Why is it so hard to switch to healthier diets?
We need to eat healthier and more sustainably – we know that. But why is it so hard to change behaviour? This was the topic when nearly 150 professionals gathered for a Nordic workshop to discuss and brainstorm ideas for effective measures to facilitate change, focusing on possible policies that can be implemented to improve food choices and dietary habits. The interest in the workshop “Behaviour change for sustainable food consumption” was huge and nearly 150 people from all over the Nordics gathered both physically and online to learn and discuss behaviour change in diets. For one afternoon, the participants could dive into the theme in the company of several speakers: Michael Minter (CONCITO’s Food Program), Therese Lindahl (Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics), Pierre Chandon (European Institute for Business Administration), Minna Kaljonen (Finnish Environment Institute), Alexander Dubois (Formas) and Rasmus Lillelund Lovring and Jeppe Deleuran Kristensen (Aarhus municipality). Less meat and more plant-based meal options We are facing several sustainability challenges. Four out of nine planetary boundaries are already crossed: biodiversity, biochemical flows, land use and climate change. In the future, we must feed more people on less land. The single most important transformation is shifting diets. This was highlighted by Michael Minter from the think tank CONCITO. The key elements in the food transition are eating less meat and dairy, eating more vegetables and fruits and introducing new plant-based products. The key drivers in the shift are research, education, opinion-building, retail, the food industry and agriculture. When shifting to more sustainable and healthy diets, we must also focus on a just transition. Minna Kaljonen from the Finnish Environment Institute highlighted that the broad societal changes needed will have significant social, economic and cultural effects. Some changes might seem unfair to the farmers and the consumers. “The societal discussion space…
Nordregio presented during EU seminar on the green transition
The Swedish Presidency of the Council of the European Union hosted a seminar on the 23rd of March, focusing on skills for the green transition for a competitive Europe. Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio Timothy Heleniak was invited to present at the session. The event gathered 150 participants involved in various aspects of education, adult learning, life-long learning, and skills for the green transition from all over Europe. Mats Persson, the Swedish Minister of Education, opened the seminar and highlighted the changing and growing needs in the labour market to achieve Europe’s green transition. “The green transition can only succeed if the European Union has the qualified labour that is needed. Between 2015 and 2021, the labour shortage in sectors considered key for the green transition doubled. This year, The European Year of Skills aims to strengthen competencies and skills needed for the green transition.” Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, focused on the opportunities arising from the green transition. “The green transition could create up to 1 million additional jobs in the EU by 2030. But for that, the right policies need to be in place.” There is a skill gap within the EU, with around 800 000 trained workers needed for the battery section. There is also a demand for experts in renewable energy. “We need to act upon these skills shortages. Our ambitious target is that 60 per cent of adults should participate in training by 2030.” Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio Timothy Heleniak gave a presentation in a session titled ‘Supplying scarcely populated areas with competencies needed for sustainable growth and development’, based on his fieldwork last year in Norrbotten, Sweden, and the green transition there.
- 2023 March
- Green transition
- Labour market
- Rural development
Explore the Nordic Region’s borders from the 16th century until today
Today, on Nordic Day, we celebrate Nordic cooperation, which includes Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden as well as the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland. This year marks 61 years since cooperation was made official through the Helsinki Agreement – popularly called the Nordic constitution. The cooperation was created in the years after the Second World War, among other things with the aim that the Nordic countries should together create security and preserve democracy and peace. The collaboration has grown over the years and today handles many political areas, with the aim that the Nordic Region will be the world’s most sustainable and integrated region by 2030. This year, Nordic Day is held in the shadow of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, a war that has significant consequences for the whole world, not least for the Nordics. War and peace have always formed the borders of the Nordic region. In our new interactive map tool, you can explore the changing borders and political landscapes of the Nordic Region from the 16th century up to today. From Thule, the Kalmar Union and Sámi – to today’s Nordic Region. Over the past 500 years, the region we know today has been known under many names. Now you have the chance to gain a deeper understanding of our region. Let Nordregio guide you on a journey through time with our interactive map service. Start exploring today to discover the rich and complex history of the Nordic Region.
- 2023 March
Which electric aviation routes would be most beneficial in the Nordics?
