Nordic Business #2 October 2020

Page 1

Price DKK 129,- / SEK 177,- / NOK 165,-

October 2020





nordic business



nordic business // 4

911. Turbo. S. Each of these alone is enough to make car enthusiasts’ hearts beat faster. Combined together they signify the pinnacle of possibility. That’s why our engineers refer to the 911 Turbo S as the perfect sports car. The absolute peak of driving emotion. See more about the new 911 Turbo S at

Porsche 911 Turbo S. Price from kr. 4.189.247. Fuel consumption combined: 8,1-8,3 km/l; CO2 emissions: 278-271 g/km.


nordic business // 5

Porsche Center Aarhus Grenåvej 347, 8240 Risskov, Aarhus Tel. +45 46 911 911

Porsche Center København Banevingen 6, 2200 København N Tel. +45 46 911 911

Foto: Margaret M. de Lange

Furniture handmade in Norway since 1951. W E L C O M E T O S L E T T V O L L . F U R N I T U R E M A D E T O L A S T F O R G E N E R AT I O N S .

Oslo Plads 12 | G Ö T E B O R G : A&Co S T O C K H O L M : Regeringsgatan 12 Sødergatan 5 | B E R G E N : Christiesgate 5 B Æ R U M / K O L S Å S : Brynsveien 140 D R A M M E N : Ellingsen Møbler G J Ø V I K : Kiil InteriørDesign H A U G E S U N D : In-Design K R I S T I A N S A N D : Barstølveien 86 L I L L E S T R Ø M : Storgata 6 M O S S : Ekholtveien 114 O S L O / S K Ø Y E N : Karenslyst Allé 7 S K I : Åsenveien 8 S TA V A N G E R : Marieroveien 21A T R O M S Ø : Kiil InteriørDesign T R O N D H E I M : Dyre Halses gate 1B T Ø N S B E R G : Øvre Langgate 50 Å L E S U N D : Smibakken 3 K Ø B E N H AV N :


W W W. S L E T T V O L L . N O

nordic business // 8

In the Nordic countries, climate is important to us. We grew up in countries that are less populated than the rest of Europe and we are used to being surrounded by nature in the form of mountains, rivers, forests, and open fields. Perhaps nature’s great fundamental importance to us is one of the reasons why some of the most dedicated and globally in demand CSR employees are found at companies in the Nordic region. In this issue of Nordic Business, we have chosen to showcase some of the Nordic women who work dedicatedly with CSR and who help to make a difference. One of them is Sweden’s Helena Helmersson whose promotion from H&M’s CSR officer to the CEO is a symbol of the value of working purposefully with CSR. But reaching the UN’s Sustainable Goals requires more people and companies to take responsibility. Fortunately, a major new collaboration between several of the largest Nordic companies means

that the development of renewable energy and Power-to-X is in full swing. Predictably, this is The big new Nordic business adventure, and it is also a good example of the Nordic management style that US Professor Robert Strand, in an interview with Nordic Business, characterizes as being very focused on sustainability and, at the same time, on engaging with employees and partners. Many Tech Start-ups were created in urban innovative co-working spaces, which now shows the footprint of the new generation who are changing the cityscapes, and are defining the industries of tomorrow. With these words, we hope that you will enjoy reading this edition of Nordic Business.

Julie Brix Editor & CCO

Executive Editor & Publisher Henning Andersen Editor & CCO Julie Brix Journalists / Contributors Nikolai Steensgaard / Bibi Christensen / Marie-Louise Arenfast / Anders Birch / Michael Hjortlund / Frida Bratt / Pia Bundgaard Hansen / Kåre Peitersen Translators Rikke Hackner / Bibi Christensen Art Director & graphic production Heidi Carlsen Advertising / Contact Sales and Key Account Managers J an Poulsen / Cita Hansen / August Schou Cover Photo Mattias Bardå Print Printconnect ApS Nordic Business is published by

Partnermedier ApS, Vester Voldgade 7B, 1552 København V

All rigths reserved. Material contained in this publication can not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without prior permission of Nordic Business.

