Can local value creation induce a sense of justice during green transitions? A study of six rural areas in Denmark, Finland, and Norway
Nordic rural areas risk alienation due to top-down green transition measures that often overlook their unique needs and challenges. This report suggests early local engagement, transparent communication, and regional ownership of energy projects can foster trust, ensure equitable benefits, and better integrate projects with local aspirations. The accelerating impacts of climate change, the need to adapt to changing economic and political realities, and the recent energy crisis have made the green transition something that most Nordic citizens acknowledge. However, especially rural areas and their communities are at risk of being reduced to passive instruments of national green transition measures featuring heavy land-use. These conditions make it very difficult to create a sense of justness in green transitions, leading to growing sense of alienation and resentment and putting the national climate goals in danger. From this starting point, the case studies of the research project “Just Green Transition on Rural Areas: Local Benefits from Value Creation” set out to examine what kind of benefits would generate value from green transition measures in the direct impact zone of new energy projects. The case studies took place in three Nordic countries and six locations: in Northern Ostrobothnia and Northern Central Finland of Finland, involving wind power and land use planning; in Nord-Fron and Nord-Odal in Norway, involving both wind power and strategic sustainability work; and in Skive and Bornholm of Denmark, involving a hybrid mix of renewable energy sources in the context of industrial park development. The results highlight the importance of local involvement and trust in green energy transitions in Nordic rural areas. Neglecting local needs can cause resistance to renewable projects. Early engagement, transparent communication, and ensuring local benefits are vital. While monetary benefits attract attention, relying solely on them can create community divisions. A blend of community engagement, environmental benefits,…
Integrating climate in macroeconomic modelling: A Nordic perspective
This policy brief summarises key messages from a webinar series hosted by the Integrating climate in macroeconomic modelling (ICMM) project during the second half of 2022 and the first half of 2023. The main goal of the project was to foster discussions about a new generation of fair and cost-effective climate policies and how relevant integrated macroeconomic models are in the process. Additionally to find collaboration opportunities between experts and policy makers from countries within and outside the Nordics. In the wake of recent climate policy discussions at the EU, Nordic and national levels, the webinars were designed to grow expert and policy-planning knowledge and expand networks among model developers and model users from different Nordic countries. More than 100 experts and policy makers with different backgrounds and profiles have participated in the six technical and policy workshops organised by the project. Ultimately, the ICMM project strives to enhance the capacity of policymakers to develop climate policies that are both sustainable and integrated, aligning with the Nordic region’s “Our Vision 2023” ambition to become the most sustainable and integrated region in the world.
The OECD Rural Agenda for Climate Action Compendium of Best Practices: GreenLab
The GreenLab industrial park in Skive, Denmark, is a best-practice example of a circular economy model and renewable energy utilization. The park integrates renewable energy sources and enables companies to share surplus energy and resources through an intelligent grid called SymbiosisNetTM. It also focuses on turning agricultural waste into valuable resources, reducing carbon emissions, and driving regional development. GreenLab is a research facility that promotes innovation and attracts private investments. The park has created economic, social, and environmental benefits for the local community and serves as a model for green innovation and rural development. The future vision of GreenLab is to become a leading global centre for sustainable energy and expand its impact by advising other regions interested in replicating the model. This storymap was produced as a collaboration between Nordregio and the OECD Rural Agenda for Climate Action.
Healthy and sustainable food futures: Policy design for behaviour change
This brief outlines a range of interventions and measures that policymakers can implement within the Nordic food environment to encourage sustainable and healthy food choices. These interventions encompass strategies related to nudging and product design, as well as economic incentives such as implementing taxes and subsidies on specific food categories. By employing these policies, policymakers can effectively govern the food environment and facilitate a shift in consumption patterns towards healthier and more sustainable options.
