Communication for Sustainable Development

Sustainable resource extraction in Greenland

The inherent conflict between environmentally sound exploitation of minerals and other natural resources in Greenland and the need for the country’s economic development and jobs is the focus of a new study undertaken by ETUI senior researcher Béla Galgóczi at the request of the Council of Nordic Trade Unions (NFS).

The paper takes as its starting point the new global race for natural resources and looks at the main social and environmental opportunities and risks of the upsurge of resource extraction in Greenland as a result of climate change.

By looking at the existing academic literature on other mining conflicts, the author of the report tries to identify “what priorities the social partners in Greenland need to keep in mind in order to minimize the risks of large-scale resource extraction”.

The report puts forward the following recommendations:
  • ensure the highest level of transparency throughout the investment cycle;
  • have strict and comprehensive labour regulation, based on equal rights for domestic and foreign workers, and a high level of health and safety provisions;
  • withdraw or modify proposed amendments for Greenland’s so-called ‘large-scale law’, which would put in place lower employment standards for foreign employment.

The NFS intends to use this report as an input to the discussion within the trade union movements in the Nordic countries, on how to work on issues regarding climate change and environment, in relation to core areas like jobs and growth.

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