19-31-02 PEFC Certified This product is from sustainably managed forests and controlled sources

At Nordic Business, we want to take a sustainable approach to producing a print magazine. Our first step is printing on PEFC-certified paper, and the topic is also an increasing focus editorially.

Dear reader, The contents in this publication are created in collaboration with our many business partners and advertisers. Our journalists have made every effort to find and write these contents for you, which we hope will give you good information and insights of the businesses in the Nordics.

nordic business // 9

nordic business // 10



Footprints of the new generation Tech entrepreneurs are changing the cityscape

12 Sustainable Vikings: US Professor Robert Strand on the Nordic resilient societies

16 3 new Luxury hotels - that takes you back in time


Can she make fast fashion sustainable? Meet Helena Helmersson, CEO of H&M

nordic business // 11

Maersk joins major power-to-x project




Inspirational Nordic women in CSR

44 How to make a successful rebound – Now and beyond Covid-19

Hydrogen and liquid electricity are the new black in the green transition


nordic business // 12



nordic business // 13

The Covid-19 pandemic has shown how fragile our societies are. But the Nordic economies and businesses are better positioned to emerge from the crisis because the Nordic countries have long focused on building resilient societies, says Robert Strand, a professor and executive director of the Berkeley Haas Center for Responsible Business at the University of California. He teaches American MBA students about Nordic approaches to sustainable business and is writing a book on the subject.

nordic business // 14

By Bibi Christensen Ask Robert Strand if he is a man on a mission and he lets out a resounding: ”Yeah!” Strand, who is Executive Director of the Berkeley Haas Center for Responsible Business at the University of California, wants to help ”reimagine capitalism” and is looking to the Nordic region to do so. ”I’ve seen a different way of organising society and a different way of living a life in the Nordics. ”What the Nordics have done for me is to prove an example: If the Nordic model didn’t exist, I with my American mind would not believe that you could actually set up this well-functioning society where you have all these safety nets AND you are very efficient,” the American professor tells Nordic Business on a video call from his base in San Francisco. ”In my American mind, I would say, ’oh with all these safety nets people are going to be very lazy, not efficient, the companies are not going to be very vibrant, they are just going to die’. But what I have seen is the complete flip-side of that: With these safety nets, people don’t live with anxiety and fear all the time, instead they look at the opportunities of life and not just the risks,” Strand says. Originally an industrial engineer who spent a decade working in the corporate sector, Robert Strand has since studied and researched Nordic approaches to building what he refers to as sustainable businesses and resilient societies. He has long held the view that the United States in particular has much to learn from the Nordic region. Now more than ever, when the Covid-19 pandemic has shown how fragile our societies are, Strand firmly believes that Nordic economies and businesses are far better positioned to emerge from the crisis precisely because the Nordic countries have long focused on things that make their societies and therefore their citizens and their businesses more resilient to shocks. At a societal level, elements such as universal healthcare, disability insurance, paid parental leave and subsidised childcare – things that in the U.S. tend to be paid for by the employers and are therefore at risk if you lose your job - are all part of this. But rather than fitting these into a traditional narrative of social welfare, he is eager to flip the language upside down. The conversation he wants to have concerns not what from a U.S. perspective may tend to be portrayed as ”socialist” Nordic societies or nanny states, but what will actually enable citizens to realise themselves and ”unleash businesses” to do what they do best: do business.

