Varieties of just transition? Eco-social policy approaches at the international level

Luca Cigna*, Torben Fischer, Emina Hasanagic Abuannab, Elke Heins, Philip Rathgeb

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

‘Just transition’ is a concept originally developed by the labour movement to reconcile workers’ rights with the necessity to combat climate change. More recently, supra- and international organisations have also adopted this idea. However, it remains unclear to what extent these actors follow the eco-social ambitions of organised labour. In this article, we develop a conceptual framework to capture diverse just transition approaches by distinguishing between the goal, policy, and governance dimension. We apply a multi-method approach to gauge the extent of variation in the just transition conceptualisations of three actors: the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the European Union (EU). We identify a cleavage between the ILO where just transition refers to an ambitious eco-social agenda on the one hand, and the IMF’s emphasis on macroeconomic adaptation on the other. The EU takes up a middle position by promoting a ‘green growth’ strategy with medium emphasis on environmental and social risk mitigation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Policy and Society
Early online date13 Oct 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Oct 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • just transition
  • eco-social policy
  • European Union
  • International Monetary Fund
  • International Labour Organisation


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