Our work

The Arctic Economic Council’s Working Groups

The AEC’s Working Groups reflect the AEC selected business areas. The AEC currently has five Working Groups:

  • Maritime Transportation
  • Responsible Resource Development
  • Connectivity
  • Investments & Infrastructure
  • Blue Economy

The AEC’s work is based on the priorities set by the businesses forming the organization’s membership.

Brief work plan for the Working Groups:

  • Analyze the current business climate in the Arctic
  • Incorporate the five overarching themes of the AEC
  • Define actionable recommendations and variables that will raise the standard of economic development in the Arctic
  • Execute, report and review


Information exchange through collaboration

The Arctic Economic Council’s Maritime Transportation Working Group focuses on gathering and exchanging available information on national and international Arctic maritime traffic, related regulation, development and status of hydrographic mapping. This aspect of the Maritime Transportation Working Group is especially valuable, since safety in Arctic waters and the availability of the information are limited.

The Maritime Transportation Working Group’s membership consists of representatives of the premier Arctic ship operators, confederations of shipowners from across the globe, indigenous corporations and the representatives of the academia.

The best insight available

The Maritime Transportation Working Group stays up to date on the upcoming changes in traffic management, environmental regulation and status of hydrographic mapping. Maritime Transportation Working Group provides an information and experience exchange platform to provide the members insight and guidelines.

Benefits to members

The members of the Maritime Transportation Working Group participate in gathering information and in the process of creating relevant deliverables.

The information consists of:

  • analysing the national and international Arctic navigation rules and regulations and developments
  • instructions and issues related to freedom of trade.
  • safety of Arctic waterways

Members gain access to invaluable sources of information and benchmarking regarding maritime traffic in the Arctic and the vast network of businesses operating in the area. Members have an opportunity to add business perspective to discussions on regulative and legislative issues affecting the Arctic.

The AEC Working Group on Maritime Transportation is chaired by Mr. Mikko Niini. Mr Niini has vast experience in Arctic technology and shipbuilding. He is the Chairman of tanker shipping company Navidom Ltd and Chairman of the Rauma shipyard of Rauma Marine Constructions (RMC), Board member of the dry bulk shipping company ESL Shipping Ltd as well as Managing Director of his own Arctic & Maritime Consultancy Vientistrategit Oy.

The AEC Maritime Transportation Working Group issued its first report at the AEC Annual Meeting in Rovaniemi in 2019.

State of Maritime Transportation in the Arctic (2019)

The report has since been translated to Korean by Korea Maritime Institute (KMI)/Northern and Polar Regions Research Department

State of Maritime Transportation in the Arctic (in Korean)

Maritime Transportation WG Fact Sheet 


Infrastructure and Investments Working Group

Stimulating economic growth

The Arctic Economic Council’s Investments & Infrastructure Working Group focuses on strengthening guidelines that aim for responsible investments and stimulating economic growth in the Arctic region. This works builds upon the Arctic Investment Protocol, originally a product of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Arctic. Since 2017, the Arctic Investment Protocol has been institutionalized with the AEC.

The goal of the guidelines listed in the Arctic Investment Protocol is to provide information on who to consult when investing in a specific field and/or region in the Arctic. Arctic businesses, local people and communities as well as financial institutions have participated in the creation and review of these guidelines.

The Arctic is full of untapped potential

Part of the AEC Investments & Infrastructure Working Group’s  aim is to increase understanding that the Arctic is not a region with limited economic growth potential but can provide significant opportunities. The Working Group also focuses on  how different funding options can serve the region and how the Arctic can attract growth capital.

Benefits to members

Members participating in the Investments & Infrastructure Working Group will gather and provide the information needed in the process and participate in the formulating of responsible guidelines for the development in the Arctic.

Members will gain access to invaluable sources of information and the vast network of businesses operating in the Arctic. Members have the opportunity to participate in the forming of investment principles of the Arctic through the AEC.

The work of the Investments & Infrastructure Working Group is led by Mr. Timo Räikkönen, Executive Vice President, Services and Urban Development at Destia Group.

Mandate and Work Plan

Investments and Infrastructure WG Fact sheet 

Provide, review and facilitate

The Arctic Economic Council’s Responsible Resource Development Working Group is focused on providing the necessary framework for responsible resource exploration and development in the Arctic.

The Responsible Resource Development Working Group worked to identify challenges and healthy investment factors regarding Arctic resource development. The first phase of the work culminated in a report that assists with evaluating the potential impacts of development in the Arctic region. The deliverable provides best practices and a framework for business conduct that is harmonious with indigenous residents and communities across the Arctic area. The report was published at the AEC Annual Meeting in Rovaniemi, Finland in 2019.

