Embracing a Just Green Transition: Insights from the Nordic Tripartite Dialogue

The Nordic tripartite collaboration faces a significant challenge: ensuring a just green transition in the region’s labour market. How are the Nordic countries tackling this? This question took centre stage at the Nordic Tripartite Dialogue for a Green Transition on the Nordic Labour market, held in Reykjavik on 1 December. Nordregio attended to present best practices as well as attitudes towards climate change across the Nordic Region.

Eyþór Árnason/Norden.org

Representatives from government, employer organisations and trade unions gathered to discuss the current status: where we are and where we’re going when it comes to the green transition on the joint Nordic labour market. The goal was to spark a dialogue on how the three parties can work together to ensure a systemic transition where no one is left behind when moving to a greener future in the Nordic Region.

The outcome of the event is stated in the Reykjavik Memorandum of Understanding – establishing the common principles and key messages aligning governments, employees, and employers.

The Challenge: Ensuring a Just Green Transition in Nordic Labour Markets

Recognising the need for a green transition, the participants collaboratively addressed challenges and embraced opportunities that come with it.

“Our job is to meet the goals of the fair green transition. That is our duty to current and coming generations”, Iceland’s minister of Social Affairs and Labour, Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, emphasised as he opened the meeting.

Nordregio’s publication, Embracing the Just Green Transition on the Nordic Labour Market, served as background and inspiration for the dialogue meeting in Reykjavik. The report offers basic knowledge about the green transition, and how it impacts the Nordic Region. It also showcases best practices from Nordic examples of how a just green transition can be tackled.

Eyþór Árnason/Norden.org

Embracing a Just Green Transition

Offering a foundation for the dialogue, Nordregio researcher Gustaf Norlén started off the first session, presenting the challenges and potential solutions posed by the transition.

The report highlights best practices from across the Nordic countries, illustrating how a just green transition can be navigated without leaving anyone behind. One key challenge highlighted in the report, was the difference between rural and urban regions – where the rural areas currently have more “brown” or polluting jobs, and urban regions host more “green” jobs. However, in the future many green industries are expected to be established in more remote areas.

While the green transition promises positive environmental impacts, there is a critical need to address potential challenges in the labour market and ensure that the benefits are shared inclusively.

Norlén also presented some key results from Nordregio’s survey report “In all fairness: perceptions of climate policies and the green transition in the Nordic Region“, released earlier this year, of the attitudes towards climate change and climate change mitigation among the Nordic Region’s inhabitants. The survey revealed that Norway, Greenland, and Finland are more worried about potential job losses due to the green transition, compared to the Nordics at large, and that 31% of the whole region believes in the creation of new jobs, following the transition.

The Nordic Tripartite Dialogue gave an overview of where we are and where we’re heading. Through presentations and panel discussions, influential voices took the stage to share insights, perspectives and learning: Snorri Hallgrímsson represented the youth and their attitudes and expectations from his role as Secretary of the Icelandic Youth Environmentalist Association, Nordic Council of Minister Secretary General Karen Ellemann highlighted the Nordic co-operation, and Cristina Martinez from ILO showcased their recent work and resolutions.

Moving Forward

Our report as well as the tripartite dialogue show that the Nordic Region is ready to take on the just green transition in a systematic and collaborative way.

As Magnus Gissler, The Council of Nordic Trade Unions (NFS), ended the event:

“This is not the beginning – the Nordic model handles challenges and changes all the time, and it is definitely not the end. But from now on – the Memorandum of Understanding is the starting point.”

Nordregio has several ongoing research projects about the green transition. Read more about them below.