Nordregio launched the accessibility study that identifies over 200 routes in the Nordics in which electric aviation would shorten the travel time by at least 1,5 times, compared to the same route by car or public transport! A Norwegian fisherman Bjørn has just returned to Tromsø after his winter fishing in Andenes. It was supposed to take around 7 hours by car to bring the Atlantic cod home, but since the winter conditions were not the best, it took him much longer than expected. If there were an electric plane route connecting Andenes and Tromsø, the travel time and distance would shorten significantly (from nearly 500km to around 100km), and the environmental impact of such a trip would be reduced. The Nordic region shares many similar accessibility challenges for remote and rural regions. The geographical characteristics of some of these areas, such as large bodies of water, vast forest areas, long coastal lines, mountain ranges and fjords mean that they would experience a significant reduction in travel time using airplanes compared to other modes of transport, such as car, bus or train. About the project This accessibility study is a part of the project “Electric Aviation and the Effect on Nordic Regions”, which aims to investigate how regions and local areas in the Nordic area will be affected by the implementation of electric aviation. The study analyses effects on the local communities, labour market, environment and climate, and the need for developing infrastructure and policies.
Co-creating rural futures in Europe
The SHERPA annual conference was organised in Montpellier, France, at the end of January and focused on co-creating rural futures. It is the last year of the project, and one challenge for the researchers is to capture and utilise the huge amount of knowledge and good suggestions produced at the local level. SHERPA (Sustainable Hub to Engage into Rural Policies with Actors) is a four-year project (2019-2023) with 17 partners funded by the Horizon 2020 programme. The unique thing about the SHERPA project is how it works with the local stakeholders, generates policy-relevant research together at the local level, and delivers information to the EU level. Nordregio is a partner in the SHERPA project and steers the work of several of these Multi-Stakeholder Platforms (MAPs). The MAPs have identified local threats and challenges to living and working in ways that will enable transitions towards climate neutrality and opportunities that could be created and pursued. At the moment, Nordregio is working with MAPs in Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Estonia, which are all in the process of preparing their position papers on how to empower rural areas in multi-level governance processes. Each MAP chooses an area of relevance for their region that highlights main issues and suggestions for solutions. Senior Research Fellow Leneisja Jungsberg and Research Fellow Hilma Salonen are part of the Nordregio SHERPA team. During the conference, Jungsberg and Salonen learnt that the MAPs had similar experiences of the most pressing rural issues now, despite huge geographic, political and social differences. “The SHERPA project is facing a challenge that all research projects and institutions can relate to. How to capture and utilise the huge amount of knowledge and good suggestions that we have produced at the local level? New, more systemic approaches would be needed to reach this aim and…
- 2023 February
- Rural development
New Secretary General Karen Ellemann visits Nordregio
“Just going up the stairs, gives a great impression – I love to see maps, how you visualise all the research projects that you do,“ says Karen Ellemann, new Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers, on her first visit to Nordregio. Karen Ellemann started her new prime position on the 2 of January 2023. She has previously been Minister of Social Affairs and Minister of Nordic Co-operation in her native Denmark, and also a member of the Nordic Council. During her first 100 days as Secr. General, she aims to visit and familiarise herself with all Nordic institutions across the Nordic countries. “It is my first priority, to get to know the Nordic family, to listen, and get smarter. And strengthen the cooperation between us all,” Ellemann adds. Nordregio’s research spans a variety of topics within regional development, including timely issues such as green transition, rural service provision, competence mobility, and social inclusion. Karen Refsgaard, Research Director at Nordregio, presented the institute and its role in the Nordic Cooperation Programme for Regional Development, coordinating and conducting research for three thematic groups of policymakers within urban, rural and regional development. Senior Research Fellows Carlos Tapia, Nora Sánchez Gassen and Anna Lundgren then presented our current portfolio of green transition projects, all aiming for inclusion. See more information about the projects here: https://nordregio.org/research-topics/green-transition/# As final remarks, Karen Ellemann highlighted her ambition for the coming years: to create a stronger and more solution-oriented Nordic collaboration and succeed in communicating the results and impact of this work. “We need to focus on output, improve our Nordic storytelling, and remove the most harmful obstacles against the common Nordic labour market,” she concluded.
- 2023 January
- Nordic Region