The Nordic Council of Ministers' office in Estonia has been an enthusiastic partner of the Opinion Festival for eight years, as it provides a valuable platform to discuss socially important issues, listen to different views and identify problem areas.
We have big plans – our vision is for the Nordic and Baltic region to be a green, competitive and socially sustainable one by 2030. These plans are also reflected in the debates we’ve brought together this year in the Resilience (Säiliv ja nõtke) Area of the Opinion Festival. The nine debates taking place in the area are united by a common thread of social and environmental resilience. Meta Advisory, the US Embassy in Tallinn, the Work in Estonia Programme of the joint institution of Enterprise Estonia and KredEx, the Finnish Institute and the Tallinn - European Green Capital 2023 team will contribute to the captivating debates.
We’ll start at 12:00 on 11 August on the topic of packaging. The Estonian language debate "The (r)evolution of packaging - where will we be in 10 years?", organized by Meta Advisory, considers whether to tax the use of plastic or to look for alternatives and innovate. At 14:00, we will discuss happiness at work and work-life balance. In the debate “The Happy Place – Stuck in a Purgatory of Your Work Life”, which will be in English, we’ll take a look at whether it’s possible to successful and productive in one’s job and be happy at the same time. At 16:00, we’ll continue with the topic of the green transition. In the English-language debate “Greenwashing Takes a Toll on Green Transition”, we’ll try to understand the exact meaning of carbon-free and carbon neutral – are they just buzzwords or whether they actually have a real positive impact on the environment.
Meta Advisory will also continue with the topic of the green transition at 18:00 with the debate “Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security in the Context of the Green Transition” in Estonian. There is a widespread perception that industrial farming pollutes the environment and uses toxins, but is organic farming necessarily more sustainable and does it guarantee food security? The guests will discuss whether food security is at risk in the future and what role plant protection plays in this.
On 12 August, the US Embassy will start the day at 10:00 in Tallinn with the debate “Inclusive Communities” (in English), where experts will discuss how to include underrepresented voices in the pressing social discussions. Work in Estonia will continue at 12:00 with the debate “Embracing Diversity, Enriching Well-being: Insights from International Talent in Estonia” (in English). Why did the international talent living in Estonia decide to come to Estonia? Could the government, employers and everyone else do something to make them feel more at home in Estonia? These are the questions that the debate will seek to answer.
At 14:00, the baton will be taken over by the Finnish Institute with the English-language debate on feuds between the neighbours – “Dealing with (Bad) Neighbours – Peacefully Resolving Conflicts in Communities”. Neighbours sometimes get on our nerves. How can you main good relationships with other people? What can be done when rows in the community escalate and different views start polarising? At 16:00, the Finnish Institute will continue in Estonian with the topics of culture and security. The debate “Culture as Defence” raises the question: if we didn’t have culture, what would we be defending at all? What is the role of culture in security? Can we feel how culture makes people and the society more resilient?
The last debate in the Resilience Area, “Biodiverse City”, will start at 18:00, is in Estonian and organised by Tallinn – European Green Capital 2023. The participants will discuss the meaning of a biodiverse city and why we need nature in the city. How can we create and preserve a biodiverse city, and what does it mean for the European Union, the world and the ordinary citizens?
Opinion Festival 2023: The Resilience Area – schedule
12:00–13:30 "The (r)evolution of packaging - where will we be in 10 years?"
Should we tax the use of plastic or look for alternatives and innovate? In today's changing world, we as a society try to find long-term solutions that would help to create a change in people's consumption habits and way of thinking, as well as in the current activities of producers and industries.
There are many parties and the finger could be pointed in many directions. However, if we put aside the search for culprits and apply all today's knowledge and skills and develop new ones as well, we could already come to an understanding of what the food and beverage industry will be like in 10 years.
Participants: Janne Laik-Lõhmus (Baltic product development and marketing director of HKScan), Nele Normak (Director of Government Relations and Sustainability at Coca-Cola in Poland, the Baltic States, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia), Rainer Pesti (Ragn Sells business development manager), Sigrid Soomlais (Head of the Environmental Management Department of the Ministry of the Environment)
Moderator: Kristo Elias (journalist)
Organiser: Meta Advisory
14:00–15:30 “The Happy Place – Stuck in a Purgatory of Your Work Life” (in English)
When looking for a new job we are often won over by keywords like flexible working hours, work-private life balance, a supportive team etc... but the reality turns out to be quite different than expected. Which factors in the work environment are essential for high productivity and is it even possible to create a happy working environment or are we all just stuck in a work life purgatory? Is it possible to be happy and successful at the same time?
Participants: Agne Aija (Director of Central Operations RMK), Christer Haglund (Chairman of the Board of Miltton Ukraine, former Director, Nordic Council of Ministers' office in Estonia), Tiina Saar-Veelmaa (work happiness specialist and psychologist), Jari Hakanen (Research Professor, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health)
Moderator: Elo Ellermaa (Public Relations Senior Consultant at Meta Advisory Group)
Organiser: Nordic Council of Ministers' office in Estonia
16:00–17:30 “Greenwashing Takes a Toll on Green Transition” (in English)
If you have flown somewhere, had your package delivered or ordered food you have probably seen a proud statement – this activity or product is CO2 free! Is the company really striving towards a more sustainable future or is it just greenwashing, a marketing gimmick intended to mislead consumers who prefer to buy goods and services from environmentally conscious brands? Join the discussion on what exactly does CO2 free and neutral mean, what is its impact on the environment (if any), and is it really even possible to reduce, offset, or remove the carbon dioxide emissions companies create.
