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Annual general meeting 2011

Annual general meeting of the East Iceland Sustainability Initiative, 2011 Neskaupstaður Museum House, Friday, 13 May, 13:00 - 16:30

The agenda includes a presentation of the results from sustainability measurements, as well as a review of the indicators and the monitoring plan.

Chairing the meeting: Páll Björgvin Guðmundsson, mayor of Fjarðabyggð.


  • 13:00: Opening - Tómas Sigurðsson, managing director of Alcoa Fjarðaál - Einar Mathiesen, executive vice-precident of Landsvirkjun
  • 13:10: Description of Initiative activities in the last operating year - Guðlaug Gísladóttir Sustainability Initiative employee.
  • 13:30: Main results of measurements (Landsvirkjun og Alcoa Fjarðaál) - Georg Þór Pálsson, manager of Fljótsdalur Station - Geir Sigurpáll Hlöðversson, environmental affairs manager, Alcoa Fjarðaál.
  • 14:00: Some thoughts about the East Iceland Sustainability Initiative - Grétar Þór Eyþórsson, professor at the University of Akureyri.
  • 14:30: Review and scrutiny of indicators, group work -• Proposals from the Supervisory Board for the annual meeting to amend indicators -Discussion and group work
  • 15:00: Refreshments
  • 15:20: Review and scrutiny of indicators - group work continued
  • 16:00: Group work conclusions presented and voted on for approval
  • 16:30: Meeting adjourned

Supervisory Board members:

  • Árni Steinar Jóhannsson, environmental manager of Fjarðabyggð municipality
  • Björgólfur Thorsteinsson, president of the Icelandic Environment Association
  • Björn Ingimarsson, mayor of Fljótsdalshérað
  • Geir Sigurpáll Hlöðversson, environmental affairs manager of Alcoa Fjarðaál
  • Georg Þór Pálsson, manager of Landsvirkjun's Fljótsdalur Power Station

Minutes of the meeting

The annual general meeting of Alcoa and Landsvirkjun's Sustainability Initiative was held in the Neskaupstaður heritage museum on Friday, 13 May, from 13:00 to 16:30. Approximately 40 people registered to attend.

Addresses, presentations and a speech:

The meeting commenced with addresses by Tómas Sigurðsson, managing director of Alcoa Fjarðaál, and Einar Mathiesen, general manager of the Landsvirkjun Energy Division. The Sustainability Initiative's employee, Guðlaug Gísladóttir, summarised its 2010 activities, in addition to noting the results of several sustainability measurements. Georg Þór Pálsson, manager of Fljótsdalur Power Station, and Geir Sigurpáll Hlöðversson, general manager of the health, safety and environment team at Alcoa Fjarðaál, also reviewed measurements and trends of several sustainability measurements.. Finally, Grétar Þór Eyþórsson, professor at the University of Akureyri, discussed the East Iceland Sustainability Initiative and its value, as well as University of Akureyri Research Institute investigations into the social impact of the power plant and aluminium smelter on East Iceland.


Review and scrutiny of indicators - work groups

The Sustainability Initiative employee briefly explained why the indicators, monitoring or metrics under discussion needed reviewing. The main reasons are as follows:

  • A measurement that was to serve as a basis in the original monitoring plan is no longer being performed.
  • The monitoring plan and metrics are poorly defined.
  • A measurement to be performed was inexact or impossible to carry out.

After hearing these explanations, those attending were divided into groups to review the sustainability indicators and measurements. The conclusions of this group work may be seen here on the website under the tab "Review of indicators."

Meeting adjourned

Tómas Már Sigurðsson, managing director of Alcoa Fjarðaál, adjourned the meeting at 16:30. A PDF of the meeting minutes can be found by clicking here (Icelandic).

Review of indicators

The following documents served as a basis for group work (Icelandic only):

  1. Instructions for reviewing sustainability indicators
  2. Indicator 1.16 - Public services in nearby communities
  3. Indicator 1.20 - Cultural events on offer
  4. Indicator 2.7 - Reduction of wide open spaces.

Group 1 - Reduction of wide open spaces - Indicator 2.7

Problem: The monitoring plan and metrics are poorly defined.

The group concluded that this indicator should be retained, because the reduction of open spaces is an immensely important factor in the environmental impact of the construction project and has a major effect on the landscape. The objective of this indicator is that no further open space reductions occur which might be traced to the Kárahnjúkar power project. There is enough monitoring happening in that land area to evaluate whether there is any reason to take measures. The measurements concerning this indicator involve exclusively developments which are traceable to the man-made structures built in connection with the power plant. Landsvirkjun is responsible for monitoring this indicator and is supposed to present information on developments every five years. Ideally, other undertakings which might affect open spaces in this particular area should be presented under this indicator too; indeed, a large part of the area is covered by the preservation plan of Vatnajökull National Park.

The Supervisory Board was requested to follow up the conclusions of this work group, figuring out how to perform the monitoring and measuring in cooperation with Landsvirkjun

Group 2- Public services in nearby communities - Indicator 1.16-a - Resident satisfaction with health services

Problem: The Directorate of Health in Iceland has stopped performing this survey.

