The development in the north of Sweden is crucial for the green transition that needs to take place to slow down the climate change and reach the UN’s global climate goals. This development also means vast opportunities for both investors and people.
In March, Novare Leadership Academy travelled to northern Sweden with the participants in Novare Executive Program, to see this transition firsthand. Our aim was to understand and explore the large-scale development taking place in the region – a sustainability transformation in areas such as green steel and mining, electrification, space, and wood. Sharing a few highlights from the trip.
”Welcome to Skellefteå – where Europe’s biggest industrial development is taking place”
🛩 visiting Skellefteå Airport, a pioneer in the field of electric aviation and with the world’s most sustainable flight academy, Green Flight Academy.
↗ discussing opportunities and challenges with Skellefteå becoming one of Sweden’s leading growth zones in the 2020’s with Skellefteå kommun
🎭 guided tour at Sara Kulturhus, one of the tallest timber buildings in the world, controlled by AI and almost entirely energy efficient
🌲 understanding how wood can be transformed in different innovative ways with the Wood Innovation Cluster and Martinsons
⚡ the CEO of electricity company Skellefteå Kraft talked about how northern Sweden has a unique position in the global transition to fossil free energy sources
”We decarbonize hard-to-abate industries…and we start with steel” -H2 Green Steel
BODEN & LULEÅ
🏭 The visits to Boden & Luleå focused on the transition of the steel industry, an industry that today accounts for 7% of global CO2 emissions. Visiting, learning and discussing with H2 Green Steel, LKAB ReeMap, SSAB and hydrogen initiatives at Luleå University of Technology.
🏔️ The project leader of Min Ođđa Giron/Vårt Nya Kiruna (owned by saami villages Laevas och Gabna) shared their perspective of when land is taken for mining activities, and how they can influence the changes that are planned on their lands and minimize the impact on reindeer herding.
🍔 We also got to meet the CEO and Co-founder of Bastard Burgers who offered us a beautiful vegan meal ”beyond burger” and told his story of how to build a sustainable and equal business.
❄️ The grand finale of the visit in Luleå was a Dinner-on-Ice at Brändön Lodge where we got to see Nordic Light.
⛏ Visiting LKAB mine where we ventured into the heart of the mountain, descending 540 meters below ground. The mine in Kiruna is the world´s largest underground iron ore mine.
🏘 Learned and watched the town transformation that is going on as an effect of the mining activities, with the city centre being moved three kilometers east.
❄ Guided tour and dinner at the Ice Hotel, a Swedish Artic landmark that is creatively redesigned and reborn each winter season.
🚀 The last visit for the tour went to Esrange, hosted by the SSC – Swedish Space Corporation to learn about the space industry in northern Sweden.
LEARNINGS & INSIGHTS
Filled with new knowledge, inspiration, collaboration ideas and an extended network, we went back home to digest all impressions and explore how we can use these experiences going forward. Some of the key-take away’s from journey was:
- The key message throughout the trip was the massive need for green energy. The world, including Sweden, need to double up the efforts in wind and solar and even Hydrogen where the impact on biodiversity is acceptable.
- The authorization process needs to get leaner and faster to install green energy capabilities. The climate don’t have time to wait 5-10 years for infrastructure approvals.
- Alignment and communication between all stakeholders (government, education, investors, habitants etc) seems to be as important as the core project.
- The green transition implies the same challenges for everyone we met – to attract people/talent, provide housing and manage cultural questions.
- Energized, committed and happy people is critical for running big projects.
- Challenge to balance future opportunities that nature provides with traditions and historical values.
- Many beautiful examples of how to turn weakness into opportunities. For example, the Green Flight Academy using ’less air traffic in the area’ and ’the rough climate’ in their development of electric airplanes to their advantage.
Thank you to all participants and everyone involved in making this trip so fantastic!
The Norrbotten trip was the ultimate ”Grand Finale” of the program. It was incredibly inspiring to hear about the enormous investments made by business and society in Northern Sweden. It was fascinating to see the great creativity and entrepreneurial spirit that is influencing the Sustainability Transition, and that this can be found a such large-scale in “our own backyard” in northern Sweden.
Calle Medin, VP Sustainability