While the climate crisis worsens, the so-called ‘green transition’ is producing tensions and uncertainty for many, deepening divisions and conflicts: factories are shifting to electric production, coal mines are threatened with closure, and energy efficiency improvements are transforming an already-strained housing sector. Different rules and regulations are producing new ‘green hierarchies’ among countries and sectors, fostering further class fragmentation and the outsourcing of production. Paradoxically, all this seems to pit demands for a decarbonised society against workers’ interests. How do we bring together the frame of “workers’ interests” with environmentalism?

The greatest trick that the ruling class has achieved is cementing the notion of “personal carbon footprints”. Reducing plastic bag use, buying paper straws, purchasing electric cars, taking fewer flights, paying an extra pound to offset your carbon footprint, buying emerging products with lower carbon footprints like “plant-based” meat and dairy low carbon recipes and dietary changes, or taking the veganuary challenge: each has been presented as a solution to the crisis. Common to all these so-called “solutions” is a focus on consumer patterns, which seeks to justify the neoliberal myth of a consumers’ democracy. Purchasing choices are the only space where individual power is exercised and where individual responsibilities are assigned.

Meanwhile, the “hidden abode” of production remains invisible, misplacing both power and responsibility alike. It is precisely here where our collective power lies, as the reproduction of value rests on the continual exploitation of wage labour. For this reason, we need to move away from consumption and look at production. We must start the transformation from there. This shift not only helps us properly understand the meaning of corporate responsibility often employed to challenge the individual responsibility of consumers’ behaviours. Most importantly, it restates class struggle as a central component of a green transition, a potential for collective power, forcing us to grapple with the complexities that this process entails.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Questions we want to answer:

  • How will work change in the transition to the green economy? What will this change mean for workers?
  • Why should we see the workplace as a key site of the struggle against climate change? What does this mean for how we organise in workplaces?
  • Does stopping climate change mean there will be less production in general and less work?