Participants: Annela Anger-Kraavi (climate researcher), Aire Rihe (Advisor to the management at the Estonian Ministry of the Environment), Eeva Taimisto (Director of Sustainability Consulting and Communication, Miltton Finland)
Moderator: Madis Tilga (Adviser on Bioeconomy, Estonian Office of the Nordic Council of Ministers)
Organiser: Nordic Council of Ministers' office in Estonia
18:00–19:30 “Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security in the Context of the Green Transition” (in Estonian)
The world is faced with conflicting desires in the context of the green transition. Agriculture is thereby one of the key areas. Although farmers put food on the table, this is also associated with environmental problems – toxins and pollution. Decision-makers are faced with a dilemma: how to strike a balance between green ambitions and basic needs. We’ll discuss whether food security is at risk in the future and what role plant protection plays in this.
Participants: Sigmar Suu (Head of Plant Health Department at Ministry of Rural Affairs), Ragnar Viikoja (Head of Agriculural Policy at Estonian Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce), Evelin Hillep (CEO, Estonian Crop Protection Association), Karl Lindam (Board Member, Aru Põllumajanduse OÜ)
Moderator: Elo Ellermaa (Public Relations Specialist)
Organiser: Meta Advisory Group
10:00–11.30 “Inclusive Communities” (in English)
How do we include underrepresented voices in societal discussions? In this panel, experts from a wide-range of organizations will give their opinions, experience, and advice about how we can make sure everyone has space to be included in today's most pressing conversations.
Participants: Eero Janson (Estonian Refugee Council), Kelly Grossthal (Estonian Human Rights Centre), Meelis Joost (Estonian Chamber of People with Disabilities), TBC - Q-Space
Moderator: George Kent (US Ambassador to Estonia)
Organiser: US Embassy in Tallinn
12:00–13:30 “Embracing Diversity, Enriching Well-being: Insights from International Talent in Estonia” (in English)
Estonia is lucky to have a growing and vibrant international talent community flourishing within its borders. But what do we really know about them and why did they decide to build their lives in Estonia? Join us for a dynamic panel event where a diverse group of specialists, hailing from various professional domains, will share their remarkable journeys of living and working in Estonia. Discover the motivations behind their choice to build their lives here, their interactions with the local community, and their visions for a more inclusive future. In this engaging discussion, we'll also delve into the triumphs and challenges faced by international talent, examining the support systems in place and envisioning possibilities for improvement.
Participants: Manan Anwar (Youtuber and engineer from Pakistan), Hansel Rivero (dance teacher from Cuba), Jules Alcantara (founder of Tallinn Women’s Collective from Mexico), Mike Perdue (co-owner of the AFTRWRK Bar from the US), Uwanma Odefa (HR specialist from Nigeria)
Moderator: Hannah Brown (e-Residency Programme)
Organiser: “Work in Estonia” Programme of the joint institution of Enterprise Estonia and KredEx
14:00–15:30 “Dealing with (Bad) Neighbours – Peacefully Resolving Conflicts in Communities” (in English)
Neighbours – whether living next-door or in the same city – sometimes get on our nerves. How can we maintain healthy relations with people in our community? What to do if our arguments escalate or the views become very polarised? It is easy to add fuel to arguments but calming them down needs conscious effort. Our specialists talk about how to do it.
Participants: Margarita Ingel (conflict mediator, EST), Miriam Attias (community mediator, FIN), Panu Artemjeff (equality expert, FIN)
Moderator: Kätlin Kuldmaa (Head of Social Sciences Department, Narva State Upper Secondary School)
Organiser: Finnish Institute in Estonia
16:00–17:30 “Culture as Defence” (in Estonian)
If we didn’t have culture, what would we be defending at all? Culture creates and develops a person’s identity, looks after their soul and helps create a better world. What is the role of culture in security? The soft power of culture is perceived as fighting monuments and burning books. However, can we feel how culture makes people and the society more resilient?
Participants: Meelis Kubits (the director of Kultuuripartnerlus SA), Ilmar Raag (film director), Mart Kivastik (writer), Ando Kiviberg (Chief of Viljandi Folk)
Moderator: Hannele Valkeeniemi (Director, the Finnish Institute in Estonia)
Organiser: Finnish Institute in Estonia
18:00–19:30 “Biodiverse City” (in Estonian)
Tallinn is the European Green Capital 2023. This year, we’ve focused on urban nature and the role of biodiversity in adapting to climate change. We’ll discuss the meaning of a biodiverse city and why we need nature in the city. How can we create and preserve a biodiverse city, and what does it mean for the European Union, the world and the ordinary citizens?
Participants: Annela Anger-Kraavi (PhD, Adviser on International Climate Change Policy and Negotiations), Ragmar Saksing (entrepreneur, greentech sector leader at Technopol), Hannes Aava (leader of the project "Rohejälg" & Landscape Planner at Tallinn Strategic Planning Services)
Moderator: Krista Kampus
Organiser: European Green Capital Office