Contributing to a Just Transition to Net Zero


A just transition is both the outcome – a fairer, greener future for all – and the process that must be undertaken in partnership with those impacted by the transition to net zero. Just transition is how we get to a net zero and climate resilient economy, in a way that delivers fairness and tackles inequality and injustice

(Scottish Government)




Scotland’s first Just Transition Commission was established in 2019. In their report published in 2021 they called for a national mission to achieve a just transition: “This transition needs to be a national mission with social justice at its heart: something achieved BY the people of Scotland, not done TO the people of Scotland.”

In its response to the Commission, the Government set out the various components that make up a just transition and a number of organising themes and commitments, which may help guide the development of proposals under this call:

  • Components of a just transition:
    • Skills training and education that helps to secure good, high-value jobs in green industries like low-carbon manufacturing, renewables, and tech;
    • Job security for those in industries that will play the biggest part in the transition – at every level;
    • Homes that are energy efficient and help to reduce fuel poverty;
    • Building infrastructure, transport and communities that support efforts to decarbonise, to enhance biodiversity and which are resilient in the face of the impact of climate change;
    • Making sure the costs do not burden those least able to pay and the benefits of transition are felt regardless of where you live, who you are and what you do.
  • Organising themes and commitments:
    • Planning for a managed transition to net zero that maximises the economic and social opportunities, while managing the risks;
    • Equipping people with the knowledge and skills they need, while putting in place safety nets to ensure no-one is left behind;
    • Involving those who will be impacted by the transition through co-design and collaboration to reduce emissions, respond to climate change and build more resilient healthy communities;
    • Spreading the benefits of the transition widely, while making sure the costs do not burden those least able to pay.

The Government’s response emphasised the opportunity to take advantage of the net-zero transition to achieve synergies between environmental, social and economic objectives: “As we tackle emissions, this is also an opportunity to seek out lasting positive societal change: for example, ensuring our efforts to tackle the climate crisis support our efforts to deliver social justice.”

In September 2021 the Government announced the appointment of a new Just Transition Commission for the term of the Parliament to scrutinise, advise and report annually on the progress Scotland is making to ensure a greener, fairer future for everyone.

The Commission has been tasked with: 

  • providing scrutiny and advice on the ongoing development of Scottish Government-led just transition plans;
  • advising on the most suitable approaches to monitoring and evaluation;
  • undertaking meaningful engagement with those most likely to be impacted by the transition;
  • engaging and collaborating with other sources of expertise;
  • publishing an annual report to reflect on Scotland’s progress.

In January 2022, SUII awarded funding to two programmes that aim to make a practical contribution to ensuring a just transition and supporting the Commission and others involved in this work:


Community Carbon Offsetting

Fuel and Transport Poverty