How can we ensure a just transition from carbon to resilience by investing in education and skills?

Thank you for joining us for this live written panel discussion to explore how business can ensure people are at the centre of climate action. The live segment of this event is now over, however you can still post your comments. This event is part of an ongoing programme of conversation and collaboration in the lead up to COP27 on business and climate justice.

LIVE Panel

Thursday 21 April, 10am-11am EST/ 3pm-4pm BST

An online discussion on how to ensure a just transition within a business. Are employees involved in planning the company’s transition away from carbon and toward resilience? Are employees protected and enabled to cope with the transition? How is the company investing in skills, tools, and knowledge to promote a just transition and climate justice?



  • Samantha Smith, ITUC, Just Transition Centre

  • Sandra Latner, Senior Director, Sustainability & ESG Investor Engagement, Pearson

  • Justin Perrettson, Head of Sustainability Partnerships, Novozymes

  • Brendan Curran, Policy Fellow Grantham Institute LSE

  • Simon Connell, Global Head Sustainability Strategy, Standard Chartered

  • Daniella Foster Global VP & Head, Public Affairs, Science & Sustainability, Consumer Health, Bayer

  • Simon Derrick, Global Head of Sustainability, Blue Skies

  • Alexandra Knezovich, Managing Director, Market Development & Communications, Toilet Board Coalition

  • Jacqueline Garcia Project Manager, Energy Saving Trust


Alice Allan, Collaboration Director, Business Fights Poverty


  1. What does the just transition look like for your organisation, and are you aware of any emerging examples of good practise approaches in other organisations or sectors?

  2. What are the biggest challenges in achieving a just transition, and how far can education and skills play a role in overcoming them?

  3. What role can technology, including social technology, play to ensure that employees, workers and impacted communities can contribute and innovate towards the just transition?


This is a text-based discussion which remains open, so please do continue to share your insights.

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Hi everyone, I’m Simon Derrick, Head of Sustainability at Blue Skies - a fresh-cut fruit company with operations in Africa, South America and Europe. Really looking forward to engaging in this important discussion tomorrow!

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Great stuff Derek, looking forward to connecting with you and the other panellists tomorrow. Alice

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Good morning! Looking forward to our dialogue later - I’m Simon Connell, Global Head of Sustainability Strategy at Standard Chartered Bank. As an organisation we provide financial services to individuals and businesses in 59 markets with a significant focus on Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

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Good morning everybody. I’m Jacqueline Garcia, Senior Project Manager, Market Stimulation and Incentives at Energy Saving Trust. Energy Saving Trust is an independent organisation – working to address the climate emergency. Looking forward to the discussion later today.

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Hi everyone! I’m Sam Smith, Director of the Just Transition Centre at the International Trade Union Confederation. Looking forward to our chat today.

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Hello. I’m Justin Perrettson, Head of Sustainability Partnerships at Novozymes, the world’s leading biosolutions company. Looking forward to the discussion today!

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Hi! I’m Daniella Foster, Global VP & Head of Public Affairs, Science & Sustainability at Bayer. I look forward to the conversation!

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Hi everyone - I’m Alexandra Knezovich, Managing Director at the Toilet Board Coalition - the leading platform for private sector solutions and engagement in sanitation. Looking forward to getting started!

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Hi all, I am Brendan Curran, a Policy Fellow in Sustainable Finance at the London School of Economics (LSE) at the Grantham Research Institute (GRI). We have been leading on research on into financing the just transition for several years. In particular, with our Financing the Just Transition Alliance (Financing a Just Transition - Grantham Research Institute on climate change and the environment)

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Ok welcome welcome everybody, what a great line up we have today - a testament to our community! Il start with our first question, which is Q1: What does the just transition look like for your organisation, and are you aware of any emerging examples of good practise approaches in other organisations or sectors?

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A just transition is both the outcome – a fairer, greener future for all – and the process that must be undertaken in partnership with those impacted by the transition to net zero.

In the UK, the transition will focus particularly on energy use in the home, particularly heating where we have a much higher use of gas heating than in the rest of Europe, and transport. For the transition to be just, it is vital that all people benefit from the transition, not just those with the capital or capability to be first movers. A just transition must also address the needs of marginalised groups such as women and girls, people with disabilities, and displaced people.


There are UN rules for Just Transition, negotiated in the International Labor Organization between governments, workers and our associations, and employers and their associations. So no need to wonder what it is - that’s already been done! Guidelines for a just transition towards environmentally sustainable economies and societies for all

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A brilliant partner said to a group the Toilet Board Coalition is in: ‘Stop looking externally for experts to solve this - you must grow the experts within yourself and your organisation.’ We work with businesses of all sizes (local service providers to multinational corporations) that are providing sanitation & hygiene solutions around the world. We’re notoriously good at sanitation & hygiene which are foundational to health, safety and community resilience but we find ourselves operating in new spaces and conversations where there’s a lot we don’t know. This partner’s advice to stop looking externally and instead commit to learn and create opportunities and environments for others around us to learn together, hit home. That shift in thinking has helped us prioritise time to read, attend events, and listen - we’re not experts but we know a lot more than we did a year ago.


