The Scottish Just Transition

Greener jobs for a Greener Future in Scotland

Scotland has committed to reaching net-zero carbon by 2045. To achieve this goal,
large numbers of green jobs will need to be created. Our vision is a larger and more adaptable Green Jobs Fund, and the tailoring of economic development schemes to specific regional demands, in line with the Just Transition.

Published

2021

Sustainability, Employment

Authors

Rashi Agarwal

Harry Carstairs

Luiza Costa

Rachel Dunn

Gideon Leibowitz

Lila Sakata

Executive Summary

Scotland has committed to reaching net-zero carbon by 2045. To achieve this goal,

large numbers of green jobs will need to be created, and many others from more polluting

industries will be lost or undergo changes. This restructuring of the labour market pro-

vides an unprecedented opportunity to address multiple inequalities and empower individuals to take meaningful action on climate change through their work. However, the

current plans set out by the Scottish Government for a ‘green jobs transition’ are not ambitious enough and fail to place equality at their centre.


The Scottish Government is aiming to create 100,000 new jobs in green sectors, having

recently pledged £100 million for a Green Jobs Fund and £25 million for a National Transition Training Fund (NTTF). The Green Jobs Fund investment will be split equally be-

tween public bodies such as Scottish Enterprise and in supporting businesses. Meanwhile,

the NTTF is primarily a response to the large numbers of people facing redundancy following the economic downturn associated with COVID-19. Workers at risk of becoming unemployed will be given access to an industry recognised qualification, in order to help

them regain employment.


While these funds are a step in the right direction, their magnitudes are a tiny fraction

of the funding allocated to supporting businesses during COVID-19, and therefore do not

represent the seriousness and scale of the climate emergency. In addition, they do not

take into account the divergent needs of regions across Scotland, or provide a pathway for

women, economically oppressed and traditionally under-represented ethnic groups to gain

power in the job market.


Our vision is a larger and more adaptable Green Jobs Fund, and the tailoring of economic development schemes to specific regional demands, in line with the Just Transition. For this to happen, the following steps should be taken:


A regional just transition and improvement of existing economic development schemes. A critical and realistic assessment of jobs should be made to both scale-up and scale-down sectors in line with the Just Transition and net-zero target. The Just Transition should be included more strongly into the investment strategies of the Regional Growth Deals (RGD) and City Region Deals (CRD), with CRD funds divested from projects hindering the energy transition. The ‘green’ nature of education, health and caring jobs should also be emphasized.


Improvements to the Green Jobs Fund, including more rapid investment and the

conditioning of government assistance on companies’ commitment to equality, diversity

and environmental sustainability.


Promotion of sustainable green business opportunities, with particular sup-

port from anchor institutions. Anchor institutions, which often have supply chains

deeply embedded within local economies, should divest from high-polluting suppliers and

direct their spending towards zero carbon suppliers. Furthermore, as anchor institutions

typically have considerable access to land and capital, they are in an ideal position to

provide patient capital funding to up-and-coming low-carbon businesses. Funding and in-

vesting in local, sustainable business initiatives will broaden the scope of Just Transition from energy to other sectors of the economy.