To shift this narrative in the U.S., he likes to refer to American companies as ”nanny companies” that are actually saddled down by the burden of having to offer things such as healthcare insurance to their employees. At a corporate level, this is also about reframing the traditional notions of competitive advantage to talk about ”cooperative advantage” and what he sees as very typical of Scandinavian companies – cooperating with stakeholders and creating value beyond the profit on the bottom line. This fits in naturally with the Nordic tradition of consensus-seeking, whereas the U.S. is very conflict-based, Robert Strand says. On a far wider scale, with particular global challenges in climate change and inequality, he points to the Nordics as consistently leading the world in the annual rankings based on the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. He also points to the high level of digitisation as making Nordic societies and economies more efficient. Strand was originally inspired by his own Norwegian ancestry – poor tenement farmers who emigrated to the U.S. – to study in Norway and later at Copenhagen Business School, an institution he is still affiliated with as an associate professor of leadership and sustainability. Based on his research and his own personal experiences from living, studying and working in the Nordic region, he is currently writing a book about Nordic approaches to what he calls ”sustainable capitalism”. The book, ”Sustainable Vikings”, which is due to be published towards the end of 2021, also draws on a course on Nordic sustainable business that he currently teaches to executive MBA students at Berkeley Haas. As part of his work, he has been organising study trips to Scandinavia for the past 13 years or so, bringing executive MBA students as well as public policy students from the U.S. to visit both private companies and public bodies across the Nordic region. While these study trips are currently on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with the next trip postponed until August 2021, Robert Strand is moving on with a far bigger project. With the University of California at Berkeley, which has a long tradition of Scandinavian studies, he is working to establish a Nordic Center as an interdisciplinary platform for dialogue and mutual understanding between the Nordics and California. The Center aims to work through academic exchange, research and student opportunities, including placement with employers, merging Strand’s existing experience from bringing American MBA students to the Nordics and

nordic business // 15

The 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are frequently referred to by Robert Strand. They were launched in 2015 as a framework for addressing the world’s most pressing challenges. As Strand points out, the logos were designed by a Swede, Jakob Trollbäck.

The SDG Index ranks countries in relation to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Nordic countries have held the top 3 positions every year since 2015. (Graph from ”Sustainable Vikings”)

Berkeley Haas’ ties with companies such as Microsoft, Patagonia and Levi Strauss, as well as the University’s proximity to Silicon Valley, a major employer for many of its MBA students. Strand is now in discussions with partners across the Nordic region, including Innovation Norway, leading Swedish universities and the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce about the Center, and is seeking to collaborate with research agencies, industrial foundations and other public and private partners. A major thematic focus will be on building resilient societies in terms of facing shocks such as Covid-19 and addressing growing challenges such as inequalities and climate change. ”We really want to be a platform to foster discussions and debates to both challenge America based on what the Nordics have done and to shine a light on the Nordics to challenge you to continuously improve and have that

outsider perspective that can maybe help to illuminate for you what’s special and unique about the region and where you might have some challenges,” Robert Strand says. In this outsider’s perspective also lies a worry, he says, of people and decision-makers in the Nordics looking too much towards the U.S. for inspiration, rather than seeing what is in the Nordic backyard. ”I realise that far too many listen to me (in the Nordics, ed.) because I am this American guy, and that scares me. I am this American guy in the Nordics telling you to keep doing what you are doing but then do more of it,” Strand explains. ”Don’t go more free market, do go more American, but actually use your competencies to address your challenges,” he continues – then adds: ”I guess I am om a mission.” Robert Strand may be contacted at


nordic business // 16

nordic business // 17


nordic business // 18

Helena Helmersson is shouldering major challenges since taking the helm at Swedish retail fashion giant H&M at the beginning of 2020. While the Covid-19 pandemic is undoubtedly the most urgent challenge, it has also hastened the need to tackle what was already seen as her two biggest tasks: Adapting to the digital shift in our shopping habits and proving that fast fashion and sustainability are not contradictions in terms.

