The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirms that global temperatures have already risen and that the negative consequences of climate change are being felt more and more. The level of ambition behind global attempts to halt the rise in temperatures needs to be raised quickly, with the Nordic countries acting as leaders of the transition to sustainable, circular and carbon-neutral societies. Wholesale electrification is one of the prerequisites for combating climate change and promoting the green transition. The technology already exists but the process depends on important metals and minerals. The global climate emergency has shown that society is dependent on critical raw materials used in modern technologies, e.g. rare earth metals, on how they are processed and on the products’ value chains. However, the way they are used during every part of the process must not get in the way of achieving other environmental goals.
On 25 June 2020, Prime Minister Sanna Marin presented Finland’s initiative for co-operation on security of supply to her Nordic colleagues. As part of its role as chair of most of the forms of Nordic co-operation in 2021, Finland is developing security of supply and contingency planning. It sees a sustainable and responsible supply of raw materials as one of the main pillars of a secure society.
Nordic research bodies have collated information on mineral reserves, production and the need for raw materials at national level. The potential for secondary sources of raw material sources has also been mapped out. In other words, they have identified the information need and what has to be done in the fields of research, development and innovation. We want the Nordic countries to put their efforts into co-operation and dialogue, as well as into collating information about the future so that they are able to maintain stable, traceable and responsible supplies of raw materials. We also want them to be able to prepare for any potential challenges in plenty of time. The various Nordic research communities have in-depth expertise, the deployment of which in various forms of co-operation will promote sustainable solutions and approaches. The Nordic countries are well placed to act as pioneers and promote global standards and certification systems.
According to forecasts, the global demand for raw materials will double by 2060 and sustainable supplies will be dependent on the promotion of a circular economy. The Nordic Region needs to think circularly. We ought to meet our needs in a manner that is resource efficient and consume less to achieve more.
Establishing a sustainable and circular mineral economy presupposes a continuous dialogue between the private and public sectors and at all organisational levels. The Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers has been tasked with ensuring that dialogue and exchanges of information between the Nordic countries take place within the framework of the Council of Ministers and that they focus on solutions and on the long-term.