As the reality of a coal transition and coal power decommissioning draw nearer, South Africa’s just transition plan is both urgent and glaringly absent. There is a pressing need to manage the impacts of the transition on workers and local economic development, particularly in coal-dependent regions and affected communities. A credible fact base is required, from which to make appropriate and broadly supported decisions. In this conceptual clearing, several specific political consensuses must be brokered to enable policy design and implementation as well as investment for a green and just transition. This policy brief speaks to the current policy vacuum, proposing steps to address it. First, it considers the implications of the coal transition for employment in South Africa, with reference to national policy and available research. It then seeks to characterise the key issues, points of contestation, and the current just transition/ employment policy vacuum. Finally, recommendations for the facilitation of shared understanding and consensus-building are outlined.
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This policy briefs aims to provide an overview of the characteristics of the vulnerable groups in the petroleum-based transport value chain; an understanding of the dimensions of the impact and expected timeframes for the transition; and an overview of the proposed resilience plans. It first looks at the characteristics of those who are employed in the value chain, or are involved in business. It then explores the dimensions of the impact and the timeframes as they are currently available.
Nick Robins, Professor in Practice – Sustainable Finance, Grantham Research Institute, London School of Economics: Just Transition Welcome and Introduction
ESI Africa 20 January 2021: How to finance the just energy transition in South Africa and India
Engineering News 19 January 2021 Terrence Creamer: Project launched to define role of finance in South Africa and India's 'just transitions'
Ensuring the transition to net zero and resilient economies is just and inclusive has never been more important as climate action builds momentum and the urgent need for a green and just recovery from COVID-19 arises.
South Africa and India, two of the largest coal-dependent emerging economies, are beginning to explore how to ensure no one is left behind in the transition, particularly in coal-dependent regions, and the most vulnerable can access emerging opportunities including new quality jobs in net zero sectors.
It is clear that financial institutions have a critical role to play in helping achieve a just transition in both countries - more practical guidance is now needed to signal where financing is needed and how it can be enabled by specific policy, market and regulatory mechanisms.
The Just Transition Finance Roadmaps in South Africa and India project will build on existing local processes and encourage tangible action, particularly on the road to COP26. The following partners are involved: Trade & Industrial Policy Strategies, National Business Initiative, Observer Research Foundation, LSE Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, and Harvard Kennedy School’s Initiative for Responsible Investment, with support from the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy.
This project has been catalysed with funding from CDC Group.
14.30-14.40 Welcome and Project Launch: Nick Robins, Professor in Practice – Sustainable Finance, Grantham Research Institute, London School of Economics
14.40-14.50 Fireside chat: Nick O’Donohoe, Chief Executive Officer, CDC Group in conversation with Nick Robins
14.50-14.55 Opening remarks: What is the role of finance in enabling a just transition in South Africa? Joanne Yawitch, Chief Executive Officer, National Business Initiative
14.55-15.00 Opening remarks: What is the role of finance in enabling a just transition in India? Rathin Roy, Managing Director - Research and Policy, Overseas Development Institute
15.00-15.35 Panel discussion
Moderator: David Wood, Director of the Initiative for Responsible Investment , Harvard Kennedy School
• Amal-Lee Amin, Climate Change Director, CDC Group
• Rudi Dicks, Board member, Trade & Industrial Policy Strategies
• Royston Braganza, Chief Executive Officer, Grameen Capital India
15.35-15.55 Q&A session
15.55-16.00 Closing remarks: Suranjali Tandon, Assistant Professor, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy
Muhammed Patel - TIPS
Pulane Mafoea Nkalai - Sam Tambani Research Institute
Michelle Cruywagen, Megan Davies and Mark Swilling - Centre for Complex Systems in Transition, Stellenbosch University
David Hallowes - groundWork
Presentation: Down to Zero
Report: Down to Zero - The politics of just transition (David Hallowes and Victor Munnik 2019)
Gemma Gatticchi, Bloomberg. 4 November 2020: Renewable energy drive threatens 120,000 South African jobs
South Africa, a carbon-intensive economy, has initiated a transition to a more sustainable development pathway. While this is an economy-wide transformation, the progressive decline of the coal value chain is at the centre of this shift. In a highly unequal society like South Africa, the need for a just transition, which would empower vulnerable stakeholders, has emerged as an imperative. Beyond the stakeholders who rely on it for their livelihood, the coal value chain plays a singular role in the South African economy, society, politics and psyche. As such, the transition in South Africa’s coal value chain has the potential to influence the country’s entire socio-economic trajectory. This dialogue aims to inform this just transition process. It explores the ground-level impacts associated with a just transition away from coal.
