ITUC World Congress: Union honoured for contribution to climate justice

The 2022 Dorje Khatri award for Climate Justice has been awarded to LO Sweden, the Swedish Confederation of Trade Unions.

Through social dialogue, LO Sweden has worked with major Swedish companies, such as SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall, to develop industrial processes free from 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 for the world. Putting energy intensive industrial sectors on a pathway to zero-emissions is one of the biggest challenges of our time. This kind of work to build a just transition for working people through social dialogue between their unions and the employers is what is creating quality, climate-proof jobs.”

LO Sweden and the companies started working on the ‘green steel’ project in 2017. The president of LO at the time was Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson: “This project is good for everyone: It produces fewer climate-changing emissions, but it creates more good quality long-term jobs and the working conditions are much better when you take coal out of the process. And the company like it because the order books are full and they’re investing in three new, coal-free steel mills. This is a win, win, win project”, he said.

The award was founded in 2014 in memory of Dorje Khatri, president of Nepal’s Sherpa trade union, and vice-president of GEFONT, who was tragically killed in an avalanche on Mount Everest (Chomolungma), April 2014. He worked tirelessly to highlight the need for climate action and the award recognises those who continue his work for climate justice. A list of previous winners is here.