High-road jobs, stakeholder consultation, and a focus on racial and economic justice are featured as central to a just and equitable transition to a clean energy economy.
NEW YORK, NY, WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 9TH, 2022 – Today a group of 96 global investors representing nearly US$3.8T in assets published a Statement of Investor Expectations for Job Standards and Community Impacts in the Just Transition.
Investors say the goal of the statement is to clearly illustrate what a just transition could look like and provide resources, tools, and actionable examples of how investors and other stakeholders can manifest that vision in their day-to-day operations with the objective of mitigating harms, providing high-quality jobs, and generating positive impacts to communities.
The statement was drafted via a robust consultative process that included the voices of multiple stakeholders including labor groups, environmental justice groups, and community-based organizations. These groups were invited into the process early to inform the tone and foundations of the statement.
“As we grapple with how to meet the demands of a rapid transition to a renewable energy economy, a lot has been said about the need for it to be a “just transition” and what exactly that means,” said Stephanie Lavallato, ICCR’s Associate Program Director for Just Transition. “This statement is intended to set baseline expectations and provide tactical guidance, particularly when it comes to job standards and how impacted communities are engaged, so corporations, policymakers, and investors understand what is being asked of them.”
The main tenets of the principles are as follows:
- Provide a foundation for decent work, job benefits, and working conditions;
- Offer equitable opportunities for quality jobs;
- Invest in impacted communities;
- Facilitate transparency and accountability;
- Support just transition policies at all levels.
The investors say the statement is needed to demonstrate investor support for just transition values and principles with corporations and policymakers as they develop and implement their climate transition plans. The statement includes direct calls for racial and economic equity and a foundation in human rights, perspectives believed to be critical to a successful and equitable transition.
"Climate change is a global crisis that affects all of our communities and every region of the world but is hurting those who are least prepared to recover the most," said New York City Comptroller Brad Lander. "The New York City pension funds are committed to ensuring that our portfolio companies support a just transition, from a carbon-based to a low-carbon and net-zero economy. To preserve and protect long-term shareholder value, a just transition depends on genuine stakeholder engagement with local communities, workers and their union representatives, and environmental advocates."
"We are grateful for this investor statement in support of a just transition, a decarbonized economy, and the policies we need to get there together,”said Debbie New of Gas Leaks Allies. “These specific expectations from such a strong, united shareholder voice add much-needed muscle to our stakeholder efforts to ensure quality jobs, environmental justice, and a livable climate for all."
The statement’s authors said the following stakeholder groups were consulted in its development: BlueGreen Alliance, Clean Justice Alliance, Emerald Cities Collaborative, Gas Leaks Allies, Jobs to Move America, and Movement Strategy Center. In addition, several asset managers and asset owners were consulted to ensure the principles were communicated clearly and in alignment with fiduciary responsibility. Moreover, the principles were written to be applicable across different geographies and workplace environments.
“We support the Statement of Investor Expectations for Job Standards and Community Impacts in the Just Transition, which includes specific asks to companies to guarantee quality jobs and investment in impacted communities, due to corporate change in response to climate change,” saidSimonetta Spavieri, Senior Engagement Analyst at Royal London Asset Management (RLAM). “We believe companies that deliver a positive impact on climate, the workforce, and the communities where they operate are more likely to deliver a profitable long-term business performance. RLAM will continue partnering with other investors, including the co-signatories of this statement, in asking corporates and policy-makers to support a just transition to net-zero emissions.”
“Wespath’s endorsement of this statement fully aligns with our belief that to achieve returns commensurate with the long-term goals of our benefit plan beneficiaries and investors, the world needs a fast and fair transition to a sustainable global economy—one that promotes social cohesion, long-term prosperity for all, and environmental health,” said Jake Barnett Director, Sustainable Investment Stewardship of Wespath Benefits and Investments. “The principles outlined in this statement provide valuable resources to help investors engage with – and allocate capital in support of – these three pillars.”
The investors say they will leave the statement open for additional signatories and are seeking to gain broad investor support to signal to companies, policymakers, and other stakeholders what investors expect as a baseline for job standards and positive community impacts in the energy transition. They expect to use the statement to engage companies across a variety of sectors, from energy utilities and auto manufacturers to any company procuring renewable energy to fulfill their climate commitments.
About the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR)
Celebrating its 51st year, ICCR is the pioneer coalition of shareholder advocates who view the management of their investments as a catalyst for social change. Its 300-member organizations comprise faith communities, socially responsible asset managers, unions, pensions, NGOs, and other socially responsible investors with combined assets of over $4 trillion. ICCR members engage hundreds of corporations annually in an effort to foster greater corporate accountability. Visit our website www.iccr.org and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn , and Facebook.