Greenland Business Association
Working with, in and for Greenland
TEXT: JOSEFINE OLDER STEFFENSEN | PHOTOS © GRØNLANDS ERHVERV
Since 1966, Greenland Business Association (Grønlands Erhverv/Sulisitsisut) has been at the forefront of business in Greenland, taking care of corporate interests and developing the corporate climate. Today, it represents more than 70 per cent of private business across nine different industries and continues to create a community that shares its knowledge in order to create a strong political voice promoting change in Greenland.
The association is split into four main areas: the employers’ organisation, the service organisation, the interest group and the development group. The employers’ and service organisations ensure that members’ interests are protected politically and that members are updated on any developments concerning new rules and laws that need to be followed. “We represent everything from small one-man businesses to big international companies across industries, so it’s vital for us to know about everything that moves in the corporate world in Greenland, so that we can inform our members,” explains Brian Buus Pedersen, General Manager of Greenland Business Association.
Representing so many of Greenland’s businesses also means that Greenland Business Association has formed significant interest and development groups. The interest group works across industries to create a community that shares information and knowledge to create a better society. The development group uses this information to further understand what is happening within society and to attempt to develop and influence. All of the groups and organisations are run by the seven people working at Greenland Business Association, all of whom have an excellent understanding of business in Greenland.
LEFT: BRIAN BUUS PEDERSEN, PHOTO: LARS SALOMONSON, RIGHT PHOTO: JØRGEN CHEMINTZ
Working closely together
“Our most important role is speaking to all our members, understanding their industries and helping them when we can. We also have close relations with our politicians, and although we might not always agree, we always maintain an open dialogue and are able to express our views,” Pedersen says. “The great thing about Greenland is that it’s a close-knit community and people speak a lot to each other and know each other, so we’re very good at working together.”
Another close relationship that Greenland Business Association maintains is with the teachers’ association. They are working together to try to change the school system in Greenland, which is currently struggling. “Around 70 per cent of pupils who finish their schooling have one or more marks that mean they can’t go into further education, and currently around two thirds of the labour market is lacking in certain competencies, so it’s essential that something changes, and soon.”
Greenland Business Association also gives pupils an insight into post-school opportunities by showcasing what some of the member businesses do and work with.
“My hope is that we can rally together to try and change things. It’s not only important for our schools, but also for our businesses, since we need qualified employees. It’s very encouraging to see how we are already making a difference and how these close working relationships can change something. With a population of 56,000, it is vital for organisations to work together and develop the country together.”
LEFT: STUDENTS FINISHING SCHOOL, RIGHT: HUSKIES, PHOTOS © JØRGEN CHEMINTZ
A lot to offer
Greenland has some of the best access to raw materials in the world and all minerals can be found there. There is a good understanding within the country of how to access these raw materials and many of the companies there are based around them. Greenland is also famed for its fish and all fishing that takes place in Greenland is MSC certified, ensuring traceable and sustainable fish.
Greenland Business Association ensures that the political and economic environment is good for both existing and new companies, guaranteeing that they can work with limited hindrances. “Greenland has fantastic natural resources and there is both a very good business framework in Greenland and an entrepreneurial spirit, which makes it an excellent place to work in,” Pedersen argues.
Every two years, Greenland Business Association hosts Future Greenland, a conference with over 450 participants, where business professionals and decision-makers from Greenland, Iceland, Canada and Denmark come together to discuss business and societal issues in the Arctic regions. “It’s a great meeting place for a wide range of individuals and organisations in the Arctic, and the discussions that are created there are often incredibly inspiring,” Pedersen says. The conference takes place on the 14–15 May 2019.
Greenland Business Association is an association that does much more than simply represent its members. It creates change, has a strong political voice, and works nationally and internationally to create the best business environment on Greenland. It provides excellent insight into Greenland’s corporate world and is the perfect partner for those looking to find out more or to expand into Greenland.
PHOTO: ULRIK BANG
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