Commentary: Companies must protect human rights as they transition to renewable energy

Author: Roberta Pinamoti, Business for Social Responsibility, GreenBiz, Published on: 7 October 2017

"That the "renewables rush" means for human rights", 04 October 2017

...Amnesty International and Greenpeace released a joint statement...calling on governments at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meetings to urgently shift to phase out fossil fuels through a transition to 100 percent renewable energy worldwide by 2050.

What I find noteworthy and special... is the fact that it frames the energy transition as a necessary step for the protection of human rights.

...Climate change can impact a broad range of human rights...

However, while we keep the pace of this clean transition, have we appropriately considered the human rights and social implications?

...Renewable project developers, which tend to be small and dynamic company outfits, provide us with some positive examples of effective community engagement and consultation and community investment programs (PDF), including community ownership of projects. Global energy players investing in renewables also are increasingly paying attention to human rights, for example through establishing human rights policies and increasingly integrating social and environmental considerations into energy investment decisions.

...We can find examples of company action on human rights that shows that the infrastructure sector is looking at addressing its human rights challenges in a collaborative way. These trends — and a call for the inclusion of human rights in the renewable energy agenda — are well captured in a recent study by the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre.

To help you determine which human rights are particularly relevant to you and your company, we have produced a business and human rights primer for the power and utilities industry that addresses the sector’s 10 key human rights challenges, as well as ideas for positive human rights impacts and emerging risks that you should be aware of... 

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