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UN launches guidance on just transition for businesses

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The UN Global Compact has released guidance on a Just Transition for Climate Adaptation developed specifically for companies.

  • The report outlines seven recommendations designed for businesses.
  • Climate change can have knock-on effects along supply chains, affecting businesses, workers, livelihoods and communities. 
  • It is key that companies take action that does not redistribute risk or leave anyone behind.

The Just Transition for Climate Adaptation report was developed by the Stockholm Environment Institute with inputs from partners and company participants in the Think Lab on Just Transition. It is intended to support businesses in minimising climate change risks and impacts on their operations and supply chains in a just and equitable manner. 

According to the International Labour Organization, a just transition means making the economy more sustainable in a way that is as fair and inclusive as possible to everyone concerned, creating decent work opportunities and leaving no one behind. Climate impacts and risks can have knock-on effects along supply chains, affecting businesses, workers, livelihoods and communities. 

As such, companies need to take action that avoids redistributing risk or leaving workers, their communities and downstream suppliers behind. The guidance introduces the concept of Just Transition and how it links to climate adaptation, making seven recommendations for businesses to achieve a fair and inclusive journey to a net zero and resilient future. These are: 

  • Integrating social and environmental objectives into the business strategy through a social dialogue;
  • Building coalitions, including with competitors;
  • Improving data collection and sharing;
  • Strengthening supply chain resilience;
  • Financing a just transition and climate adaptation;
  • Partnering with local and regional governments to devise adaptation strategies that advance a just transition;
  • Advocating for a clear division of responsibilities for a just transition, also to support climate adaptation.

Sanda Ojiambo, assistant secretary-general and chief executive of the UN Global Compact, said: “Businesses around the world are already experiencing the impacts of climate change from disrupted production, broken supply chains to increased costs. Implementing climate adaptation strategies can create new jobs, new innovations and new opportunities for business but only if it is done in a way that is inclusive and enables everyone to thrive.”

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