A transformative economic shift is upon us

Anna Triponel
February 2, 2024
Just transition
Climate crisis
Laws and litigation
Human rights due diligence

A transformative economic shift is upon us. Its success will hinge on whether it is equitable or not. We need to ensure that the shift toward a low-carbon future places people – together with the planet – at its centre. 🌎

Here are some wise words from a recent WEF report on this topic (further summarised below): “The green transition, driven by a rising urgency of accelerated climate action, is a transformative economic shift that impacts the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services with far-reaching and complex implications on equity, fairness and justice. Achieving net zero will encompass a wide range of changes: a clean energy system; the greening of agriculture, mobility and heavy industry; sustainable cities and infrastructure; and the scaleup of circularity models. Carefully managing the economics of an equitable transition – putting at the centre the fair allocation of costs and benefits and the impact on people – will ultimately determine the success of this unprecedented transformation.” 🫂

❗I think everyone reading this knows this by now, but I am still asked the question on a weekly basis: do we actually have time to bring in human rights? Won’t it delay the transition? My response: it’s not a question of whether. Bringing human rights into the core of the transitions that are upon will be the only way to make them happen. As the WEF pinpoints, the bottom 50% of the population own less than 5% of the wealth, and do not contribute to more than a quarter of their region’s emissions. Yet they are the ones that are disproportionately negatively impacted by climate policies and actions.

In other news: laws - our second favourite topic as we are nearly all former practising lawyers here at Human Level 😄

The EU Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive. The plan is for EU member states to agree the final text in the coming weeks, and for the European Parliament to approve it before the end of their mandate in April. We won’t call out Governments who are getting cold feet here - we know who they are. What we will say is that: claims that conducting due diligence on people and planet creates extra burden for companies is similar to saying: it doesn't matter the impact on people and planet so long as businesses are making money. And in fact, applying sustainability due diligence strengthens financial performance - and ensures companies can still be here in the future to tell the story. Win win win from my perspective.🌟

You might be interested in these four columns that the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union put together to compare different versions of the text: here and here 🔎

Oh and the European Council has just adopted its position to ban products made with forced labour on the EU market… Here it is. Things are starting to get very interesting. 🤓

Lawyers and companies are in for a ride. The only way to know where that ride is going is to apply the UN Guiding Principles throughout your business - and including to your climate actions and adaptation measures! 🙌

Happy Friday!