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Annual general meeting 2017

The 2017 annual general meeting of the Sustainability Initiative was held in the Eskifjörður Cultural Center on May 9, from 14:15 to 18:00.

Meeting chair: Gunnar Jónsson, Fjarðabyggð municipal secretary.


The Initiative has now been monitoring indicators for 10 years. An assessment of these indicators is to be set forth at the annual meeting, with particular emphasis on social indicators.



Over 50 people are participating in this annual meeting and deciding on a submitted amendment to Indicator 2.28, as well as taking an active part in group work which will discuss the Sustainability Initiative's future vision and development.

Magnús Þór Ásmundsson opened the meeting. Amongst other things, he noted that the Sustainability Initiative was originally launched on the basis of considerable foresight. Not surprisingly, opinions had been mixed when the construction projects occurred, and the controversy actually led to the founding of the Initiative, even if the awareness of sustainability and social responsibility had at that time not become as common as nowadays. Thus the Initiative originally grew out of foresight. Magnús added that the Initiative was probably not well enough known and that opportunities remained for a greater analysis of Initiative data. Finally, regular reviews of the Initiative are necessary, so that thought is given to ways of improving and exploiting it.

Freyr Ævarsson looked back over the principal conclusions of SWOT analysis at the Initiative's 2016 annual general meeting. For instance, SWOT had pointed to scientific knowledge and data collection as strengths of the Sustainability Initiative, whereas its weaknesses are its limited visibility, how little the data is processed and how unclear the user group remains. Limited participation in the Initiative by the community, as well as stagnation of the indicators, may threaten the Initiative. On the other hand opportunities may also exist, such as for increased cooperation and for greater interpretation and utilisation of the data.

Guðbjörg Andrea Jónsdóttir delivered a lecture [in Icelandic] on "Social indicators: International and local assessment of social sustainability". In part, she treated the methodology behind selecting, introducing and applying sustainability indicators. Briefly covering the history of the idea of sustainability, she described how it had developed and appeared in the UN sustainable development goals, EU policy and the policies of individual countries such as Iceland. She presented varying examples of currently used sustainability metrics and described social indicators that have been used by the Ministry of Welfare for several years in order to obtain information that can assist in formulating government policy. Furthermore, she expressed the question of whether and how Sustainability Initiative indicators are linked to policy formulation, both in regional municipalities and in the two companies sponsoring the Initiative.

Sigrún Birna Sigurðardóttir spoke [in Icelandic] on the topic of "Assessing sustainability indicators in East Iceland: Trends and expectations". She discussed the results of a questionnaire and an interview study on the Sustainability Initiative. These were qualitative interviews, carried out with representatives of the companies, institutions, municipalities and social organisations that, in consultation with the clients, were selected as being involved in the East Iceland Sustainability Initiative. Among other things, the interviews revealed general satisfaction with the procedures of the Initiative, which is felt to be professional and carried out with integrity. The Initiative products and their value are generally considered to be positive and to be suitable for a range of applications. Nevertheless, little is known about practical utilisation by third parties. An Internet survey shows that the Sustainability Initiative is not very well known in Central East Iceland, even if it is better known there than in other regions of the country. Most of those who do know about the Initiative, on the other hand, believe that continuing it is important. In addition, Sigrún aired some questions on potential further developments of the Initiative.

Guðmundur Sveinsson Kröyer discussed the greenhouse gas emissions of Alcoa-Fjarðaál (Environmental Indicator 2.13), referring also to a broader picture. He spoke briefly on Alcoa Fjarðaál's sources of greenhouse gases, explaining the role of each source in total emissions from the smelter. Moreover, he went over the total greenhouse gas emissions of both the Icelandic aluminium industry and the country as a whole. The Icelandic aluminium industry, he noted, has belonged to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) since 2013. Finally, he described the objectives of Alcoa Fjarðaál and its measures towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions and participating in actions which support carbon sequestration.

Dagbjartur Jónsson reported on land reclamation sponsored by Landsvirkjun. He covered projects that are under the Norður-Hérað Land Improvement Fund and the Fljótsdalshreppur Land Improvement Fund, as well as Landsvirkjun's own revegetation programme by Hálslón reservoir and in the Hraun area. Dagbjartur explained the main land reclamation measures, particularly in the highlands, showing maps and photographs of reclamation zones as well as figures on the fertiliser tonnes and hectare numbers involved.

