Just Transition

The Church Commissioners for England has been engaging high carbon-emitting companies on the need for a Just Transition. This engagement has focussed on ensuring that companies make sure workers and communities are not left behind and are appropriately supported in the low carbon transition. Our discussions have been promising in terms of the level of consideration and foresight these companies are giving to the Just Transition, largely managed through existing processes. We have been able to identify the following emerging patterns of best practice:

Forward planning and workforce transition:
Companies applying best practice in this area gave multiple options to employees including: 

  • Reskilling to work within the same company (often at the same site) with the new technology, through job shadowing, training opportunities and tuition programs  (e.g. Biomass, gas and renewable jobs instead of coal fire);
  • Retraining for a role outside the company in a new industry (e.g. from coal fire power to fishing) or the provision of education to enable later transition to other roles, including sponsorship of tertiary level education;
  • Providing the option to commute to another similar facility, and providing retraining or upskilling where necessary to enable this to happen (e.g from a retiring coal plant to one with a longer life span); and also
  • Low unemployment rates mean that some workers have been transferring into service industries through natural attrition. 
  • Where the only option was early retirement or redundancy, in the case of best practice, we found the companies had given the staff several years notice of this due to the time span in retiring or converting the facility.  and the companies topping up pensions schemes.  

Engagement with wide ranging stakeholders:

  • Engaging and consulting with wide ranging stakeholders, including customers, renewable energy advocacy groups, trade unions, and environmental groups;
  • Engaging with wider industry coalitions such as the B-Team, the Just Transition Fund and academic institutions. 
  • Engaging with national and regional government about the economic impact of mine and coal facility closures to ensure that regional economic planning factored in job creation in other industries;
  • Engaging with the regional tourism board, to create opportunities in the tourism industry (e.g. one closing facility was turned into a tourist attraction); and
  • Working to understand what the community wants, and engaging with local communities through events such as street fairs and energy parks.

We encouraged those companies we spoke with to be more forthcoming about progress made, both to support their peers and also the broader move towards a Just Transition.