How we can all contribute to a Just Transition

Often, when talking about the climate emergency, the term Just Transition is used, but what does it mean, and how do Social Enterprises play a role in achieving it, even if their main charitable aim is not climate change?

Just Transition refers to creating a ‘Greener Economy’ in a way that is fair and inclusive to all. Ensuring that as we move to a sustainable and net-zero future, it happens in a way that all people, communities, and countries benefit, not just a small proportion. This ethos lies at the heart of Scottish social enterprise, where those involved are constantly looking at how to create social change for their beneficiaries so that they can live in a fairer and more inclusive Scotland. In this month's Comment, we look at Just Transition and how your social enterprise can help Scotland reach net zero by 2045 in a way that benefits all aspects of society.

Just Transition to Net Zero is a cross-cutting theme in the imminent Social Enterprise Action Plan following the efforts of a sector working group.

Increased local level involvement: The UK Committee on Climate Change has noted that to meet the ambitious target of achieving net zero by 2045, most emission reductions rely on decisions made at a local and individual level. Here are some easy ways that you can create change within your local community:

  1. Check how you are doing with the Growing Climate Confidence Scorecard of which Community Enterprise are partners.
  2. Educate your stakeholders on the climate crisis and the small changes they can make that will have a big impact. Here is a handy guide about how to talk about climate change from Creative Carbon Scotland.
  3. Encourage local community groups to join the Scottish Communities Climate Action Network for free resources and training.
  4. Highlight how your organisation or stakeholders reduce, recycle, repair, or reuse items. Check out the Share and Repair Network Scotland.
  5. Find out how you can support your Community Council and other community groups to advocate for change at a local level.

A greener workforce: Currently, many people's jobs are tied to polluting industries, such as oil, gas, aviation and car company employees, to name a few. Creating net zero jobs that these people can transition to that also guarantee a living wage and workplace health and safety protections will lift communities up by creating a better quality of life for the residents, which will, in turn, allow them to make choices that support the reduction of emissions at a local level.

  1. Ask your utility company if your energy comes from oil, coal, or gas. If possible, see if you can switch to renewable sources such as wind or solar. This can reduce your carbon footprint by up to 1.5 tons of CO2 annually. When we support renewable energy, we increase the number of jobs available in this sector.
  2. Encourage your team to walk, cycle or take public transport where appropriate. Check out the Sustrans: workplaces site.
  3. Have your team share when they find an ethical company or social enterprise that provides services or products they like. This will increase awareness of them and hopefully allow them to grow their workforce long-term due to increased customers.
  4. Choose a bank and insurance provider that doesn’t support fossil fuels. Carbon Divestment is an area where we can all have a big impact on fossil fuels and support organisations supporting a Just Transition.
  5. Check out Social Enterprise Scotland's guide to Greener Procurement: The Green Procurement Guide:

Education and active participation: Peer-to-peer education can eliminate opposition to a Just Transition to net zero. The more people who participate in initiatives that support a move to net zero, the bigger the ripple effect of information dissemination.

  1. Share these great resources with your team and community to help them educate and encourage active participation:

Change at a Governmental level: If change is to occur, short—and long-term goals are needed at all levels. Embedding a Just Transition in all government policies will allow for rapid change in a way that is fair and inclusive.

As Scotland strives to create a Well-Being Economy by implementing its Community Wealth-Building Policy, you can see a clear link between the fundamentals of a Just Transition and the Pillars of Community Wealth-Building. This gives us hope that the Scottish Government understands the importance of achieving net zero and doing so fairly and inclusively.

Want to learn more about a Just Transition? Check out our client spotlight article about Moray Climate Action Network and how it supports one in Moray.