By Bibi Christensen ”This was not what I expected.” These words must count as one of the great understatements of 2020. They were uttered by Helena Helmersson to the Swedish press in early April, when the Covid-19 pandemic had thrown her deep into crisis management mode barely two months after taking charge at the global retail fashion giant H&M. She was being characteristically modest and typically matter-of-fact. Some 80 percent of the group’s shops around the world closed at the height of the global lockdowns, while a dramatic drop in sales trigged financial losses and warnings of potentially thousands of jobs lost, affecting not just H&M’s roughly 179,000 employees, but also thousands of others in the fashion giant’s massive supply chain. Though it was not a challenge she expected, the Swede is clearly aware that the Covid-19 crisis will only intensify two other challenges that were already pinpointed as her biggest tasks when she took over as CEO: Responding to the digital transformation of our shopping habits – something the company was previously seen as slow to do - and taking sustainability to a new level that looks increasingly crucial to the fashion giant’s future. Proving the sceptics wrong Sustainability is where Helena Helmersson is expected to have the biggest impact as head of the world’s second-biggest retail fashion group (superseded only by Spain’s Inditex group, owner of the Zara chain). Perhaps more than anyone in the global fashion industry, she could be the person to prove the critics wrong when they claim that sustainability and fast fashion are contradictions in terms.

It remains a massive challenge: The apparel/footwear industry is estimated to be responsible for some 4 percent of the world’s total CO2 emissions, equivalent to the combined emissions of France, Germany and the UK – three of the world’s biggest economies. And the industry is likely to miss the goal set out in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement of limiting global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees, if it does not act to halve its emissions by 2030. That is the stark warning presented in the Fashion on Climate report released in August by consulting giant McKinsey & Company and Global Fashion Agenda, the Copenhagen-based advocacy forum which seeks to move the industry to take urgent action on sustainability. Taking centre stage Helena Helmersson is unusual for one major reason: She spent five years as the company’s Chief Sustainability Officer and is perhaps the only CEO at major global company to have come from such a role. Her appointment was seen as a strong sign that H&M would push the sustainability efforts that the group began in the 1990s to take centre stage. Helmersson stated as much when she faced her first press briefing as the company’s freshly appointed CEO: ”Sustainability is completely critical to our business and an important part of our values – who we want to be.” A few months earlier, in October 2019, Helena Helmersson received the ”Influential Leader Award” from AACSB, an organisation representing business schools around the

nordic business // 19

world. It was given for her commitment to highlighting not just climate change and environmental issues but also the social and economic aspects of sustainability. In her work, she has influenced the entire industry, it was said. ”When I started as the head of sustainability, it was an area that was still at little bit on the sidelines. There was a great sustainability team, but we didn’t have all countries and departments setting sustainability goals which they were responsible for. That is absolutely the case today,” Helmersson stated at the time, stressing the importance of systemic thinking. Asking herself ”why?” The Swede – who turns 47 in October and is one of the few women to lead a major global fashion company – has worked at H&M since 1997 and has had an impressive career that has led her from being a controller in the purchasing department at the head office in Stockholm, through several years in Bangladesh and Hong Kong working with HR issues at the company’s production plants and overseeing the logistics of H&Ms underwear manufacturing in the region. Helmerson once stated that she wished she had asked herself ”why?” and sought a higher purpose far earlier in her career. She did so only after moving to Asia, which opened her eyes to H&M’s social responsibility, not least in improving the pay and working conditions for thousands of garment workers across South East Asia. The fast fashion industry has been criticised for relying on poorly paid garment workers in developing countries to be able to sell cheap clothes to Western consumers addicted to endlessly buying-and-throwing-away. Helmersson’s appointment as Chief Sustainability Officer in 2010 soon brought her wider attention. In 2014 she was

named by Swedish business title Veckans Affärer as Sweden’s most influential business woman, citing her ”power to change the world” through H&M’s global reach. It was a rare occasion of someone other than a CEO topping the most-influential list. Veckans Affärer predicted that sustainability would be completely crucial to H&M’s entire business model and might be the thing that saves fast fashion. Helmersson then took charge of H&M’s entire global production chain. And to company insiders, her final leap to the top seemed clear when she was appointed Chief Operating Officer in 2018. Soon, she was allegedly referred to internally as the ”Crown Princess”. Though she declared that the offer of the top CEO job was ”completely fantastic and so unexpected”, it was not a surprise to many. Walking the talk But does H&M actually walk the talk? Is the Swedish fashion giant as sustainable as it says? Not according to critics who have long accused H&M of greenwashing to appear more sustainable and earth-friendly than it is. Tellingly, the criticism is rarely aimed at actual steps that H&M has taken towards stated goals such as being a ”fully circular” business by 2030 – by minimising waste, removing chemicals, re- and up-cycling textiles and maximising the use of sustainably produced fabrics - and achieving ”climate positivity” by 2040, i.e. moving beyond net-zero emissions. Last year, when H&M was criticised by prominent anti-fast fashion campaigner Venetia La Marna for plans to make clothes from the sustainable fabric Circulose – made from up-cycled clothing and fashion waste by Swedish company