As a fresh-cut fruit producer that ‘adds value at source’, a just transition for Blue Skies means ensuring a decent future for the 5,000 staff and their communities at our factories in Ghana, Egypt, South Africa, Benin, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Brazil and the UK.
It means taking time to properly understand and improve our impact without having unintended consequences that might compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

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A1: A “just transition” is a nuanced construct – how can we help communities that are just getting by in terms of their basic needs to think about the future? We’re getting to the point where we need to think about integration across United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. First and foremost, we need to focus on United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 1 (no poverty) and marry this with climate action in hopes of seeing any material progress in building resilient communities. And of course, no poverty has impact across so many other goals – like no hunger and access to healthcare.

There are a few priority focus areas:

  • Inclusive growth : Climate action takes time and we’re running out of time. We need to think more broadly about how we can raise the bar on the standard of living for all communities today. Sectors should invest in social impact programs with clear metrics that can improve people’s livelihoods today, in addition to making changes to improve their environmental footprint. Partnerships are needed to get to scale. At Bayer, we have several sustainability commitments which aim to build more resilient communities. This includes expanding access to self-care (which can serve as a health lifeline for people without access to healthcare), improving access to modern family planning (a decisive factor in gender equality) and supporting smallholder farmers with products, services and partnerships (who provide 80% of food supply in LMICs)
  • Behavior change : in order to build resilient communities, it’s important we think about how we can help evolve habits and practices in a culturally relevant way. This is about capability and skills building – developing educational programs to help people take better care of themselves, their families and their communities.
  • Collective action : there’s a role for everyone to play here. The public sector is great at understanding the needs of the communities, while NGOs are often on the ground, and the private sector has the resources and innovation to actually make the solutions a reality at scale.
  • Supply chain : Of course, all companies should have a supplier code of conduct which sets forth the key social, ecological and ethical standards they expect of its suppliers and sub-contractors. At Bayer, our human rights standards place particular value on the prevention of child labor and modern slavery. One of the best practices that’s emerging here, and we abide by at Bayer, is both tracking of activities and progress transparency. We also place emphasis on inclusivity, with a focus on partnering with women and minority-owned businesses.

Here’s a summary of what Just Transition is. It’s always based on social dialogue, which is a negotiation process involving unions, employers, and sometimes government. This is generally a binding process - collective bargaining is one part of it. In addition, Just Transition involves a multistakeholder process with a broader range of participants, but with non-binding outcomes.

Within the London School of Economics (LSE) we run the Financing the Just Transition Alliance (FJTA) which is a grouping of more than 50 banks, investors and other financial institutions joined forces with universities, civil society and trade unions. The FJTA has focused on the relationships between finance and business; place-based financial action; and the policy frameworks that are needed to deliver the systemic change required for a just transition.

Within the LSE, we have researching how to embed the just transition within the climate strategies, products and operations of financial institutions since 2018. More recently, since the creation of the FJTA, we have had two main reports; the Just Zero 2021 – Report of the UK Financing a Just Transition Alliance and From the Grand to the Granular: Translating Just Transition Ambitions into Investor Action.

The Expectations Framework within in the From the Grand the Granular report was applied in practice and presented key insights from several energy utility companies:

  • Enel: The first company to take an active approach to the just transition, which has now become part of its wider strategy for the clean energy transformation.
  • EDF: The just transition emerges from the company’s tradition of social dialogue and has prompted the development of innovative local Ecological Transition Contracts.
  • SSE: Investor engagement helped trigger the design of the first just transition strategy covering both ‘transitioning out’ of high-carbon activities and ‘transitioning into’ net-zero.
  • E.ON: Following a call to action from its investors, a structured approach to a just transition is being developed to build public approval and social acceptance.
  • ZE PAK: Based in one of Poland’s key coal regions, this company is using the EU’s just transition programmes as a catalyst for action to leave no workers behind.

There were several further energy utilities in the UK who published just transition strategies beyond SSE – which included Centrica & Scottish Power.

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This is a really helpful place to start - but I think there’s a need to take this and translate it for the unique context of each individual organisation. In doing so, it’s also helpful to think about what the just transition means in an organisation’s direct operations, but also in its value chain. As a bank, we’re particularly thoughtful about that given our role in directing capital within (and between) economies.


When it comes to transition, we need to be careful not to make quick ‘knee-jerk’ decisions that might satisfy one stakeholder group but unfairly disadvantages another more vulnerable group of people.
Some good examples for us are where retailers are working together with suppliers and academia to conduct social impact studies so that they can properly understand where there are opportunities to improve and collectively implement action plans as part of a process of continuous improvement (rather than making snap policy decisions aimed at quickly cutting carbon in the supply chain without understanding the consequences).