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New report charts the progress of the sustainable transition in the Nordic Region

  • Published on February 2, 2022

A new report from the Nordic Council of Ministers takes stock of the work on the sustainable transition – which seems more relevant than ever now, after a summer of extreme weather events. The report shows that the green transition remains the greatest challenge in the Nordic Region, while parameters such as social sustainability and competitiveness are edging closer to the target.

Last week, the UN Panel on Climate Change published its Sixth Assessment Report, which provides an overall assessment of climate change. The conclusion is clear, and points to the need for a rapid reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The Nordic countries have also been examining the issue, and the Nordic Council of Ministers has just published a baseline report outlining the Nordic Region’s progress on a number of sustainability parameters, including climate and the environment. The conclusion is that there is still some way to go before the Nordic Region can declare itself to be the world’s most sustainable region.

"The Nordic countries have several common challenges in sustainable development, and the Baseline Report creates a very good foundation for further work on our shared vision of making the Nordic Region the world’s most sustainable region by 2030"

Thomas Blomqvist, Minister for Nordic Co-operation, Finland

The green transition is lagging behind

The green transition is the major challenge in the Nordic countries. The report shows that greenhouse gas emissions in the Nordics are still too high, and that biodiversity is under pressure. Moreover, the report shows that the Nordic countries also face the challenge of overconsumption and overproduction. It’s not all bad news, however: When it comes to green innovation and green growth, the Nordic Region is well underway. The use of renewable energy sources, in particular, is gaining ground.

“The Nordic countries have several common challenges in sustainable development, and the Baseline Report creates a very good foundation for further work on our shared vision of making the Nordic Region the world’s most sustainable region by 2030,” says Thomas Blomqvist, Finland’s Minister for Nordic Co-operation.

Social sustainability and competitiveness are well underway

The report shows that the Nordic countries are strong when it comes to competitiveness, for example in such areas as education, research and innovation. Things are also going well in social sustainability. In general, Nordic citizens enjoy good health, a high degree of economic equality, strong social trust and a vibrant cultural life. However, the report identifies a number of challenges relating to, amongst other things, gender equality and equality between individuals in society. The Nordic labour market does not have a good gender balance, and the integration of non-EU citizens is stumbling.

The Nordic Council of Ministers gets to work

The Nordic Council of Ministers is actively working to help achieve the vision, and has amongst other things adopted an action plan outlining initiatives to support sustainable development in the Region. But the work of the Nordic Council of Ministers alone is not enough to achieve the vision; it will require action from all actors, right across the Region. Paula Lehtomäki, Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers, states:

"We have eight years to achieve the vision, so we have no time to waste. If we are to succeed in this, the whole of the Nordic region must move in the same direction. This year's climate summit in Glasgow, COP26, will be an important place to continue our co-operation across politics, business, civil society and citizens.”

About the report

In the report you can find an overview of the various indicators and details in the three strategic areas of sustainability measured by the report. The report was compiled for the Nordic Council of Ministers by Rambøll Management Consulting, and measures the progress of the work on sustainability in the Nordic countries across 45 indicators, within the three strategic priorities 'a green Nordic Region', 'a competitive Nordic Region' and 'a socially sustainable Nordic Region’.

 

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