Overline: Focal Topic 2022/2023
Headline: Justice in Sustainability

The issue of justice is increasingly playing a greater role in the transformation towards sustainability. Calls to improve justice outcomes touch on a variety of issues, in particular the distribution of the costs and benefits of transformations as well as the burdens of climate change and environmental degradation. Other claims target procedural aspects: Who should have access to decision-making about transformation towards sustainability? A third set of justice claims focuses on recognition: Which groups are or should be recognized as rights-holders or as affected or especially vulnerable populations?

These claims arise in different fields and sectors: Countries from the Global South argue that those countries most responsible for the climate crisis should shoulder a greater burden and call for efforts to deliver equal access to energy. Matters of social justice also loom large in discussions around the coal exit and the adoption of a carbon tax.

Recent years have seen a surge of interest across the scientific community in the nexus of justice and sustainability, and the relevance of research on issues such as just transitions and equity in governance. RIFS made justice and sustainability a key focus of its activities in 2022 and 2023. Throughout the year we gathered together the diverse threads of this debate with the aim of rendering visible the various dimensions of injustice within transformations towards sustainability and developing suitable solutions.

The complex dimensions of justice in sustainability