The work group concluded that both the indicator and the measurement of outcomes on this issue are important. As a basic service integral to social infrastructure, quality health care is important for area residents. The group proposes that the companies sponsoring the Sustainability Initiative carry out an annual area survey on the issue. Alcoa has in fact asked residents about their satisfaction with area services for several years. Instead of the survey question asking about services in general, the group therefore proposes that the question be divided into several categories, asking for instance about health care, hospitals, etc.

However, there are obstacles to this proposal, namely that each question in the annual survey currently carried out costs tens of thousands of krónur. The Supervisory Board was requested to work on the group's proposal, examining expenses and the means of performing measurements.

Group 3 - Cultural events on offer - Indicator 1.20

Problem: This measurement is imprecise, with the results being based on the subjective judgement of the party gathering the information. The meaning of "cultural event" is stated plainly in the monitoring plan.

The conclusion of the work group was that this indicator is highly important for the Sustainability Initiative, and there is a clear need to gauge the trends in some manner. The difficulty in defining "cultural event" was discussed, with the group determining that for this question a satisfaction index is a better method of measuring than the counting of advertised events. Rather than having a strict definition of "cultural event", the group proposes that the respondents be allowed to decide in their own minds what it is, without needing any precise definition.

Thus the question might sound like this: "How satisfied are you with the cultural events on offer in this area?" The respondents would then have the chance to describe their satisfaction in a way that is measurable but uses a subjective judgement that does not require any definition of the term "cultural event".

One point raised about this measurement is that it would be possible to find out about participation in cultural events, not just the offering of them.

The Supervisory Board was assigned to implement this measurement, though no decision was made about surveying participation in cultural events.

Group 4 - Public services in nearby communities - Indicator 1.16-b - Resident satisfaction with public services

Hópur 4: Hugmyndir um opinbera þjónustu

Problem: This measurement has never been carried out before, even though Alcoa has for several years asked residents in its opinion polls simply about their satisfaction with "services".

While the group concurred on retaining the monitoring for this indicator, they felt it was important to define what "public services" are. Thus the group brainstormed about what public services are, and proposed that new metrics be clarified, using for instance the ideas flow chart. Attention was called to a survey that was part of a master's project at the University of Akureyri and demonstrated that the cultural events, recreation and entertainment on offer are influential factors in decisions by residents to move out of this region. For its part, the annual meeting decided to refer continuing work on determining the new metrics and on implementing the measurement of this indicator to the Supervisory Board. The Board will itself consider whether it is proper to engage the academic community or a special consultant for participation in this task.

Attendance list

Name Institution, company or association
Anna Björk Hjaltadóttir Alcoa Fjarðaál
Aníta Júlíusdóttir Landsvirkjun
Aðalsteinn J. Halldórsson Þekkingarnet Þingeyinga
Anna Heiða Pálsdóttir Alcoa Fjarðaál
Árni Jóhann Óðinsson Landsvirkjun
Árni Steinar Jóhannesson Fjarðabyggð
Björgólfur Thorsteinsson Landvernd
Björn Ingimarsson Fljótsdalshérað
Dagbjartur Jónsson Landsvirkjun Fljótsdalsstöð
Dagný Björk Reynisdóttir Alcoa Fjarðaál
Davíð Baldursson Eskifjarðarprestakall
Einar Mathisen Landsvirkjun
Erlín Emma Jóhannsdóttir Náttúrustofa Austurlands
Geir Hlöðversson Alcoa Fjarðaál
Georg Þór Pálsson Landsvirkjun
Gerður Guðmundsdóttir Náttúrustofa Austurlands
Grétar Þór Eyþórsson Háskólinn á Akureyri
Guðlaug Gísladóttir Þekkingarnet Þingeyinga
Guðmundur Bjarnason Alcoa Fjarðaál
Guðmundur Sveinsson Alcoa Fjarðaál
Guðný Hauksdóttir Alcoa Fjarðaál
Guðrún Á. Jónsdóttir Þekkingarnet Austurlands
Gunnlaugur Aðalbjarnarson Alcoa Fjarðaál
Hákon Aðalsteinsson Landsvirkjun
Helgi Laxdal Helgason Alcoa Fjarðaál
Hilmar Sigurbjörnsson Alcoa Fjarðaál
Jón Ágúst Jónsson Náttúrustofa Austurlands
Laufey Sigurðardóttir Alcoa Fjarðaál
Olga Lísa Garðarsdóttir Verkmenntaskóli Austurlands
Páll Björgvin Guðmundsson Fjarðabyggð
Pétur Ingólfsson Landsvirkjun
Ragnheiður Ólafsdóttir Landsvirkjun
Sigurður Guðni Sigurðsson Landsvirkjun
Sigurður Ólafsson Alcoa Fjarðaál
Sindri Óskarsson Landsvirkjun
Stefanía G. Kristinsdóttir Þekkingarnet Austurlands
Tómas Sigurðsson Alcoa Fjarðaál
Valdimar O. Hermannsson Heilbrigðisstofnun Austurlands