Nordic Council Environment Prize 2019 – the runners up

The winner of the Nordic Council Environment Prize for 2019 famously said that ‘the climate doesn’t need awards’. Which is true. However, it wasn’t the climate that received the award.

Perhaps more so than ever the climate need people, people who care, who do what they can. These people, by receiving an award, will receive attention for all their hard work and again reach and inspire others to care as well. Only then will things change.

It is with this in mind that we would like to share the nominees, the runners up to the Nordic Council Environment Prize 2019. People who care.

EKOenergy international standard and labelling.

EKOenergy from Finland

EKOenergy is an international, non-profit ecolabel launched by the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation (FANC) and a network of international environmental organisations to promote the use of sustainable energy. It helps consumers and companies to choose energy that is 100% renewable and to preserve biological diversity. The license income finances environmental funds, for additional climate and biodiversity protection.

Lack of information has always been a challenge. Stricter regulations and more clear labelling is an important step for consumers to be able to choose the best option for the environment. The fact that this charity put the funds back into good causes makes it even more impactful.

Emmaus Åland – Åland

Emmaus Åland concept works for sustainable consumption and production in all its activities; selling secondhand, serving climate-smart food and giving unemployed people a new chance. The shops sell secondhand and upcycled goods, everything from toys and electronics to clothing and furniture. The restaurant offer vegetarian meals based on food waste from local shops. The kitchen waste is again converted into soil for Emmaus’ urban farming initiatives.

You can’t fault this concept, in reducing waste in every way possible. It is a great showcase as well, to inspire other efforts around the world.

Guðrun & Guðrun – The Faroe Islands

Guðrun & Guðrun is all about the sustainable use of a natural Nordic raw material and giving women greater control over their working conditions. Once regarded as waste, the Faroese lambswool and lambskin are now in demand all over the world. One of the reasons for the change is the company Guðrun & Guðrun, which has modernised a classic Nordic natural product, the knitted jumper, handmade from the wool of sheep that wander freely in the green Faroese mountains.

Gudrun & Gudrun is a pioneer in the slow fashion movement. I have been a fan for a while, with this brand first mentioned on the blog in 2012. What sets this brand apart from other knitwear brands is the way it transform something so traditional into something so cool. With the Gudrun & Gudrun jumper becoming the star of the show in the tv series ‘The Killing’ resulting that overnight, everyone found themselves longing for the durable, super warm and cosy if not slightly coarse Faroese lambswool.

GRIM – Denmark

800,000 tonnes of organic fruit and vegetables are wasted every year because their appearance makes them impossible to sell. This is what Grim (meaning ugly in danish) wanted to change, improving sustainability on both the production and consumption side, since resources, production time, land, water and so on are no longer wasted on unsellable goods. What was once considered waste now optimises the management of shared natural resources such as land and water. Grim sells the surplus products as vegetable boxes to private subscribers as well as to companies, like juice manufacturers and restaurants.

This is perhaps my personale favourite as the concept is executed so well, so simple yet with an impact, with a coolness (like only the danes can) and professional marketing that reach and appeal to many. The website is also very easy to navigate and explains very well what ‘eating grim’ is all about.

@plastic not so fantastic – Greenland

A group utilising social media to reduce plastic waste by by sharing knowledge and tips for alternatives, in particular to plastic, and seeks to change patterns of consumption that will benefit the environment and nature.

It is all community led which engage and activate consumers. I’m sure social media can do a lot more in communicating how we all can contribute.

AFTUR – Iceland

The slow fashion brand Aftur, with the slogan ‘Recycle or die!’, has since 1999 created clothing using recycled textiles. Worn by the likes of Björk and Of Monsters And Men, Aftur source its textiles from local secondhand shops as well as from sorting plants around Europe, importing it to Iceland in ways that minimise the environmental impact.

Perhaps not the most conventional brand, Aftur seems to seek to challenge and disrupt the fast fashion industry as much as it is about designing.

Find Aftur on Facebook.

Nordic Council Environment Prize, founded in 1995, goes to a company, organisation or individual for exemplary efforts to integrate respect for nature and the environment into their business or work or for some other form of extraordinary initiative.

If you could nominate an initiative that you think will make a change, for the Environment Prize – who would it be and why?

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