Climate Action Unit


What are the Transition Labs?

4 April 2023

A brief overview of the Unit's partnership with North Star; which convenes stakeholders across a region or sector to achieve climate action.


Who is North Star Transition?

North Star Transition is an organisation which aims to change how human-social-economic systems operate so that they enable humanity and the environment to thrive.

It was founded on the principle that ‘unlikely allies’ in areas such as finance, agriculture and industry could collectively identify sector-specific solutions to climate problems, and ultimately bring about systemic change.

This applies to regions and nations too - where, for example, nature, food and wellbeing are siloed from one another other.

What are Transition Labs?

'Transition labs’ are the mechanism through which unlikely allies can meet and work together. The Lab offers a platform for individuals who are invested in the future of an area or a sector to engage, and to resolve the disconnect between the human, social and physical systems.

North Star's Director, Jyoti Bannerjee, explains:

The aim of a Transition Lab is to bring together unlikely allies across disciplines and cultures to reframe problems, identify obstacles to change, and create novel solutions.

The CAU provides facilitation expertise to the Transition Labs, with a focus on steering participants towards a solution-based approach. This method bridges the differing priorities of participants and issues facing their sector or organisation.

Live Transition Labs

There are currently four transition labs in progress:

Each lab aims to create practical solutions in their area, which can then be scaled-up or used as a framework to implement wider systemic change.

 The key difference between these transition labs and other platforms is the focus on system change. Through a process that maps the flow of resources and finance, and an identification of the current barriers, solutions can be aligned across the different sectors of society.

Looking to the future

Throughout 2023, the CAU will continue to co-create the transition lab process, bringing our unique insights on behavioural and systemic change as well as techniques that help facilitate professional discussions.

In the first two quarters of the year, our focus will be on the Wye-Usk transition lab in Wales. Over a series of workshops, we will bridge the gap between institutional investors and the need for green finance to make agriculture regenerative.