ITUC World Congress: Union honored for contribution to climate justice
Through social dialogue, LO Sweden has worked with large Swedish companies, such as SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall, to develop industrial processes without carbon dioxide emissions. For example, last year the partnership led to the production of the world’s first fossil-free iron and steel.
Speaking at the 5th ITUC World Congress in Melbourne, Australia, Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said: “What LO Sweden has done is an inspiration to the world. Putting energy-intensive industrial sectors on the path to zero emissions is one of the greatest challenges of our time. This kind of work to build a just transition for workers through social dialogue between their unions and employers is what creates quality, climate-proof jobs.
LO Sweden and the companies started working on the “green steel” project in 2017. LO’s president at the time was Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson: “This project is good for everyone: it produces less emissions that change the climate, but it creates more good quality, long-term jobs and working conditions are much better when the coal is removed from the process. And the company likes it because the order books are full and it is investing in three new carbonless steel mills. This is a win, win, win project,” he said.
The award was established in 2014 in memory of Dorje Khatri, President of Nepal Sherpa Union and Vice President of GEFONT, who was tragically killed in an avalanche on Mount Everest (Chomolungma) in April 2014. He worked without time off to highlight the need for climate action and the award recognizes those who continue his work for climate justice. A list of previous winners is here.