Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sustainability Day 2012

On Tuesday I was at the Sustainability Day 2012 in Stockholm. It was thanks to Sustainenergies that I had the opportunity to join. Sustainenergies is an organization that helps students to become experts in sustainability issues and help companies to find the competence within young people trough cooperations. An example is the Sustainenergies Cup that they organize yearly.

It was all in all an interesting day, the moderators Mikael Salo and Stina Billinger both did a very good job and we heard many interesting presentations.

One of the presentations was from Kirsi Sormunen, vice president, Sustainability, at Nokia. I have to give her that she was a good speaker and it all sounded very great but I think some of us were missing some more concrete examples. I think she could also have said something on recycling of mobile phones and the packaging. She did speak about how mobiles can be used to help learning English in rural areas etc. but it might be difficult to grasp without examples. Here is a video that shows it in a more concrete way:

Kirsi on stage with the moderators:

We also heard some shorter inspiring talks on innovation and Eco-design. I do recommmend you to go and read about Martin Willer's talk on PeoplePeople's blog where you can also see a video of his presentation from the conference (Blog in English, video in Swedish).

Cecilia Johansson, Packaging Concept Manager at Ikea, was talking about how they recycle all of their packaging material, which is great, but I think many of us feel that Ikea's business in general is not very sustainable in the long run. They have approached their way of thinking about packaging material through the waste hierarchy model, introduced by EU.

Pic from Wikipedia

Futerra talked about the profiles of environmentally concious consumers. You can find their presentation on their website. (Köpfesten, in Swedish)

One of the most interesting talks was about corruption with Sussie Kvart from Transaparency International. She said that 5% of the GDP globally goes into corruption, which is a huge sum, one of her advices against corrpution was for companies to have a good whistle blower function. Here you can find a corruption perception index by country for 2011.

Some other interesting points that came up during the day was that it takes not only innovation for us to move towards a sustainable planet, but it it takes political will and changing of habits as well. Again we talked about that it would be a great time to change the BNP calculations to a greener version, but how difficult it is to measure non-economic values. Klas Ekelund from SEB wanted the sustainability managers to gain more higher positions to be able to make more change.

Johan Rockström talked shortly about the environmental challenges we will phase, his also done a TED-talk you can see here:

So all in all we have many challenges to take on but I think Johan shows that there is still hope, if we can take on a shifting mindset. For so many changes and such big changes to happen at once we need businesses that are transparent and willing to share their knowledge, businesses willing to collaborate with all stakeholders, businesses that have the courage to invest and try new things and last but not least businesses that are proud of their work in sustainability issues to inspire others to follow.

I'm all inspired to start straight away!

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