The Role of 5G in the Transition to a Digital and Green Economy in the Nordic and Baltic Countries: Analytic Report
The report provides an overview of the status of 5G roll-out and its industrial uptake in the Nordic-Baltic region. The aim is not only to present the roll-out status across the region but also to put these insights into a broader political and technological context. The report describes some of the most relevant testbeds and policy initiatives, provides examples of successful and promising use cases, and highlights existing strengths and ongoing challenges in the Nordic-Baltic region. Juxtaposing these against established goals emphasises areas for possible future cooperation and knowledge exchange between the Nordic and Baltic actors to encourage sustainable innovation and competitiveness across the region. The report reveals notable variations in the progress of 5G coverage among the Nordic-Baltic countries. Denmark and Finland have made significant strides and surpassed the European Union average regarding 5G coverage, while other countries still face challenges in catching up. Despite the presence of numerous 5G activities, such as testbeds and innovation hubs, a considerable number of initiatives remain in the testing and prototyping stage. The report indicates that the full potential of 5G for innovation and competitiveness in the Nordic-Baltic region has yet to be fully realised. With the accelerated digitalisation brought by 5G, the importance of cyber security considerations increases. As 5G networks increase electricity demand, it is essential to consider the environmental footprint and societal effects of their rollout. While 5G has immense potential, it necessitates significant adjustments in various areas, including network infrastructure, systems, applications, data ethics, privacy, and workforce implications. Challenges related to social inclusion further underscore the importance of cooperation and synergy across the region. The report highlights the need for increased knowledge exchange, the formulation of common roadmaps, and the establishment of guidelines to promote harmonised 5G deployment. Collaborative efforts among stakeholders are crucial for maximising the benefits…
Competence mobility: How can labour market mobility in the Nordic Region be increased?
It has been possible to work in another Nordic country since the establishment of the joint Nordic labour market in the 1950s. Nevertheless, only 1.7% of the working-age population work in a different Nordic country from the one in which they were born, and only 0.5 % commute to a job in another Nordic country. This is below the EU average of 1%. This story map examines why people choose to work in another Nordic country and why not. Welcome to explore facts about the Nordic labour market mobility and stories of people experiencing Nordic labour market mobility in Greater Copenhagen, Greenland and Vestfold Telemark.
How can labour market mobility in the Nordic Region be increased?
In this policy brief, we provide recommendations to the Nordic policymakers that would ultimately help achieve the Nordic vision – to be the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030. This policy brief is based on the research project Re-start competence mobility in the Nordic Region, which is part of the regional co-operation programme and the “Green, Innovative and Resilient Regions” thematic group funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers.
Facilitating cross-border transport infrastructure planning in the Nordic Region
This publication analyses the formal and informal barriers to developing cross-border transport infrastructure and how these barriers could be reduced. Transport infrastructure, historically, has been a cornerstone for industrialisation, economic growth, regional development and labour market mobility in the Nordic Region. Despite the ambitious Nordic vision of becoming the most integrated and sustainable region in the world and the increasing need for cross-border transport infrastructure, several studies point to difficulties and challenges regarding the Nordic cross-border transport infrastructure planning. The study features interviews with planners on their practical experiences and suggestions for developing well-functioning transport infrastructure. The study includes cases of the fixed HH link between Helsingborg and Helsingør; the Stockholm-Oslo rail link; and the link from Mo i Rana, via Hemavan and Umeå, across the Kvarken Strait to Vaasa. 20 June: How can cross-border planning of the transport infrastructure be strengthened in the Nordic region? The Nordic cross-border transport infrastructure planning topic will be discussed in the webinar organised by Trafikverket on 20 June. Anna Lundgren, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio, and the project manager, will present the study, cross-border challenges and opportunities. The study and planning practices will be discussed by Stefan Engdahl, Planning Director, Maria Öberg, Strategic planner at Trafikverket, and Maria Stockhaus, Member of the Swedish Parliament, member of the Transport Committee and the Nordic Council’s Swedish delegation. The event will be held in Swedish. Registration is open by 20 June. About the project This report is the second and final report in the project titled NORDINFRA – “Nordic transport infrastructure planning – institutional barriers and opportunities for coordination” (Nordisk transport infrastrukturplanering. Institutionella hinder och möjligheter till samordning) (2021-2023). NORDINFRA is a research project led by Nordregio and conducted by researchers from Nordregio and Umeå University, financed by the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket). The aim of…
Overview of Electricity and Energy Capacity for the Establishment of Electric Aviation Routes in the Nordic Region
