Grants / Projects we are funding

Forum for the Future – Local fair transition challenge

Grant details


Awarded on:15/10/2020

Duration:24 months


Area of interest

Systems change

A just transition for every community is necessary for a rapid and resilient shift to a net-zero world. Yet, without widespread understanding of what this means or evidence that it can work in practice, there is a risk that this critical transition will not be embraced or achieved in the increasingly short time left to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. How can we address this gap?

What is the issue?

Carbon-intensive industries need to rapidly and radically transform if we are to transition to a net-zero carbon economy by 2050. However, current approaches to industrial change lack wider social justice goals. Power station closures are often announced as late as possible, and retraining or redeployment is restricted to direct employees, placing jobs at risk in supply chains.

Communities hosting these industries risk chronic decline following closures or repurposing, leading to negative narratives around job losses, or the comparison of net-zero impacts with the devastation of coal mining towns. This risks weakening public and trade union support, in turn reducing political will to drive change.

National or regional taskforces also engage with business groups and unions rather than with communities. This can create a disempowering belief that communities cannot lead their own transitions, and that people have no control of their future.

What will the project try to achieve?

This work aims to contribute to a future where civil society in every constituency can build and enact net-zero plans, by demonstrating that community-led just transitions are possible, positive and beneficial for all.

The project will combine empowering grassroots community action with the enabling support of large businesses and organisations. Pilot communities will be supported in creating transition plans and developing their capability and skills, then connected with organisations who have the scale and resources to help them deliver their plans and supported in deploying their transition projects.

A cross-sector learning and scaling network will use pilot outcomes to help create the enabling conditions for wider change across the UK, and support the emergence of a positive narrative around the just transition.

Who might be interested in this project?

Carbon intensive businesses (e.g. power, automotive, concrete); other businesses located within local communities; community organisations, transition towns and NGOs taking climate action; system change organisations; investors in change; policymakers, national, regional and local politicians and officials, LEPs, trade unions; mainstream, sustainability and trade media.