nordic business // 20

Renewcell – her argument was not that the fabric is not sustainable. In fact, it ticks a lot of boxes. Instead, she argued: ”Ultimately, the sheer amount of product H&M produces is causing irreversible harm to both planet and people and completely outweighs their sustainability efforts. Fashion this fast can never and will never be sustainable.” Some would say this is a like telling oil giants they can never be sustainable. Should they not even try? Helmersson and H&M believe that the impact of a global fashion chain thinking sustainably is inevitably far greater, because its ability to influence reaches from the highest political level down to the local factory floor. She does not deny that it is a work in progress. ”I don’t think sustainability is work that you ever finish,” she stated back in January 2020. The Covid-19 crisis has clearly only made her more determined. She was one of 37 leading CEOs, politicians and leaders from other organisations across Europe who in April signed an open letter pushing to use the crisis to move towards climate neutrality and ”healthy ecosystems” through so-called Green Recovery Investment Packages. Among other signatories were the heads of LEGO, Volvo and IKEA. And in her first extensive interview as CEO, with Swedish business daily Dagens Industri in August, she again stressed that this agenda has only one way to go: much further. ”This entire crisis has made some things clearer. Digitalisation is even more important now, and so is sustainability. It feels incredibly important to us to continue to lead the industry towards a sustainable future,” Helmersson said. This IS something she expects.

FAC T CV Helena Helmersson Born in October 1971 in Skellefteå, Northern Sweden. 1997 Graduates with a Master’s in International Business and Economics from Umeå School of Business. Starts work at H&M in Stockholm as a financial controller. 2007 Moves to Dhaka, Bangladesh, as HR manager at the H&M production plant, and later to Hong Kong, as production manager for underwear in South East Asia. 2010 Appointed Chief Sustainability Officer, based in Stockholm. 2015 Moves back to Hong Kong with responsibility for the global production chain. 2018 Returns to Stockholm, now as H&M’s Chief Operating Officer. 2020 Appointed Chief Executive Officer. Married to Jens Helmersson (they met on the job), two children.

nordic business // 21





M U LT I F O R M D E S I G N C E N T E R 12 7 0 C O P E N H A G E N K


T: + 4 5 3 2 5 0 10 2 1

W : M U LT I F O R M . D K

nordic business // 22


nordic business // 23

A walk along the harbor district of central Copenhagen reveals more than historic impressions of commerce and power. The stroll also shows the footprint of the new generation of tech entrepreneurs who are changing the cityscape.

Tine Thygesen has been a part of the Danish tech entrepreneur community for a decade. Today she develops co-working spaces in the Nordic countries. Photo: Tine Thygensen

By Nikolai Steensgaard In the first decade of the millennium Copenhagen was overshadowed as a tech start-up hotspot by rival Nordic capitals Helsinki and Stockholm, but around ten years ago things began to change. A new generation of intrepid young and technology wise people began clustering to develop a Danish version of the vibrating entrepreneurial scenes seen in other major cities. Their footprint is obvious today. Not only because they were the front-runners of a new generation of working people with new values and ambitions, but also because they contributed to changing the cityscape of Copenhagen. Maybe not when gazing at the historic spires and new high-rises of the city, but certainly when you observe it at the street level with its abundance of co-working spaces and chic cafe’s lined with laptops and working young faces. They are worth meeting, and their history is worth telling. Join Nordic Business for a stroll through Copenhagen tracking the footprint of the startups, who are defining the industries of tomorrow.

