Addressing the climate emergency while staying competitive

Exploring Nordic and British solutions to addressing the climate emergency.

Research event
26 May 2021 — 9:00AM TO 2:10PM

Green innovations and solutions are critical for decarbonizing the world’s economies and reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement. The Nordic countries and the UK have set ambitious climate targets, rank highly in the ‘Global Cleantech Innovation Index’ and host a wide range of companies that are frontrunners in sustainability.

This conference brings together policymakers, business leaders and experts to explore how Nordic and British innovations, solutions and approaches can help raise climate ambition, support the implementation of climate pledges and contribute to a global green recovery in the aftermath of COVID-19.

The event features a high-level political discussion on the international climate agenda as well as sessions on key issues like green energy solutions, decarbonizing the harder-to-abate sectors, electric vehicle roll-out and sustainable finance.

Read a meeting summary


Wednesday 26 May 2021

Welcome remarks

Pekka Haavisto, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Finland


Session 1: The international climate change agenda – Role of the Nordics and opportunities for UK-Nordic collaboration

Per Bolund, Minister for Environment and Climate and Deputy Prime Minister, Sweden
Dan Jørgensen, Minister for Climate, Energy, and Utilities, Denmark
Pekka Haavisto, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Finland
Nick Bridge, Special Representative for Climate Change, UK
Bernice Lee, Founding Director, Hoffmann Centre for Sustainable Resource Economy and Research Director, Futures, Chatham House

Chair: Dr Robin Niblett CMG, Director and Chief Executive, Chatham House

  • What are the hopes and expectations of the UK and the Nordic countries for COP26?

  • What role can the UK and the Nordic countries play in raising climate ambition, supporting the implementation of climate pledges at home and internationally and promoting a global green recovery in the aftermath of COVID-19?

  • How can UK-Nordic cooperation, and cooperation among Nordic countries, be strengthened to further climate objectives?




Session 2: Green and competitive Nordic and British solutions

The session will begin by a 30-minute plenary followed by three spotlight sessions running in parallel.

Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development Cooperation, Iceland
Helena Soimakallio, Executive Director of Sustainable Development, Technology Industries of Finland
Gjermund Løyning, Director of Politics and Public Affairs, Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise
Svante Axelsson, National Coordinator, Fossil Free Sweden

Chair: Antony Froggatt, Senior Research Fellow and Deputy Director, Energy, Environment and Resources Programme, Chatham House

 Part A – Plenary session (30 minutes) 

  • How are businesses in the UK and the Nordic countries supporting the achievement of, and aligning practices with, net-zero pledges and the 2030 targets set out in the Nationally Determined Contributions submitted by the UK and the EU?

  • What does success at COP26 look like from the perspective of Nordic and British businesses?  

  • Which Nordic and British technologies can make substantial contributions to the implementation of the NDCs and net-zero pledges both domestically and globally?

Part B – Spotlight sessions (60 minutes) 
Spotlight session 1: ‘Decarbonizing the harder-to-abate sectors’  

  • How can the harder-to-abate sectors achieve net-zero emissions?  

  • What Nordic and British solutions exist and what would it take to deploy these solutions at scale and/or in different geographies? 

Mads Peter Zacho, Head of Industry Transition, Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center For Zero Carbon Shipping
Christina Bage-Friborg, Head of Sustainability, SSAB
Helena Soimakallio, Executive Director of Sustainable Development, Technology Industries of Finland
Dr Edda Sif Pind Aradóttir, CEO, Carbfix

Chair: Professor Steve Evans, Director of Research in Industrial Sustainability, Institute for Manufacturing, University of Cambridge

Spotlight session 2: ‘Green energy solutions’ 

  • What are the opportunities and challenges of deploying renewable energy at scale?

  • What are the barriers to achieving greater energy efficiency and how can they be overcome?

  • What are the particular skillsets and geographical opportunities for Nordic and British solutions?

  • How can cooperation between the UK and the Nordics – and among the Nordic countries – be strengthened? 

Dr Sigurð í Jákupsstovu, Director, Environment Agency of the Faroe Islands
Ulrik Stridbæk, Vice President, Group Regulatory Affairs, Ørsted
Dr Nina Skorupska CBE FEI, Chief Executive of The Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology
Rikardur Rikardsson, Executive Vice President of Business Development and Innovation, Landsvirkjun

Chair: Antony Froggatt, Senior Research Fellow and Deputy Director of the Energy, Environment and Resources Programme, Chatham House

Spotlight session 3: ‘Electric vehicle roll-out’  

  • What are the main challenges and opportunities for rolling out electric vehicles (EVs) at scale?

  • What is needed to capitalize on the opportunities and overcome the challenges?

  • What can be learnt from the UK and the Nordic countries when it comes to the deployment of EVs?  

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel Kt, Minister for Investment, UK 
Christina Bu, Secretary General, Norwegian EV Association
Steven Meersman, Founder Director, Zenobe
Ellen Kugelberg, Chief Operating Officer, Einride

Chair: Dr Daniel Quiggin, Senior Research Fellow, the Energy, Environment and Resources Programme, Chatham House





Session 3: Building a sustainable financial system

Geir Olsen, State Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Norway 
Anders Langworth, Head of Group Sustainability, Nordea
Kirsty Hamilton, Associate Fellow, Energy, Environment and Resources Programme, Chatham House

Chair: Ana Yang, Executive Director, Hoffmann Centre for Sustainable Resource Economy, Chatham House

  • How can the financial sector’s contribution to a green and resilient recovery in the aftermath of COVID-19, and a successful outcome at COP26, be maximized?

  • How are Nordic and British financial actors contributing to the COP26 Private Finance Agenda and how can this work be accelerated?

  • What are the overarching trends in Europe and globally when it comes to greening the financial industry and what might happen in the next ten years? 


Concluding remarks

Wegger Chr. Strømmen, Norwegian Ambassador to the UK


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