The Council for Inclusive Capitalism, a global grouping of chief executives and public sector leaders, has released a framework to deliver “a just energy transition” that included input from energy majors such as BP, Eni and Reposl.

The Council unveiled the new framework on Friday — titled ‘The Just Energy Transition: A Framework for Company Action — which is aimed at ensuring the benefits of the energy transition are shared by workers, communities, and customers.

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The framework was a collaborative effort led by the Council for Inclusive Capitalism, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), and BP, in consultation with the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

The Council warns that the transition to a net zero economy risks growing inequality with a loss of jobs and investment in impacted communities, adding it is imperative companies transition in a way that is focused on workers, communities, and consumers.

“We must ensure that workers and communities do not lose out as we strive to help our planet. We must take everyone with us,” said BP chief executive Bernard Looney.

“That is why developing this framework made sense to us at BP. We want a transition that ensures no one is left behind.”

In creating the initiative, the Council convened seven international energy and energy intensive companies — BP, Eni, Repsol, Reliance Industries, ACEN, Anglo American and SSE.

It also involved several academic, investor, civil, and social representatives, including BCG, CalPERS, the Grantham Research Institute, Inclusive Capital Partners, the International Trade Union Confederation, State Street, and the UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance.

Framework based around four pillars

The initiative is based around four core pillars that each have five areas for action the Council says will help guide companies as they consider the social and economic impacts of their own transition towards a lower carbon future.

The four pillars include — supporting universal access to energy and a net-zero emissions world; evolving the energy workforce to support a low and zero carbon energy future; building community resilience; and fostering collaboration and transparency throughout the process.

The Council claims the framework will be a starting point to “catalyze longer-term action” for governments, investors, businesses, and civil society to act intentionally and collaboratively to ensure the energy transition advances environmental, social, and economic justice.

“The private sector has a key role to play in financing and contributing to this urgent global shift in a way that is just for everyone involved,” said UN special envoy for climate action and finance, Mark Carney.

“This initiative is only the start of the journey. It will take the commitment and collective action of all – government, industry, and civic leaders – to achieve a swift and just transition to clean energy and a net zero economy.”

Council for Inclusive Capitalism chief executive Sharan Burrow added: “In light of the latest IPCC report, the time to transition to a net-zero economy is now—but how we transition is as important as the environmental targets we set.

“These initial actions for an energy transition that advances and not impedes social equity are a starting point for the work that needs to be done. We invite companies, investors and governments to make use of the framework to deliver a transition that is just.”

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued “a code red for humanity” earlier this year, claiming the world is dangerously close to runaway warming – and that humans are "unequivocally" to blame.

Unless immediate, rapid and large-scale action is taken to reduce emissions, the IPCC report claims the average global temperature will likely cross the 1.5-degree Celsius warming threshold within the next 20 years.