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Briefing

25 Oct 2022

Investing in renewable energy to power a just transition: a practical guide for investors

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While the much-needed growth of wind and solar global capacity presents a singular investment opportunity, the renewable energy sector is far from immune to the human rights risks that have historically plagued the fossil fuel and traditional extractive industries.

Investors have the opportunity to influence the development of a renewable energy industry that respects human rights – while simultaneously securing sustainable investments, in addition to benefits for communities and a just transition to clean energy.

Drawing on Resource Centre research, this guide helps investors make better decisions for a fast and fair transition. It sets out the key human rights risks and impacts associated with the renewable energy sector today, particularly to human rights defenders (HRDs) and Indigenous Peoples - most particularly land rights and the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).

Case studies in this guide demonstrate that when human rights are disregarded, companies and their investors may face significant reputational, legal and financial risks as a result of community conflicts and project delays.

This guide provides action points for investors to:

  • Assess investee company performance on the energy transition through a human rights lens
  • Undertake human rights and environmental due diligence
  • Commit to active ownership, stewardship and engagement strategies.

Human rights abuse in the renewable energy sector

Our data on allegations of human rights abuse and attacks against HRDs in the renewable energy sector.

303

requests to 222 companies

regarding 157 individual allegations of abuse in the sector from 2010-21

31%

of allegations

in the wind sector relate to FPIC

369

attacks

recorded against HRDs raising concerns about renewable energy from 2015-21

56%

of attacks

against HRDs in the sector relate to land rights

Read our full guide for investors

Our analysis and recommendations for rights-respecting renewable energy investments

Find out more

Allegations data 2010 - 2021

Download allegations of human rights abuses in the RE sector

Investor's checklist

What questions should investors raise with renewable energy companies?

Practical steps for investors

How can investors improve their investment policies and practices?