The green transition targets climate change and aims to reduce CO2 emissions in line with the goals set out in the UN Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement (UN, 2015). It impacts not only those industries with the largest CO2 emissions, but also other sectors, the labour markets and society at large. To achieve the defined goals, it is important to leave no one behind and ensure a just green transition.
A good working life is one of the pillars of the Nordic welfare states. Key elements of the Nordic model, such as social dialogue between governments, trade unions and employers’ organisations, play a pivotal role in ensuring that the green transition is also a just transition. This is underlined by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) which has elaborated Just Transition Guidelines (ILO, 2015), referred to as a “central reference for policymaking and a basis for action” by the International Labour Conference in 2023 (ILO-ILC.111/resolution V, 2023). Social dialogue is also integral to the ILO Decent Work Agenda (ILO, n.d.).
The exchange of best practices among the Nordic countries and strengthening of social dialogue could be an enabler to achieving a just Nordic green transition based on economic growth, social justice and a steady path towards carbon neutrality. It could also be an important step towards achieving the Nordic vision of being the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030.
The Nordic Council of Ministers has launched several projects designed to increase knowledge and facilitate the green transition. One example is the work programme of the Nordic Council of Ministers for Labour aimed at ensuring availability of a skilled labour force for the green transition and supporting good working conditions. The tripartite dialogue in Iceland on 1 December 2023 “Green Transition on the Nordic Labour market: A Nordic Tripartite Dialogue” forms part of that agenda. This report sets out to provide some background and inspiration for the discussions.
In the first section, some basic knowledge about the green transition and how it impacts the Nordic countries will be provided. The second section will discuss how a just green transition can be tackled and best practice examples from around the Nordic countries will be shared. The report will end with some short final remarks.