Benefits to members

Members participating in the Responsible Resource Development Working Group bring their individual expertise from a variety of disciplines to jointly develop the guide to best practices for project development in the Arctic. Members gain valuable information, business contacts and an opportunity to participate in the discussion at the national and international level through the Arctic Economic Council. management, sustainability and local benefits

Co-chairs:  Lillian Hvatum-Brewster, Vice President, Indigenous Stewardship, ATCO and Lori Davey, Vice President, Enterprise Markets, GCI.

Terms of Reference

Responsible Resource Development WG Fact Sheet

Report Mineral Development in the Arctic (2019)

Chair of the AEC Working Group on Connectivity: Dr. Pam Lloyd


Connectivity WG Fact Sheet 

The AEC Working Group on Connectivity builds upon the work of the previous AEC Working Group on Infrastructure: Telecommunications. The previous Working Group on Infrastructure: Telecommunications was chaired by Robert McDowell (USA) and concluded its work in 2017 with the publication of its report “Arctic Broadband – Recommendations for and Interconnected Arctic”. 

Report: “Arctic Broadband – Recommendations for an Interconnected Arctic”

The report: “Arctic Broadband – Recommendations for an Interconnected Arctic” was published in January 2017. The AEC’s Telecommunications Working Group’s report was the first of its kind, providing an analysis of the state of Arctic broadband. It also presents different funding options applicable in the Arctic, an overview of planned and ongoing projects related to connectivity, and gives recommendations for future. The report can be found here

Top of the World Arctic Broadband Summit

A significant part of the AEC’s work within connectivity is the Top of the Wolrd Arctic Broadband Summit (TOW Summit). The first TOW Summit was held in Barrow, Alaska in 2016. It gathered more than 100 participants including policy leaders, tech industry experts and other executives. Following positive feedback from the industry, the second TOW Summit was held in Oulu, Finland in 2017 in collaboration with the City of Oulu. Being held back-to-back with the EU Arctic Stakeholder Forum, the 2017 TOW Summit provided great synergy opportunities for improved dialogue between the Arctic business community and policy decision makers. The 3rd TOW Summit was held on June 27-28, 2018 in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan. For more information regarding program, presentations and press releases, please see our website under “Events” and the respective Top of the World Arctic Broadband Summit banners.

A summary of the Top of the World Arctic Broadband Summits: AEC TOW Summits 


The AEC Blue Economy Working Group aims to facilitate a pan-Arctic alliance of ocean clusters to leverage the knowledge, expertise and funding instruments throughout the region to fast track product development and economic growth in the sector. At the core of this Working Group’s activity will be commitment to balancing sustainability and business and demonstrating through its work that the two are not mutually exclusive. The Blue Economy Working Group is chaired by Dana Eidsness, Director of Maine North Atlantic Development Office (MENADO) at Maine International Trade Center.

The Blue Economy Working Group will coordinate activity with other AEC working groups such as the Maritime Transportation Working Group on matters related to shipping.

Blue economy business development themes will include:

  • Marine biotechnology and bio-products – the application of scientific and engineering principles to the processing of materials by marine biological agents to provide goods and services
  • Ocean food systems – value chains in fisheries, aquaculture, seafood trade
  • Maritime Transportation – improving the sustainability of the shipping and cruise industries in terms of social, environmental and economic impacts
  • Marine Technology – technologies for the safe use, exploitation, protection of, and intervention in, the marine environment.

The first phase of the work will start with a consultation round with Arctic Blue Business Innovation Networks with the aim to identify models of success.


Blue Economy WG Fact Sheet

The Arctic is a vast region of diverse nature, physical environment and cultures. Access to energy is critical for Arctic inhabitants and energy resources can present positive opportunities for business development provided this is done with due regard to traditional and indigenous lifestyles and sustainability.

International concern about global warming in the Arctic has resulted in increasingly negative stakeholder opinions of Arctic resource development. Science based discussions around Arctic opportunities compete against popular media opinions, potentially risking that responsible Arctic investment is being unduly influenced by the views of those living outside the region.

The AEC recognizes that many people live and work in the Arctic, and that industry has been present across the regions for decades. The physical environment has driven solutions for energy efficiency and high operating standards. AEC therefore believes that business activity to utilize resources in the region should be viewed in terms of local benefit and sustainable practices and recognized as complementary to global resources.

The objective of the AEC Energy Working Group is to provide simple, balanced information to key stakeholders regarding the context, opportunities and challenges for use of Arctic energy resources.

The work of the AEC Energy Working Group is led by Equinor, and the Working Group is currently being populated.


Energy WG Fact Sheet