This report explores which routes in the Nordic Region will be suitable for establishing electric aviation according to two factors: energy demands of airports and regional power adequacy. The report is part of the Nordregio project Electric aviation and the effects on the Nordic Regions and substantially builds on the project’s Accessibility study. The Accessibility study identified 203 airports in the Nordic Region as feasible for accommodating electric aviation, on the basis of savings in transport time, connecting rural areas with urban or other rural areas, and overcoming cross-water distances or other geographical obstacles. It is impossible to clarify the energy capacity and infrastructure adequacy of all 203 airports within the scope of this report. Consequently, a regional perspective on the power adequacy is applied for the report assessments. This will assist in the selection of reasonable case studies, which will be explored in the next stages of this project, for the first generation of electric aviation in the Nordic Region. It is important to emphasise that power conditions and connections of local distribution grids differ within regions, as does the energy demand of airports. Standard conditions of battery electric airplanes, power demands, and charging infrastructure are described in the following chapters, with an aim to understand requirements for power capacities and infrastructure to adequately support electric aviation.
Electric Aviation Outlook in the Nordics
Regarding geographical accessibility questions, the five Nordic countries stand out in Europe due to their low population density, geographic variety including fjords, lakes, and mountains but also the prominence of sustainable energy sources. Before this backdrop, electric aviation holds the potential to make the region’s transport sector more sustainable while helping to overcome regional development and accessibility challenges, particularly in rural areas. The introduction of electric airplanes in local transport networks promises the reduction inter alia greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. While several options to achieve zero- or low-emission aviation are currently being developed, this report focuses primarily on the electrification of aviation. Yet, electric aircraft still face several technical and economic challenges, including limited range and passenger capacity. Despite these limitations, this working paper highlights a heightened interest in the introduction of electric aviation, exploring the existing situation, challenges and knowledge in the 5 Nordic countries.
Implementing Electric Aviation: Critical Factors and Relevant Policy Instruments
The Nordic countries have ambitious plans to turn electric aviation into a reality in the Nordic countries in the near future. This working paper describes some critical factors that might challenge the further development and establishment of low and zero-emission aviation in Nordic countries. A special focus will be placed on purely electric aviation solutions. The publication is based on a literature review comprising first and foremost reports published in recent years in the Nordic countries, resulting from in-depth studies on low and zero-emission aviation in the region. It further presents possible policy instruments which could serve the creation of a Nordic policy framework to help address the identified challenges and support the implementation of electric aviation and other solutions in the Nordic countries.
Essential Service Provision and Access to Services in Nordic Rural Areas
This policy brief explores the challenges facing service provision in Nordic rural areas due to societal and demographic changes, climate change, and globalization, and highlights the need for adapted approaches to service provisions. The policy brief analyses essential service needs and solutions to rural service provision challenges in the Nordic region through case studies and workshops. The publication finds that these changes have a broad impact on rural service provision beyond traditional welfare services, with some gaps still existing. Financial constraints and labour shortages remain major issues in rural service provision. The policy recommendations include providing better guidance and resources for prioritizing delegated tasks at the national level, supporting remote working opportunities, establishing a service fund for local investments, assisting regions in adapting services to climate change, and recruiting people from abroad to combat financial restraints and labour shortages at the local level. Additionally, the recommendations suggest utilizing local and regional strategic planning tools, encouraging dialogue between different levels of government and local businesses, and enhancing collaborations between regions and municipalities. Finally, the policy recommendations emphasize delegating tasks to local levels for optimal efficiency.
Nordic economic policy review 2023
This issue of Nordic Economic Policy Review explores the implications of new EU-wide climate policy in the Nordic countries. All of them have introduced more ambitious targets for abatement than the EU, but are the national targets and measures consistent with the EU’s new Fit for 55 package? If not, how should national policies be made consistent with EU policy? EU directives set targets for national climate policy, but member states are free to choose the means of achieving them. Are national measures to meet targets set by EU directives efficient? If not, how can they be made so? What are the costs and benefits of national climate policy aiming for more stringent targets than those under Fit for 55? We have put these questions to experts on the economics of climate policy in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.
