Climate Justice: What Role Your Business Can Play
Updated: Oct 13, 2022
Climate justice is the demand for us to share the benefits and burdens of climate change equally, while safeguarding the rights of marginalised communities.
A recent IPCC report emphasises the significance of interweaving social justice with climate solutions and creating a sustainable environment for all while reducing climate-associated risks.
While we still have a long way to go, there is already a growing number of businesses that include climate justice in their agenda. With government support and actionable guidance on climate justice, your organisation, too, can help the world transition to net-zero by 2050. Whether we talk about climate justice or the intersection of climate change and people, businesses have a significant role to play in protecting the marginalised communities from bearing the brunt of the climate crisis.
What Can Your Business Do?
By considering existing resources, capabilities, and vulnerabilities, climate justice ensures that we all have the ability - collectively and individually - to prepare for, respond to, and recover from the impacts of climate change. Let’s see what role your business can play to support climate justice.
1) Focus on climate justice and social equity
Identify your organisation’s activities that impact marginalised communities and develop solutions that keep climate justice and social equity in the centre. Commit to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 across the entire supply chain. Protect your employees, factory workers, and vital communities from climate-related events. Your company can also create green jobs that respect human rights and livelihoods.
2) Engage with marginalised communities
Engage these communities in community-driven climate resilience planning, and let them contribute to a regenerative economy. You can support them through education, employment opportunities, skills training, and benefit-sharing agreements.
Take a look at Grids Alternative for example, a globally established NGO with the objective to make renewable energy technology and job training accessible to underserved communities. Grid Alternatives has already partnered with leading corporations such as Warner Brothers Entertainment and Wells Fargo, as well as local governments, affordable housing developers and job training organisations.
Grid Alternatives’ works hand in hand with companies and local governments to design and implement workforce development programs that include real-world experience and networking events to help launch careers in solar, including hands-on installation training, women in solar opportunities, fellowships through SolarCorps and learning programs for youth.
3) Collaborate with your partners to scale impact
The climate crisis is too big to solve alone. Collaborate with your partners, other business, and stakeholders with relevant expertise to amplify the pace and scale of your endeavours to accelerate climate justice. You can commit to the Business Pledge for Just Transition and Decent Green Jobs, develop forward-thinking standards or create re-skilling initiatives.
4) Support value chain partners
Climate justice also requires you to look at your value chain through a human-rights lens. Pursue your relationship with only like-minded suppliers who believe in advancing climate justice, and leverage your influence when alignment does not seem possible, even if it means making tough decisions. Your value chain holds both opportunity and risk for a just transition.
5) Advocate for public policy
Though the government has the power to set policy goals, corporate influence on politics can be immense. Leverage your influence to integrate racial equity into public policies. Include all your stakeholders in decision-making, connect with the government and endorse these policies on all levels to integrate equitable plans into their climate solutions.
6) Speak your mind
Being in business ultimately gives power to your voice. Leverage your company’s societal acceptance to speak up for environmental initiatives and the survival of those facing historical discrimination, alienation, and exclusion. These communities are counting on you to play your role in safeguarding their existence.
Climate justice requires us to keep pacing our efforts toward both reducing emissions and improving the lives of marginalised communities affected by global crises, whether it’s a pandemic or climate change. So, let’s pledge to build a truly sustainable and inclusive future that works for everyone.