing than ever.
“We will not stand by and see stranded workers or stranded communities. We can do better than that,” Sharan Burrow, Vice-Chair of The B Team and General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation said on the urgency of a just transition, “It’s very simple. There are no jobs on a dead planet. We have to work together with business, with government and workers. We can build a future that’s about the dignity of work, secure employment and shared prosperity.”
Ensuring we make a just transition is critical for business. A business’ ability to deliver is dependent on its people. At this week’s Summit, The B Team brought together CEOs and Heads of Trade Unions to spark the dialogue needed to build thriving companies and communities. Transitioning a business to net-zero will require more of these courageous conversations to catalyse action to benefit those whose lives and livelihoods are threatened by decarbonisation.
The skills that are needed in this transformation, and how and even where businesses will operate, will change. If managed poorly this can disrupt production, make it hard to attract and retain talent, threaten license to operate in communities and increase costs. However, businesses that respect decent labour standards can secure a just transition, strengthen their business’ ability to thrive in the net-zero economy and contribute to a fairer, greener and more human economy.
Are you interested in how to implement a just transition in your business? Check out The B Team and Just Transition Centre’s Just Transition: A Business Guide.
Photo by Dennis Schroeder/NREL