The UN Global Compact today released new guidance on a Just Transition and Renewable Energy, (“the brief”) with recommendations for businesses and governments on how to accelerate from an energy system driven by fossil fuels to one based on renewable energy. The brief calls on businesses to embrace the urgency of a just energy transition, set ambitious targets, develop just transition plans and publicly report on progress. A just transition means 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.
Businesses are asked to become vocal advocates for the just transition and call upon governments and social partners to develop holistic policies and undertake just transition planning to create an enabling environment for companies to advance ambitious and effective just transition initiatives.
The growing impacts of climate change make this transition increasingly urgent. Companies are critical actors in driving both the supply and demand for renewable energy and are key to developing innovative approaches that ensure the most efficient use of energy resources and improving energy access. The brief focuses on the role of renewable energy companies in facilitating a just transition, as well as “offtakers” — large energy-consuming companies — seeking energy that is sustainably produced.
Commenting on the release of the guidance, Sanda Ojiambo, Executive Director and CEO of the United Nations Global Compact said:
"We require a systemic change to achieve rapid and deep emissions reductions. The UN Secretary-General has called on business leaders to transform business models and dramatically scale-up investments in renewable energy. This brief outlines actions to accelerate the pace of a just renewable energy transition that can drive sustainable economic and energy sector diversification."
Business action for a just transition begins from a foundation of responsible business conduct and respect for rights, supported by the Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact and other key instruments. The International Labour Organization Guidelines for a just transition towards environmentally sustainable economies and societies for all put social dialogue at the heart of the just transition process.
Governments and regulatory authorities have a central role in creating the policies needed for the transition and ensuring that just transition measures, for example, are integrated in public procurement practices and renewable energy project development. There is no one-size-fits-all just transition policy framework that works for every country — some Governments have developed comprehensive strategies, while others have adopted policies to address specific aspects of the transition. Countries are adopting national just transition commissions, task forces, dialogues and/or related policies and law.
This brief provides an advocacy agenda for business to influence government policies responsibly; showcases company best practice examples and success factors; and outlines 10 recommendations for businesses to advance the just transition within and beyond their companies, in support of the goals of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda.
Notes to Editors
Think Lab on Just Transition
The Think Lab on Just Transition aims to shape and define business and thought leadership on critical areas linked to just transition; address key business challenges; identify policy advocacy opportunities and good business practices; and scale-up learnings through the network of the UN Global Compact. If you’ve missed the previous publications in this series on just transition, we invite you to download the Introduction to Just Transition, Just Transition for Climate Adaptation and Financing a Just Transition business briefs today. For more information, visit the Think Lab on Just Transition website.
About the UN Global Compact
As a special initiative of the United Nations Secretary-General, the UN Global Compact is a call to companies worldwide to align their operations and strategies with Ten Principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. Our ambition is to accelerate and scale the global collective impact of business by upholding the Ten Principles and delivering the Sustainable Development Goals through accountable companies and ecosystems that enable change. With more than 18,000 companies and 3,800 non-business signatories based in over 160 countries, and 62 Local Networks, the UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative — one Global Compact uniting business for a better world. For more information, visit our website at unglobalcompact.org.