A climate decade for good quality jobs

In this era of truly global crises, we need a common response that tackles climate change and inequality together, so that everyone, everywhere can thrive for generations to come. This must be the defining decade for climate action, and we can only succeed if the economic and social benefits, including the good quality jobs generated by climate action are enjoyed by all, equitably. This includes supporting communities and workers dependent on high polluting industries to find new opportunities and jobs as our economies are transformed for the future. We want a just transition. 

As mayors and trade unionists we pledge to:

  • Deliver a just transition, providing good quality jobs for all: We will work with stakeholders to define how “a just transition” applies to specific local contexts, and ensure that every climate plan delivers good quality jobs and puts equity at the heart of urban climate action, investments and procurement decisions. In particular, workers who risk losing jobs in polluting sectors must be able to find new and better opportunities.
  • Ensure people are educated and trained in the skills they will need for the future: We will work together with workers, business and academia to nurture the skills people need to access good jobs over the decade of climate action. 
  • Ensure a just transition that leaves no one behind by providing, where city powers exist, social protection and affordable access to essential public services – such as mass transit, water and sanitation, housing, healthy food – especially to frontline communities including women, communities of color, indigenous groups, and any person marginalised on the basis of their ethnicity, origin, gender or social condition.
  • Act to tackle long-standing inequalities by addressing energy poverty, improving air quality and access to green space, investing in resilient city infrastructure and, when city powers exist, enhancing social services that benefit our communities most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
  • Work together in partnership to establish just transition pathways in cities: We will work with employers in social dialogue and engage communities, young people, and national governments to design local just transition strategies.
  • Secure the investments necessary to deliver a green and just recovery: We will work together to ensure that investments and all stimulus funding directed to cities support ambitious inclusive climate action and a just transition to create a green, thriving and caring economy. We will prioritise sectors that enable a new green, thriving and caring economy to flourish, including investments in safe and abundant sustainable transport, distributed renewables, energy efficiency in buildings, green infrastructure, clean construction and the circular economy. 

While we are pioneering solutions in cities, systemic shifts at an unprecedented speed and scale are needed to support a just transition that can put us on track to deliver the Paris Agreement. Climate action in every city and every nation must be consistent with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, especially with SDG 8 to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic development, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

We call on other cities and unions to commit to leading a decade of climate action bringing forward generations of good, quality jobs – and for national governments, civil society, businesses, investors and international institutions to support their leadership in prioritizing a just transition and inclusive climate action – by joining the Race to Zero campaign and committing to:

  1. Invest in low-carbon industries, the digital transition and innovation to generate good quality  and accessible jobs for all.
  2. Ensure that all COVID-19 recovery funds and stimulus packages create a green, thriving and caring economy by prioritising investments in sustainable, climate resilient industries and infrastructures and supporting equitable access to good quality jobs for the most affected workers.
  3. Partner with cities and unions to make skills, education and training part of every job opportunity, especially for historically marginalised groups.
  4. Guarantee access to social protection, healthcare and education for workers and frontline communities in the transition to net zero and climate resilient urban economies.
  5. Empower cities to locally advance a global just transition by enabling the development of local and regional economic and industrial strategies through devolution of powers and dedicated funds. 
  6. Establish social dialogue and inclusive participatory processes that engage governments, unions, employers, urban residents to co-design and deliver climate action and just transition plans, decarbonization strategies, and net zero industrial policies.


Accra, Austin, Barcelona, Glasgow, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Milan, Phoenix, São Paulo, Seattle, Tshwane; and Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation.