Advisory Council Member - Caroline Ankarcrona

Embracing a Climate-Positive Future: Perspectives from Caroline Ankarcrona

The second Advisory Council member to be introduced in our blog series is Caroline Ankarcrona who serves as a board member of various prominent organizations. In this blog post Caroline shares insights on companies’ roles in sustainable transformation.

How would you describe the current climate discourse and which issues do you find most pressing at the moment?

We need to have three goals, climate, resource use and biodiversity, before our eyes at the same time.

UN Secretary General Guterres says that ‘If governments continue with the same environmental policies currently in place, the world will become 2.8°C hotter by the end of the century, which would be “a death sentence for the world.”’ This clearly sets the target and the pace where business can, and must, play a key role.

The largest emitters of greenhouse gases come from the use of fossil fuels. However, the climate impact from the use of resources is often overlooked, such as the production, and inefficient use of steel and concrete, food production and food waste, textile and apparel industry. Therefore, we not only need to focus on clean energy production, but also on the efficient use of resources and a way to circulate them. This also has a huge impact on biodiversity.

How do you see the companies' roles in these pressing topics?

Companies need to analyze the situation, identify their role and team up with other companies, policy makers and researchers to create solutions to the global challenges. Here lies a huge opportunity for Nordic companies to take lead through providing efficient energy solutions, resource efficient products as well as other sustainable solutions to the world.

What kind of transformation is required from companies in the short- and long-term to create sustainable business value?

The absolute decoupling of economic development from the use of virgin resources will be important for the future. This implies a higher degree of new business models and increasing the use of recycled material to decrease the dependency of virgin resources. This would also reduce other risks, such as geo-political and transportation risk.

As an advisory council's member, what do you think is the Combient network's value and role in fostering the transformation?

The Combient network holds immense value in fostering sustainable transformations through digitalization. By embracing digital transformation, companies can enhance efficiency, circularity and effectiveness in resource usage, increase transparency along value chains, explore new business models such as Product-as-a-service (PaaS), improve energy efficiency, and optimize utilization rate of logistics.

Which are the most inspiring case examples you have seen of multi-company collaborations driving sustainable transformation?

Historically there have been several examples in Sweden of “development pairs” where large private companies made significant innovation with government customers. A few examples are Ericsson and Televerket (today Telia), Asea (ABB) and Vattenfall, Asea (ABB) and SJ as well as Bofors and FMV. Such collaborations between large private companies and government customers were then significant for the development of Swedish energy, transport, and military technology.

A classic example is Michelin’s PaaS strategy providing tires as a service based on distance traveled which shows the opportunities of a business model that benefits both service providers and customers if we make smarter use of our most valuable asset — data.

Otherwise, Kalundborg in Denmark is a successful story of industrial symbiosis where the main principle is that a residue from one company becomes a resource at another, benefiting both the environment and the economy. By working together and exchanging material, water, and energy streams between the partners, Kalundborg Symbiosis increases resilience and economic gains, while reducing the environmental impact and expenses. Building a functioning industrial symbiosis is not about working together for the sake of each other and the environment, but a continuous search for a better way of doing business.

Lastly, any word of encouragement for companies looking to accelerate their low-carbon transition?

Analyze your business models, value chain and dependency on materials, impact on biodiversity, transparency, collaboration with customers, energy efficiency, effective use of resources and become a piece of the puzzle for creating a sustainable future.

Introducing Caroline Ankarcrona

Caroline Ankarcrona has held leading positions at the Royal Swedish Institute for Engineering Sciences where she, among other things, headed projects on resource effectiveness and circular economy. Currently she serves on the boards in a variety of various organizations, research programs, foundations, and companies such as the WWF, Mistra Geopolitics, Kopparfors Skogar AB and Stockholm Institute for Transition Economics. Caroline Ankarcrona is also Director on the board of the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.

Caroline's motivation to join Combient Pure's Advisory Council stems from her desire to drive the transition towards a resource-effective, climate-positive society that promotes ecosystem services and biodiversity in all aspects. She firmly believes that collaboration and digitalization play pivotal roles in this transformative journey and recognizes the importance of entities like Combient in bringing diverse stakeholders together.

Stay tuned for more interesting conversations and insights in our ongoing blog series!

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