This webinar builds on a two earlier dialogues, hosted on 7 July and 29 September.
This policy brief aims to lay the ground for a just transition in South Africa’s metals value chain as it pertains to climate change only. It contributes to understanding: a) the nature of the impacts facing the value chain; b) the characteristics of the stakeholders at risks (namely workers, communities and small businesses); and c) the nature of the resilience plan which is required to ensure a just transition.
South Africa, a carbon-intensive economy, has initiated a transition to a more sustainable development pathway. While this is centred on the energy sector, the transition is an economy-wide transformation. In a highly unequal society like South Africa, the need for a just transition which would empower vulnerable stakeholders has emerged as an imperative. Yet tensions remain, which hinder an inclusive process and outcomes. Part of the early process is forming a unified understanding and pathway that is inclusive and just. What do stakeholders mean when they talk about a just transition? How can South Africa achieve a just transition? This dialogue explores stakeholder perspectives from government, the private sector, the labour movement and civil society. It builds on a first dialogue hosted on 7 July (see recording below).
About the Speakers
Tracey Davies is the Executive Director of Just Share, a non-profit shareholder activism organisation. She is admitted as an attorney in South Africa, and is a renowned expert on responsible investment, shareholder activism, and corporate governance and transparency in South Africa.
Ashraf Kariem is Chief Expert Economy in the National Planning Commission (NPC) secretariat, within the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME). He was part of the team overseeing the NPC's just transition dialogue process.
Jacklyn Cock is a professor emeritus in the Department of Sociology at the University of the Witwatersrand and an Honorary Research Professor in the Society, Work and Development Research Unit (SWOP). She has written extensively on environment, gender and militarisation issues.
Sherman Indhul is the Executive Manager: Corporate Sustainability at Transnet. His experience over the past 15 years in the public and private sectors has led to a focus on sustainability, and specifically on climate change. He notably sits on the Steering Committee of the National Business Initiative's (NBI) Just Transition Pathways Project.
Muhammed Patel is an Economist at TIPS. He has experience in the coal and petrochemical value chains. He is the lead author of the National Employment Vulnerability Assessment (NEVA) and Sector Jobs Resilience Plan (SJRP) for the coal value chain in South Africa.
About the Facilitator
Gaylor Montmasson-Clair is a Senior Economist at TIPS, where he leads work on Sustainable Growth. He has carried out extensive research on the transition to an inclusive green economy from a developing country perspective, with a focus on policy frameworks, industrial development, just transition and resource security.
Please register: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_wgNwl1ZwTpmlou9Vpl3JEQ
This webinar builds on a first dialogue hosted on 7 July.
South Africa aims to transition to an inclusive green economy, combining economic development, social progress and environmental preservation. Both the economy and society remain, however, highly unsustainable. Targeting the transition to an inclusive green economy therefore signifies a massive and disruptive shift, commanding a new model of development. Industrial policy is core to this process, notably to ensure a “just transition” and manage a balancing act, consisting of maximising the benefits of the transition and minimising the risks associated with not transitioning; but in line with South Africa’s capabilities to minimise the short-term trade-offs and threats. This requires a careful alignment of South Africa’s industrial policy with the inclusive green economy paradigm to support the country’s green industrial development. Ultimately, this requires the shift from industrial policy to green industrial policy. To inform such a transformation, this report reviews South Africa’s industrial policy, from an inclusive green economy lens. It investigates the extent to which South Africa’s industrial policy is responding to, if not driving, the country’s transition.
The report was produced by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) with funding from the European Union in the framework of the project Inclusive Green Economy Policy Making for SDGs.