In the move towards this future there will be disruption. Australia is already seeing it with ageing coal-fired power stations closing in the next two to three decades. This will see up to 8,500 jobs lost and result in major structural adjustment challenges for both the workers who have lost their jobs, and the communities that have come to depend on the coal energy industry.
Those communities bearing the impact of low-carbon policies need a fair and socially equitable transition — a ‘just transition’. The concept of a just transition holds immense potential for affected communities, trade unions, businesses and governments to develop and implement carefully planned policies to support those directly impacted by low-carbon policies.
However, if trade unions, businesses and Governments do not engage in strong multilateral cooperation, or if businesses and governments adopt short-term, fragmented and reactive solutions to respond to this challenge, we will lose the trust and support of the communities where businesses and governments operate. Thus, we need to adequately plan for, coordinate and invest in a transition that will support businesses and communities and ensure that we do not see the emergence of enclaves of stranded workers, stranded communities or stranded assets.
Our discussion paper on planning for a Just Transition can be accessed here.
The UN Global Compact Network Australia is currently working with National Australia Bank (NAB) and University of Technology Sydney (UTS) on a substantial research project addressing the role of business and the financial sector as Australia transitions to a net zero carbon economy. The results of this research will lead to a series of consultations and events. If you wish to take part or stay abreast of the work that is being carried out please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.