Innovation Dynamics in Wood Construction in Sweden and Finland
The rapid developments in wood-construction and the huge expectation built around the potential of ‘greening’ the construction sector by replacing concrete and steel with wood provide our empirical ground to study the drivers of innovation. This publication provides the results of a case study on the construction sector transformation process triggered by the emergence of wood-based construction in Sweden and Finland, particularly of multi-storey buildings. We especially aim at reconstructing the micro-processes leading to innovations and breakthroughs in the market. Interviews with a variety of stakeholders have contributed to a reconstruction of a historical overview of some of the main events and drivers decisive for the industry’s development, from far past industrial and policy-driven steppingstones to more recent developments. In our analysis, we zoom into the more granular microprocesses that become evident when examining the interactions between actors within and beyond their formal roles. The publication is one of the outcomes of the project titled “Systems perspectives on Green Innovation (GRINGO)” that explores the bottlenecks to innovation and the green transition from a systemic perspective. The project focuses on uncovering the links between agency and innovation, particularly regarding the role of different ‘change agents’ in driving transition processes. The previous step of the project consisted on exploring key concepts, their application, and their theoretical foundations within innovation and policy traditions. It concluded in the Discussion Paper: A conceptual review on the systems perspectives on green innovation, published in September 2022. The paper touches upon the academic discussion that has developed around the drivers of innovation. The debate breaks away from the simplistic structure-agency divide, which attributes causality either to structures (rules-of-the-game) or agency (actors), to consider the complex interplay between actors, formal and informal institutions, and contextual conditions determining innovation. These theoretical perspectives then guided the second step of the…
The Nordic Region and the 2030 Agenda: Governance and engagement (2021-2022)
The Nordic countries have continuously ranked at the top of international assessments with regards to SDG implementation. This does not mean, however, that sustainable development in the Nordic Region has been fully achieved. Each country continues to face numerous challenges, including unsustainable consumption and production patterns, the effects of a changing climate, as well as rebalancing our societies after multiple crises marked by the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing recovery, energy supply shortages in Europe and the war in Ukraine. This report describes central policy decisions, actors and national structures in ongoing SDG work, and highlights inspiring examples of national networks and societal participation. Where information about more recent action has not been available, other supplementary aspects have been added, hence overlaps in the national chapters occur. The publication follows the report The Nordic Region and the 2030 Agenda from 2021, which looked at the ways in which national structures, action plans, monitoring and reporting along with international efforts for the SDGs took place across the region. Since the nature of this work changes in the respective countries from year to year, the purpose of this edition is to update and compile an overview of the 2030 Agenda efforts in the Nordic Region with relevant and accessible information. New to this edition are the sections on regional and local activities, work which lies at the core of accomplishing the global goals and targets, while also strengthening the Nordic countries’ leadership and grassroots involvement, leaving no one behind.
Scaling up Nordic impact through public procurement
In 2019, it was estimated that, of 5,000 Nordic start-ups, 10% included solutions that addressed the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, many of them struggled to make a profit, especially at the early stages and mostly due to a lack of access to the market and to the right supporters. Considering this, Nordic Innovation has funded this desk study for mapping barriers and enablers of impact start-ups through public procurement. This publiction consists of two sections: The first part addresses barriers to public procurement, enablers for social innovation, and institutional support measures. In part two, we evaluate how Nordic municipalities use alternative financial models such as social impact bonds (SIBs) and public-private partnerships to achieve social impact. The content is developed from the perspective of impact start-ups and entrepreneurs, institutions, public-private partnerships, and impact investors. Each perspective considers the barriers and enablers for impact start-ups according to their spheres of action. By reviewing the existing obstacles and opportunities facing impact start-ups in the Nordic Region, planners and policymakers can improve the legal framework to remove barriers and strengthen existing enablers to help impact start-ups meet societal needs.
