Icelandic horses in snow

The transition to a carbon neutral society is one of the most urgent challenges facing our societies. In order for any transition to be successful, we take the view that the basic premise must be a just transition.  

The Paris agreement explicitly mentions this Just Transition. It refers to "Taking into account the imperatives of a just transition of the workforce and the creation of decent work and quality jobs in accordance with nationally defined development priorities [...]"

This means that investment in green technology, education, lifelong learning and transition support, among other things, are important in order to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, as well as for mitigating the social consequences and effect that climate policy will have on the labour market. 

Our starting point for our climate work is the Nordic Model and its three pillars: an organised labour market with cooperation between social partners who can prioritise sustainably through negotiation; economic policy which lays the foundations for necessary investments; and public welfare systems that support citizens in times of transition. 

The trade unions' self-evident place in the transition

For us, this means that the trade union movement has an obvious role to play in the green transition, through negotiations with employers as well as in policy development with governments and international bodies. Together with our member organisations we strongly encourage a green and just transition – for a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable society. 

We support the ambitions held by Nordic governments and the EU to comply with the Paris Agreement. We also support the vision held by Nordic prime ministers and the Nordic Council of Ministers that the Nordic region is to become the most sustainable, integrated region globally. This will require unprecedented social, economic and environmental transitions on a hitherto unseen scale. 

The topic of climate was given significant attention during our congress in Malmö, in September 2019. The Nordic trade union movement is an active participant in discussions on a green and just transition, and regularly submits constructive proposals and contributions to this debate, by for instance encouraging the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Nordic Council. There are several important factors to consider, of which the workers' perspective, employment and competitiveness are but a few. 

The climate is an international issue

Our members work on the climate issue in European and international fora, and the European Trade Union Confederation, the EU, the International Trade Union Confederation, the UN and the ILO are all important supranational, multilateral organisations. Global warming is per definition a challenge that is not confined by international borders, which means the solutions to it must also be transnational and multilateral. At the same time, any solutions must also be fair. In order to achieve this we cultivate deep, bilateral cooperation, most recently with the German trade union movement through Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund (DGB) and the German think tank Friedrich Ebert Foundation. More information about this can be found below, and on our project page.

The Road to a Carbon Free Society

The synthesis (2021)