International approaches to a Just Transition

The Wales Centre for Public Policy (WCPP) was commissioned by the Welsh Government to conduct a review of international approaches to a just transition to help define what is meant by a ‘just transition’ in the Welsh context. The Welsh Government are keen to learn lessons from how other countries have approached a just transition and the frameworks they have used, to understand if a just transition in Wales can be considered through the lens of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 (WBFGA).

This evidence review builds on previous work commissioned by the Welsh Government and conducted by WCPP on what a just transition in Wales might involve and on skills for a just transition. As there has already been significant research undertaken in this area and given the speed with which the concept of a just transition has evolved in recent years, this project provides an update on previous research and links the wider just transition literature to the Welsh context and the WBFGA.

The report begins by considering the context of Wales’ decarbonisation efforts. We discuss the origins and evolving nature of the definition of a just transition internationally, providing a brief background on the concepts of justice that underpin a just and fair transition to a net zero carbon economy. A key finding is that there is no universally accepted definition of a just transition and a great deal of debate exists around the term. The report then presents some of the diverse global approaches to just transition policy and practice and considers lessons learnt. There is a focus on how certain countries have used a well-being framework to approach a just transition and how these approaches could align with the WBFGA if used as a foundation for its adoption. We conclude by summarising key lessons for the adoption of a policy approach to a just transition for Wales.