Cross-border transport infrastructure planning in the Nordic Region – An introduction
This report aims to increase knowledge of cross-border transport infrastructure planning in the Nordic Region. The project covers four Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden) and explores institutional and other challenges and opportunities associated with better and more coordinated cross-border transport infrastructure planning. The publication gives an overview of the transport infrastructure planning systems in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, with a focus on the policy goals, the main actors and their responsibilities within the transport infrastructure planning system, central elements of the planning process, analytical tools and tools for impact analysis. It is the first report in the NORDINFRA project financed by the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) and run by Nordregio and Umeå University. Its research methods consist of literature and document studies as well as interviews with stakeholders. Three Nordic cross-border transport infrastructure case studies have been selected: a new fixed link between Sweden and Denmark, namely the Helsingborg–Helsingör road and rail tunnel; an improved railway connection between Stockholm and Oslo; and the road and ferry connection from Mo i Rana in Norway, via Umeå in Sweden, to Vasa in Finland.
The owl has landed
The Icefjord Centre is a complicated building in an extreme climate. Pay a visit to the Icefjord Centre and its surroundings in the article “The owl has landed” by Kjell Nilsson and Leneisja Jungsberg, and learn more about the magnificent building in interaction with the spectacular, but at the same time vulnerable, nature that surrounds it. Nowhere in the world is climate change as significant as in Greenland. The municipality of Ilulissat has therefore inaugurated a new visitor center where you can study and experience climate change and its effects at close hand. At the same time, the building, designed by the Danish architect Dorthe Mandrup, is itself an outstanding example of the interplay between world-class architecture and a unique and magnificent natural landscape.
Accessibility study for electric aviation
Which routes in the Nordics would benefit most from using electric aviation? The accessibility study compared travel times of various routes by the electric aircraft and the fastest transport mode currently in use. This was done to understand where the implementation of electric aviation could offer the largest accessibility gains. Explore the results in the storymap. The Nordic region shares many similar accessibility challenges for remote and rural regions. Citizens in some of these regions have limited access to public services, work opportunities and the larger national and international transport system. In addition, companies and public administrations have difficulty attracting skills to the 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, limit mobility to and from these areas. Poor road quality or limited public transport also worsen the situation. Some of these places are therefore more accessible by airplane than by other modes of transport and would experience a significant reduction in travel time using airplane as compared to other modes of transport, such as train, bus or car. However, the expansion of the aviation system varies among the Nordic countries. 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. One of these aims is to understand where the implementation of electric aviation could offer the largest accessibility gains. This accessibility study will therefore investigate which routes benefit most in terms of time saved travelling from one point to another using electric aircrafts in comparison to the current fastest transport mode.
Service provision and access to services in Nordic rural areas
Service provision is one of the key factors that make rural areas attractive and viable. Recent and ongoing developments, such as migration flows, digitalisation and the effects of climate change influence service accessibility and perceptions of which services are essential for everyday rural lives. It is therefore relevant to investigate service provision and access to services from different perspectives. This report presents results based on in-depth field work in eight case studies of rural areas identified as having high access to services or as good examples in their national and regional context: Lolland, Suðuroy, Kinnula, Avannaata, Múlaþing, Herøy, Vimmerby and Geta. The aim of the field work has been to investigate service provision and validate the results of a research and policy review focusing on Nordic rural areas. The investigations presented in this report focus on the following questions: Which services are considered essential, and how does that vary in rural areas across the Nordics? How are services provided, what roles and responsibilities are involved in their provision? Which challenges are encountered, and what solutions are being developed to solve challenges associated with access to essential services in Nordic rural areas? In answering these questions based on the eight case studies, the report aims to create knowledge and inspire actors in and around the Nordic rural areas. The answers can be read as a source of inspiration in their own right. The case study descriptions also enable a cross-Nordic comparison, aimed at identifying common patterns and unique Nordic innovations regarding rural service provisions, from which others can learn. It is therefore possible to gain an overview of the report solely from the cross-Nordic comparison.