Centre programme educates Swedish trade union leaders on sustainability

Swedish Union leaders attended one training session in September and another one in October. Photo: Minda Holm/Stockholm Resilience Centre.

Representatives from twenty Swedish trade unions attend a centre-hosted course for becoming leaders in a just climate transformation

Since several years, the Centre's Executive programme has educated 75 chairmen and CEOs from Sweden's largest companies. Now, the same course is hosted for Swedish union leaders.

Among the lecturers in the course 'Trade union leadership for a fair climate transition' are Centre researcher Johan Rockström, Kate Raworth, the economist behind Doughnut Economics, Svante Axelsson, the national coordinator for Fossil Free Sweden, and several of Sweden's most prominent researchers in the field of climate science.

The initiative is part of the research program Fairtrans which deals with a fair transition to a fossil-free society in Sweden. The trade unions have a key role to play here.

"We hope to contribute with increased knowledge and ability of the Swedish unions and their 3.5 million members to help shape the transition," says Centre researcher Lisen Schultz who organizes the course.

In total, 34 trade union presidents and secretaries, including leaders of the three Swedish union umbrella organisations, take the course.

Educating unions in climate leadership can be seen as part of the Swedish labour market model in which employers' organizations and trade unions jointly negotiate wages and working conditions without government interference. Negotiations are based on dialogue and collaboration – key ingredients in social transformation.

"I am happy to see so many Swedish trade unions taking this important step together. The union movement has the potential to be highly effective in driving the transformation towards a safe climate and healthy oceans, land and atmosphere. We are in great need of leadership across all industries to ensure ongoing human development for all people within Planetary Boundaries," says Centre researcher Johan Rockström.

Fairtrans is a research program that uses civil society's experience and commitment to facilitate and accelerate a fair climate transition. Through collaboration between researchers and civil society, especially large popular movements, the program will create scientifically substantiated strategies for a rapid transformation, to ensure both social security and climate goals. The research is a collaboration between Stockholm Resilience Centre, University of Gävle, Uppsala University, Lund University and IVL Svenska Miljöinstitutet. Fairtrans is funded by Mistra and Formas.

Organizations participating in the training

  • LO
  • TCO
  • Saco
  • Byggnadsarbetareförbundet
  • Fackförbundet ST
  • Finansförbundet
  • Fysioterapeuterna
  • GS Facket
  • Handelsanställdas förbund
  • Hotell- och restaurangfacket
  • IF Metall
  • Ledarna
  • Naturvetarna
  • Scen & Film
  • Seko
  • SRAT – Akademiker i Samhällsbärande Funktioner
  • Sveriges Arkitekter
  • Sveriges Ingenjörer
  • Sveriges Psykologförbund
  • Vision
Published: 2023-10-19

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