The Challenge

The rise of renewable energy has brought great hope for our ability to tackle the climate emergency. Scaling renewables is essential for a rapid decarbonisation of the energy system, and it has the potential to deliver positive outcomes across multiple spheres, from expanding access to affordable and clean energy, job creation, to improving the health of people and the planet.  

While renewables are markedly preferable to fossil fuel-derived energy, are renewables inherently benign? There is a genuine risk that in the rush to deploy renewables they may be scaled in a way that does not account for their environmental, social, and human rights risks. For instance, existing land uses such as agriculture may be altered with the installation of utility-scale solar, affecting livelihoods and biodiversity.  

Without adequate planning, safeguards, and mitigation measures, the scaling of renewable energy is likely to lead to greater incidence of adverse impacts. Existing business practices and laws and regulations in many regions of the world need to be fit-for-purpose to enable renewable energy to reach its fullest potential. 

Our Approach

Forum for the Future works with change actors across the renewable energy system – developers, financiers, buyers and manufacturers, civil society and community actors to scale renewable energy in ways that are socially just, ecologically safe and regenerative. Forum does this by enabling renewable energy actors to: 

  • Co-create a common vision for renewable energy to reach its full potential beyond just decarbonisation;  

  • Define the necessary conditions that must be met in order for the development and use of renewable energy to be considered just and regenerative, and support actors deploy such practices and solutions. 

  • Shape an industry-wide shift towards the need for safe and just renewable energy, and adopt business models and behaviours that contribute towards a just energy transition.

Examples of Our Work

The Responsible Energy Initiative (REI) is a multi-year programme designed to ensure utility-scale renewable energy  in Asia achieves its full potential and creates value in a way that is ecologically safe, rights-respecting and socially just.  

  • REI India: the first country inquiry launched in 2021 is driving collaborative action with industry stakeholders to define, adopt and demonstrate responsible energy practices; cultivate people-centric business models; and accelerate circular renewable energy value chains. 

  • REI Philippines: the second inquiry launched in 2023, is bringing together a group of renewable energy industry actors to identify interventions and act on developing a responsible renewable energy sector in the Philippines. 

What Our Partners Say

"As the renewables sector grows exponentially, fueled by an urgent need to meet peoples' energy needs, cost effectively and address the planet's climate emergency, it is essential that the RE sector and its allied industries act responsibly. We all need to act in ways that address energy equity, participatory governance, protect the livelihoods and ecosystems of places where RE is sited, and ensure that the full lifecycle of the RE system is safe and secure,”  Dr. Ajay Mathur, Director General, International Solar Alliance (ISA)   

Get in Touch 

Reach out to Saksham Nijhawan, India Energy Transition Lead, if you’d like to get involved in our work on safe and just renewables.