CSR Europe and just transition

Anna Triponel

October 14, 2022
Our key takeaway: Calling all stakeholders to be part of a European Green Social Deal. CSR Europe’s report on just transition delves into the need for all: “businesses, policymakers, and stakeholders at large [to] collaborate to empower the S of the ESG and guarantee the well-being of present and future generations.” Companies in particular play a significant role by firmly embedding just transition into their business. This entails each company creating their own roadmap for just transition, which builds on certain core foundations, seeks to empower a range of stakeholder groups, and take a strategic approach to - ultimately - ensure a just transition can take place within their own business, as well as beyond. 

CSR Europe published ‘Business for Just Transition’ (October 2022):

  • Collaboration to “empower the S of the ESG”: CSR Europe calls on “businesses, policymakers, and stakeholders at large [to] collaborate to empower the S of the ESG and guarantee the well-being of present and future generations.” The report discusses established trends (income and wealth inequality, urbanization & digitalization), and new drivers (food security, energy security & rising refugee flows) which “create the high- risk social environment that governments and business must navigate today.” The report delves into the many benefits for companies of adopting and implementing just transition programs, namely: “reduced cost of financing; retain attractiveness of investments; higher stock value; boost market expansion, new business fields; avoid public support losses; engagement with supplier; attractiveness and talent retention; [and] management of regulatory risk.” CSR Europe calls on companies to be “the co-architects of a European Social Green Deal. CSR Europe’s ambition is to join forces with the European Commission and other leading organisations to launch a European Business Alliance for Just Transition with local footprints. The Alliance will act as an accelerator for business transformation, engagement, and collaboration towards a fair and Just Transition.”
  • A barometer of business: The report discusses the results of the 2022 European Sustainable Industry Barometer which “shows how European sectors are contributing to and managing social risks today. Our findings underscore high exposure to social risks in Europe due to macrotrends such as digitalisation and the poor levels of preparedness of key sectors in supporting a Just Transition.” The report finds in particular that “Europe does not appear on-track for a Just Transition”, based on a review of a number of criteria from ESG Assessment data (from Moody’s). This being said, some sectors, such as Forest Product and Paper, and Electric and Gas Utilities, emerge as more advanced than others. 
  • The European Business Roadmap for Just Transition: CSR Europe puts forward a roadmap for just transition which “supports enterprises in the strategic direction, methodologies, and tools to embed Just Transition within their purpose, strategy, and operations.” The purpose of this roadmap is to address the social themes to ensure a just transition in Europe. The roadmap delves into the foundations of organization and governance, stakeholder engagement, sustainable finance and measuring impact. The roadmap then discusses stakeholder groups of workforce, supply chain, customer and communities, and proposes a strategy based on (1) diversity, equity and inclusion, (2) access to equitable product and service, (3) human rights, (4) training & education, and (5) product and services responsibility. CSR Europe delves into four steps for companies to follow in implementing the roadmap: Step 1: “Revisit your purpose and narrative: Articulate the company purpose on Just Transition and align all initiatives.” Step 2: “Adopt a structured strategic approach: Embed Just Transition in your strategy with clear KPI's, targets and initiatives”. Step 3: “Build your strategy on solid foundations: Make sure your organisation is ready to deploy your strategy internally and externally”. And step 4: “Customize your approach for each stakeholder: Develop specific programs tailored to your stakeholders' needs.” By implementing these steps, companies “will be able to enhance [their] positive impact on people by tackling inequalities and investing in quality jobs, skills and talents, inclusive communities, resilient supply chains, and more affordable services and products for customers.”

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