Guidance and practical support for cities to create good, green jobs and become more equitable, resilient and sustainable

A green and just transition is C40’s vision for a greener, healthier and more prosperous future for everyone, everywhere. C40’s research shows that the transition to a just economy with good, green jobs is critical for C40 cities to contribute their fair share towards reducing emissions and limiting global heating to 1.5°C. 

By investing in climate solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make cities more resilient, city leaders can mitigate climate breakdown, deliver health benefits and tackle systemic inequality. Green jobs will help create healthier, fairer communities with lower unemployment and rejuvenated economies that are no longer tied to fossil fuels.

How can cities achieve a just transition? 

We set out to answer this question in C40’s latest resource: Achieving the just transition: A toolkit for city leaders across the globe. Using learnings from C40’s global network, with case studies from cities in various economic and political contexts, the toolkit covers the seven essential pillars of achieving a just transition:

  1. Bold and committed city leadership
  2. Economic landscape and needs assessment
  3. Inclusive, diverse stakeholder engagement
  4. Advocacy and coalition building
  5. Initiatives to restructure and democratise the economy
  6. Measurable goals, milestones, and tracking mechanism
  7. Enlisting resources and lasting funding streams for just transition

Exploring city action to achieve a just transition

Strong leadership at the city level is crucial to success in driving a just transition. In 2020, under the leadership of C40 Chair and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, London launched its Green New Deal, which focuses on putting the environment at the centre of London’s COVID-19 recovery plan to attract new investment, create skilled local jobs, and foster economic growth.

View of Primrose hHll, London
© Getty Images

The initiative simultaneously addresses local air pollution and climate risks while alleviating environmental inequalities and improving residents’ quality of life, particularly for marginalised communities. By investing in green jobs, supporting clean tech businesses, and prioritising diversity, London’s Green New Deal showcases the city’s commitment to a just and sustainable transition.

Authentic and well-structured engagement with workers is essential for a just transition that leaves no one behind. Accra recognised that about 80% of its workforce operates in the informal sector, with 30% working in waste management. The city sought to improve its waste management practices and to better engage the informal waste-picker community to support efforts to achieve a just transition. Through direct engagement, social dialogue, and collaborative approaches, Accra effectively improved communication with informal workers and incorporated their perspectives. The pilot project showcased the importance of stakeholder engagement, trust-building, stakeholder mapping, needs assessment, and capacity development for fostering local leadership and ongoing dialogue within the informal waste sector.

© C40

Cities need a data-driven approach, combining quantitative and qualitative analysis, to tackle climate and equity challenges effectively. The City of Vancouver approved its climate action plan in November 2020, setting a target to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2030. As part of the plan, the city’s economic development agency published the ‘Just Transition: Best Practices for a Just Transition in Vancouver’ report,  an in-depth analysis of the city’s labour market context and ongoing market transitions within the two largest emitting sectors. Informed by the findings and in coordination with the city’s Climate Equity Working Group, the city is setting up a Just Transition Council to strengthen shared governance with unions and workers, employers, communities and many others; improve equitable access to jobs for marginalised communities; and conduct further analyses on the needs of impacted workers.

Go to to discover how C40 and our mayors are supporting the just transition, by creating #GreenJobsNow and more equitable, resilient and sustainable cities for all.

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