Women and men leave different ecological footprints. They approach environmental issues and sustainability in different ways. Their preferred means of transport vary, as do their general consumption patterns. Moreover, women in the world’s developing countries are affected more severely by climate change and natural disasters than men. These are some of the reasons why the gender dimension is being integrated into all activities forming part of the Nordic Prime Ministers’ green growth initiative.
The Nordic Prime Ministers’ desire for a shift towards greener economies is not limited to the region itself. One of the objectives of their initiative, The Nordic Region – Leading in Green Growth, is to integrate environmental and climate considerations into development aid. The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is currently exploring how Nordic development aid supports fossil fuel subsidy reform and could contribute towards greener economies in a socially responsible way.
About one third of all food for human consumption in the world – amounting to a staggering 1,3 billion tons – is wasted every year. Reducing food waste at all stages of the food value chain holds out considerable social, environmental and economic potential, which is why the Nordic Prime Ministers have decided to focus more closely on the issue.
One of today’s most pressing environmental issues is the increase in materials use and waste generation. Finding new methods to process waste and utilise it as a resource is among the Nordic Prime Ministers’ green growth priorities, and a new initiative, Resource Efficient Recycling of Plastic and Textile Waste, has just been launched. The objective is to develop Nordic waste collection and waste treatment methods, as well as new business models that contribute to green growth and can be exported to the rest of the world.
Nordsyn is a three-year programme aimed at developing Nordic cooperation on market surveillance of energy-related products. Collaborating on ecodesign challenges saves the Nordic countries time and money, while stringent requirements and effective market control stimulate environmentally friendly product development and economic growth. Nordsyn is part of the Nordic Prime Ministers’ green growth initiative.
The Nordic Prime Ministers have declared their ambition to develop common green technology norms and standards in the building sector as part of their green growth initiative. Common standards on sustainable renovation, indoor climate classification, and a greater say in European product and building declarations are expected to create new growth opportunities for the Nordic building sector.
The Nordic countries have traditionally been able to combine strong economic growth with strict environmental policies. Now, the Nordic Prime Ministers want to boost green growth in the region by co-ordinating and improving funding opportunities for green investments and companies.
The Nordic Prime Ministers have identified green public procurement (GPP) as one of eight key means of encouraging green growth. Public procurement of goods and services in the region amounts to 16-20% of GDP – a figure that clearly demonstrates the strategic value of GPP for ensuring a Nordic lead in green growth.
Taking the world lead in green growth requires that Nordic countries cooperate, be cost effective and develop innovative environmental technologies that can be exported to the rest of the world. The joint Nordic green growth project is based on eight priorities, defined by a special task force set up by the Nordic Prime Ministers.
The joint Nordic electricity market is vital in securing the balance between electricity production and demand in the region. The supply side is already well integrated through the Nordpool system. The Nordic Prime Ministers now want to focus on the market’s demand side by promoting more flexible electricity consumption, making the Nordic region leading in the EU also on this field.