The Right Climate For Business: leading a just transition

The Right Climate For Business: leading a just transition, shares insights from this research and recommendations to deliver a fair and inclusive transition to a net-zero, resilient future where people and nature thrive.

Collaboration between governments, businesses and civil society is critical if we are to act in time to avert the climate crisis. To inform the role that business must take as part of the climate solution, Business in the Community (BITC) and YouGov conducted research with members of the public and businesses. The Right Climate For Business: leading a just transition, shares insights from this research and recommendations to deliver a fair and inclusive transition to a net-zero, resilient future where people and nature thrive.

About The Right Climate For Business: leading a just transition

In September 2021, BITC, in partnership with its members, commissioned YouGov to carry out two nationally representative surveys with 8,026 UK adults and 2,007 businesses to help us understand:

  • public attitudes and awareness to the climate crisis and business action to address it
  • actions the public has taken and the barriers they face
  • perceptions of fairness, change, and preparedness
  • where businesses are on their climate action journeys
  • priorities the public have for a fair and inclusive transition to a resilient, net-zero UK.
Watch the just transition video on YouTube

Key findings for business

  1. 85% of the public placed ‘extreme weather’ among their top climate worries and 79% listed ‘damage to nature’ and ‘biodiversity loss.’
  2. 72% of people say it is important that the businesses they buy from take climate action.
  3. Only 12% of the public think their job will be adversely affected by action to tackle climate change and a further 26% did not know. Only 11% think their job will require them to develop at least a fair amount of new skills.
  4. Only 24% of customers are aware of what businesses are doing on climate action, and of them, 62% don’t trust businesses to do what they promise.
  5. Just 25% of people and 40% of businesses think the social benefits of the transition will be shared equally.

People do not think that the benefits or negative impacts of climate change, or action to address it, will be shared equally across society. While businesses are more positive than the public, there is much work to be done to demonstrate that a fair and inclusive transition is possible. Read more about the research findings in The Right Climate For Business: leading a just transition.

What is a just transition?

Originating in the international labour movement, the term ‘just transition’ is increasingly being used by environmental and social justice movements and across governments. Just transition principles have been adopted in the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the landmark Paris Agreement.1

At COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference hosted in Glasgow in November 2021, the UK Government, alongside 15 others, made a commitment to recognise its role in ensuring “no one is left behind in the transition to a net-zero and climate-resilient future.”2 However, there is no single, accepted definition of a just transition. At BITC, we have developed this working definition for responsible businesses:

A just transition ensures a fair and inclusive journey to a net-zero, resilient future where people and nature thrive. Businesses must design this future with diverse stakeholders; create economic opportunities and equip people to access them and actively regenerate communities and nature.

Business in the Community and climate action

Every single business in the UK must take action to avert the climate crisis. BITC’s network of hundreds of businesses is working with us right now to make the climate crisis history. What we do is important, but how we do it is equally critical. We must make sure the transition to a resilient, net-zero UK is fair and just, truly enabling people and nature to thrive.

By joining the hundreds of other businesses in the Prince’s Responsible Business Network, you can accelerate progress, maximise business opportunities and enable the communities you serve to thrive.

Find out how BITC is helping organisations take climate action.

References
  1. Robins, N. (2018) The just transition comes of age. London School of Economics. 17 December.
  2. UN Climate Change Conference UK (2021) Supporting the conditions for a just transition internationally, 4 November.