In the meeting these changes where accepted changes to indicator 2.28 (Icelandic).

In closing, a very short summary of the meeting was presented by Hjalti Jóhannsson, who for instance commented that the meeting had proved interesting and had brought up many important issues. Hjalti felt the meeting's conclusion is that the Sustainability Initiative is a worthwhile programme which has a huge data collection and a diverse assortment of utilisation potentials, though the programme can of course be improved even more

The meeting's group work addressed the following issues:

  • What social indicators are important for East Iceland society?
  • The relationship of the Sustainability Initiative to policy formulation in the sponsoring companies and to policy formulation in East Iceland communities
  • Do the sustainability indicators reflect the challenges facing East Iceland municipalities?
  • The Initiative's hinterland and target groups.

The Supervisory Board of the Sustainability Initiative will apply the group work conclusions as it reviews and develops the programme.

Speeches (Icelandic)

Attendant list

Name Institution, company or association
Aníta Júlíusdóttir Landsvirkjun
Anna Alexandersdóttir Austurbrú
Anna Berg Samúelsdóttir Fjarðabyggð
Árni Jóhann Óðinsson Landsvirkjun
Birna Ósk Landsvirkjun
Björg Björnsdóttir Austurbrú
Björn Ingimarsson Fljótsdalshérað
Dagbjartur Jónsson Landsvirkjun
Dagmar Ýr Stefánsdóttir Alcoa Fjarðaál
Dagný Björk Reynisdóttir Alcoa Fjarðaál
Dagný Jónsdóttir Landsvirkjun
Elfa Hlín Pétursdóttir Austurbrú
Elín Inga Knútsdóttir Landsvirkjun
Erlín Jóhannsdóttir Náttúrustofa Austurlands
Esther Kjartansdóttir  
Freyr Ævarsson Fljótsdalshérað
Geir Sigurpáll Hlöðversson Alcoa Fjarðaál
Georg Þór Pálsson Landsvirkjun
Guðbjörg Andrea Jónsdóttir Félagsvísindastofnun Háskóla Íslands
Guðmundur S. Kröyer Alcoa Fjarðaál
Guðrún Á. Jónsdóttir Austurbrú
Guðrún Ólafía Brynleifsdóttir Landsvirkjun
Gunnar Jónsson Fjarðabyggð
Gunnlaugur Aðalbjarnarson Alcoa Fjarðaál
Hákon Aðalsteinsson Landsvirkjun
Helena Eydís Ingólfsdóttir Þekkingarnet Þingeyinga
Helga Guðrún Jónasdóttir Fjarðabyggð
Hilmar Sigurbjörnsson Alcoa Fjarðaál
Hjalti Jóhannesson Rannsóknamiðstöð Háskólans á Akureyri
Ívar Páll Jónsson Landsvirkjun
Jóhanna Harpa Árnadóttir Landsvirkjun
Jón Ingimarsson Landsvirkjun
Jón Steinar G. Mýrdal Austurbrú
Jóna Árný Þórðardóttir Austurbrú
Kristín Ágústsdóttir Náttúrustofa Austurlands
Kristján H. Svavarsson Landsvirkjun
Líneik Anna Sævarsdóttir Austurbrú
Magnús Þór Ásbjörnsson Alcoa Fjarðaál
Magnús Þór Gylfason Landsvirkjun
Marinó Stefánsson Fjarðabyggð
Olivera Ilic Landsvirkjun
Ólöf Vilbergsdóttir Fjarðabyggð
Rafnar Lárusson Landsvirkjun
Signý Ormarsdóttir Austurbrú
Sigrún Birna Sigurðardóttir Félagsvísindastofnun Háskóla Íslands
Sigþór Örn Árnason Landsvirkjun
Silja Jóhannesdóttir Atvinnuþróunarfélag Þingeyinga
Sindri Óskarsson Landsvirkjun
Smári Kristinsson Alcoa Fjarðaál
Snæbjörn Sigurðarson Norðurþing