Just transition declaration
Deadly extreme weather events, rising seas, mass biodiversity loss and feedback loops: the realities and threats of the climate catastrophe, driven by the continued use and extraction of fossil fuels, have never been so immediate. While the urgency of switching to low carbon alternatives to fossil fuels is clear, this transformation needs to restructure the energy system itself and share the costs and benefits fairly or risk recycling the inequalities and injustices of the extractive economic model which fuel the multiple crises we face today. To have a liveable future, we need to stop acting as individuals and together work for the collective good.
To achieve this, we will embed the principles of the City of Bristol Just Transition Declaration into our work by doing the following:
To include the ideas and knowledge of disadvantaged people in all of our work we will look for opportunities to establish projects or help support new energy groups in deprived areas. We will also develop ways to include more people from disadvantaged communities on the panel of our Megawatt Community Energy Fund.
On providing future proof jobs: BEC is a Living Wage employer and through our procurement processes will ensure that all of our rooftop contractors pay the Real Living Wage. We will also develop processes to ensure that we recruit employees from a diverse range of backgrounds, and support the right of staff to be members of trade unions. To encourage more people from diverse backgrounds into the community energy sector, we will ensure the people we showcase on our communications channels and work with come from a broad range of backgrounds.
To support disadvantaged groups to take action that is good for the planet and nature, we will explore options for providing Sharia-compliant share offers so more people can become investor members of the coop, and continue to make sure the recipients of our Megawatt Community Energy Fund are those who need the funding most. We will also continue to scale up the fund in line with revenue.
We will enable people to make changes as individuals by tackling big issues. To do this, we will provide community groups and small-to-medium-sized businesses who are not able to independently fund renewable energy projects with financial benefits and educational opportunities. Another important part of our work will be lobbying government on policies that support a just energy transition and raising awareness of the urgency of the just transition through our communication channels.
Community energy is a model based on sharing the benefits of renewable energy installations equally across the community. We are looking to expand our portfolio of community-owned assets, including doubling our solar rooftop capacity over the next two years, which will increase the benefit we can offer to sites, members and the community. We will continue to give our best possible offers to organisations which are themselves delivering strong social benefits. We will also explore ways for our projects to reduce energy bills for people living near our sites.
To make our ways of talking accessible we strive to communicate in Plain English, avoiding jargon as much as possible and formatting content so it is accessible to a broad range of people. We will action any feedback that we receive in order to improve our communications.
To act in ways that support people experiencing the worst climate change in other places, we will establish procedures to assess and minimize the carbon footprint of our projects; source products from an ethical and sustainable supply chain; and aim to recycle products at the end of their operating life.
We will make our organisation fair and bring the principles from the declaration into our work from the start. To do this, we will update our Lessons Learnt logs to include notes on how well our projects supported a just energy transition. We will also engage with our members and wider BEC audience on how successful we have been in adhering our commitment to the declaration.