Working with companies, trade unions and NGOs to develop solutions to manage and mitigate the impact of change on workers and business in the future low carbon world of work.
Established: February 2021. Along with ETI's focus on wider business practices, this programme forms one of ETI's key strategic priorities for 2021-25.
- Identify risks, opportunities, drivers, and entry points for meaningful dialogue to map the changes and impact on industries, workers, and the supply chain brought about by climatic changes, automation and emerging business practices.
- Elevate solution modeling and research to create an inclusive and enabling environment for suppliers and producers to plan for future scenarios that mitigate risk to both business and workers.
- Amplify the outcomes of activity and good practical practice to further engage with business, trade unions and NGOs to advocate for inclusive, fair and worker-informed solutions for the challenges ahead.
Preparing for change
Applying the due diligence approach we need to understand and plan for the impact on workers, business and supply chains in three key critical pathways of the changing landscape:
- Climate change & environmental sustainability
- Future world of work (automation & algorithmic production)
- Emerging business models, innovation and new industries
Through Social Dialogue and applying Decent Work and Just Transition principles, we aim to shape pathways and build bridges for a future that is people-centred and respects human rights at work.
Why a just transitions approach?
The Just Transition Framework is part of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and is embedded in the core labour standards on human rights at work - it promotes the consultation/dialogue between worker representatives and employers. The framework enables workers and communities to be at the heart of devising solutions to future problems and is a key means of involving all stakeholders in forecasting and decision making on changes to workplace practices and the sustainability of business. Just Transitions is:
- A framework for workplace and industry consultation and advocacy.
- A platform for innovation recognising that workers are masters of their process.
- It includes worker education, upskilling and re-skilling and encourages job creation, development and poverty reduction.
- Since workplaces are conduits to wider society, it underpins sound industrial strategy; Just Transitions is intrinsically linked to SDG8 and compliments all the SDGs.
What we need to do
- Understand the context of each point of change in relation to human rights at work and the Due Diligence implications to manage the impact on workers of changes taking place.
- Understand the ‘right to be human’ in the mechanised, digital and AI world.
- Map the emerging business models and codify their impact on supply chains through either creation of new industries and impact on current workforces.
- Create the space for workers voices to contribute and participate in environmental and climate change commitments and be equipped to respond to the future world of work.
- Build the capacity of supply chain networks to devise equitable solutions and plans to mitigate risk to industries, workers, and jobs.
- Test models of change and transition to establish what good practice includes to guide decisions that either lessons risk or mitigates harm to workers.
- Be advocates for equitable and people focused change in the broader community of stakeholders (such as consumers, investors, auditors and governments) with increased attention paid to the impact on workers of transitions.
Green social dialogue: a pilot initiative
As part of ETI’s efforts to protect workers with a just transition to a green economy, a new initiative led by ETI Bangladesh aims to drive worker-led climate action by mainstreaming environmental issues in the existing social dialogue between employers, workers, and their representatives. The ‘green social dialogue’ pilot (funded by NORAD), will assess workers’ understanding of climate change, explore ways to support their learning and how best to integrate these issues into existing channels for dialogue so that workers’ can advocate for themselves.
Pathway 1: Climate change & environmental sustainability
- Map sourcing country climate change commitments, investments and industrial strategies linked to decarbonisation of, for example, manufacturing operations and long-term sustainability of resources and supply – including land and water.
- Consider the changing stakeholder landscape to establish what is already being done and points of entry for influence.
- With a view to understanding the impacts on working conditions, better understanding of industry initiatives to reduce waste, decarbonise through renewable energy, innovate processes and circular procurement practices .
- Mapping risk to products, workers, operational changes, and jobs in areas most likely to be affected by climatic events such as extended drought, increased flooding, and sea level rises.
- Develop worker and supplier resources and practical tools for local workplace & industry dialogue.
Pathway 2: Future world of work
The impact on workers and supply chains of the ‘internet of everything’ is the lesser known risk but also has potential for opportunity and innovation that drives positive change in our supply chain landscape.
- Automation and mechanisation of manufacturing, farming, and fishing.
- Digitisation of work processes, at one end, for example blockchain identification to actual processes that are software-driven (as opposed to manual labour).
- Artificial intelligence and the growth in predictive human resource algorithms.
- Integrity of worker data and informed consent on any ‘app’ based surveillance, worker surveys, or training
- Future jobs, skills and education deficits for less educated workers and developing the next generation to contribute to the future world of work.
Future World of Work discussion papers:
A series of three papers: setting the context, implications for gender equality, and social dialogue & interplay.
Pathway 3: Emerging business models & practices
Driving significant change and impacting the supply chain landscape are emerging economic models and business practices that are shaping policy on industry and political platforms.
- Platform, gig & online business models (e-commerce)
- Circular economic and purchasing practices
- Natural economy and investing in regenerative practices
These all have the potential for innovation and the creation of new industries within our supply chains.
ETI member strategic advisory group
- A dedicated team, led by the ETI Secretariate and comprised of multi-sector company representation, trade unions and labour NGOs
- With a remit to shape and advise on the strategic direction, plan and activity of the three pathways
Three pathway working groups
- Open to all ETI members including suppliers and producers linked to ETI forums, programmes and platforms
- Member-endorsed experts in the pathway field
- The role is to shape the key indicators, resources and research for each of the three pathways