Learning to change: Evidence-based practices to support a Just Transition

Author: Friends Provident Foundation

Date: 09/08/2023

In this report, we delve into the groundbreaking insights derived from three Foundation-funded projects (Forum For the Future, New Economics Foundation and London School of Economics’ Grantham Research Institute) that have been at the forefront of pioneering a Just Transition to a zero-carbon economy.


These projects have not only illuminated the complexities of this transition but have also revealed pathways towards achieving a future that is both environmentally resilient and socially equitable. By delving into their findings, strategies, and key takeaways, we uncover the multifaceted nature of a Just Transition and its potential to reshape economies, empower communities, and safeguard our planet.


The global pursuit of a sustainable future has never been more urgent. As the effects of climate change become increasingly pronounced, the need to transition from a carbon-intensive economy to a zero-carbon one has become paramount. However, this transition must be just, ensuring that no one is left behind in the process. The concept of a Just Transition has emerged as a guiding framework, highlighting the importance of addressing social, economic, and environmental concerns simultaneously. This report delves into key insights from three Foundation-funded projects that have been dedicated to achieving a Just Transition to a zero-carbon economy.


A Just Transition is more than just an economic shift; it’s a holistic approach that integrates environmental sustainability and social equity. It involves moving away from industries and practices that contribute to climate change and embracing those that promote sustainability while ensuring that the transition is fair for workers, communities, and society at large. This approach recognises that the impacts of climate change and economic transition are felt differently across various groups and regions.


Key Conclusions


The projects highlighted valuable insights into the nuances and challenges of achieving a Just Transition:


  1. Community Engagement: Meaningful community engagement emerged as a cornerstone in the journey towards a Just Transition. The projects highlighted emphasised that communities should be active participants in shaping their own sustainable future. Engaging local stakeholders and understanding their unique needs, concerns, and aspirations is crucial for building trust and collaboration.
  2. Upskilling Workers: As industries evolve and shift towards low-carbon alternatives, workers must not be left behind. Upskilling and reskilling programmemes are essential to ensure that workers are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in the emerging green economy. Investing in training opportunities not only secures livelihoods but also contributes to the overall success of the transition.
  3. Meaningful Social Dialogue: Open and honest dialogue among all stakeholders is fundamental. Governments, businesses, labour unions, and communities need to work together to ensure that decisions made during the transition are inclusive and just. This social dialogue can lead to better policy formulation, address concerns, and create a sense of shared responsibility.


Active Collaboration and Partnership Building


A Just Transition cannot be achieved in isolation. These projects showcased the significance of active collaboration and partnership building. Engaging a wide range of stakeholders, from local communities to industry leaders, is crucial for successful implementation. By pooling resources, knowledge, and expertise, these partnerships can create a multiplier effect, accelerating the transition towards a zero-carbon economy.


Tailoring Approaches to Unique Contexts


Each community, region, and industry has its own set of circumstances and challenges. The projects underlined the importance of tailoring transition strategies to fit these unique contexts. What works in one area might not be suitable for another. Taking into account local conditions, culture, and economic structures is vital to ensure that the Just Transition is effective and sustainable.


Key Lessons for a Just Transition


The lessons which emerged are:


  1. Community Empowerment: Communities must have agency in shaping their transition journey.
  2. Targeted Skills Development: Workers need relevant skills to thrive in the evolving green economy.
  3. Policy Coherence: Government policies should align with the principles of a Just Transition.
  4. Looking Ahead


The road to a Just Transition is complex, but it offers a pathway to a more equitable and sustainable future. Achieving this transition requires collaborative efforts, investment in skills, and supportive policies. As we move forward, continuous learning and adaptation will be essential. By building on these lessons, we can collectively work towards a greener, more equitable world where no one is left behind.


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Stay committed, stay engaged, and let’s shape a world that works for everyone—people and planet alike.


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