A new kind of cooperation The obvious place to begin our journey is the neighborhood of Islands Brygge. Situated in an area which 30 years ago was a rough working-class district west of the historical center of Copenhagen, we find “Founders House�. This is one epicenter of the modern tech start-up scene in the Danish capital. The architecture is one of commerce and industry as it was a hundred years ago. In the backyard of a city block we find a large rectangular brick building, its five stories lined by rusty railway tracks embedded in a pavement of cobblestones. This used to be a central distribution center of the cooperative grocery association FDB, supplying produce such as eggs, milk and flour to the city population. This is the place where ten years ago a group of intrepid young people built the foundations of the new tech-scene in the* Danish Capital. One of them was Tine Thygesen. She was about 30 years old back then and had just returned from a successful business adventure abroad. She was determined to spread some of her new earned skills and started the co-working space, Founders House, in the old and worn FDB buildings.

nordic business // 24

Photo: Scanpix

A historical sign of commerce in the Danish capital is the historical brick building of Danisco, a sugar producer and distributor with ties all around the globe.

“The tech entrepreneur community was extremely small back then. It seemed like we were just 25 to 50 people. Everybody knew each other. Sometimes we would meet up for a beer Friday afternoon and we only needed one table to sit at. Everybody brought beer because nobody had any money,” says Tine Thygesen. Values of a new generation In the aftermath of the financial meltdown in 2008, things were not moving fast in the Danish capital, but the crowd of young people at Founders House was determined to change that. Not only were they focused on creating new products and business models on upcoming technologies such as cloud computing, social media and smartphones, they were also focused on establishing the businesses together.

They wanted to shape the future, and they wanted to do it whilst having fun and in cooperation. “It’s not only because it’s nice and cozy to work close to your peers when you are a small team, it’s basically a question of gaining advantages. Instead of everybody spending time on addressing the same challenges, we try to help each other. We share information on what’s new and how to solve certain problems. That’s extremely efficient,” says Tine Thygesen. This became a starting point not only for the growth of the Founders House neighborhood, which is known as Startup Village today, and houses companies as Vivino and Planday, who employs hundreds of people. It also became a starting point for the tech start-up methodology which since has spread all over Copenhagen, creating new hotspots all over the place.

nordic business // 25

A map shows the walk along the habour district of central Copenhagen.

More than a hundred financial tech start-ups resides at Copenhagen Fintech. The CEO is of the organization is Thomas Krogh Jensen. Photo: Copenhagen Fintech

The industry is catching up If you stroll further east from Founders House along the harbor canal dividing central Copenhagen, the start-up footprint becomes obvious in several ways. Walking east along the pier, you see the historical signs of commerce in the Danish capital. On the northern side rises the 400-year-old spire of Børsbygningen, the goods and stock exchange building of King Christian IV. On the southern side you pass the historical brick building of Danisco, a sugar producer and distributor with ties all around the globe. A few steps further east and a turn to the right brings you to an example of how the start-up methodology has changed industries. Here we find the building housing Copenhagen Fintech, an organization and co-working space supported

by corporations in banking, insurance and pension funds. It was founded five years ago. Today more than a hundred financial tech start-ups reside here. The CEO of Copenhagen Fintech, Thomas Krogh Jensen, explains why the financial sector suddenly found it imperative to start and support the growth of new tech-based companies, which might become future competitors one day. “When you look at disruptive technologies, there are basically two ways of addressing the challenges stemming from it, if you are an established corporation. One is to close your eyes and hope it all goes away. The other is to embrace the new world and become a part of it. This sector saw early on that this wasn’t something that would disappear, and that you might just as well get it to work to your advantage,” says Thomas Krogh Jensen.

nordic business // 26

Today Kasper Vardrup is an investor and mentor for several start-ups. His base is Rainmaking, a co-working space in Christianshavn.

Photo: Kasper Vardrup

Transforming neighborhoods It is not only the financial sector which is eyeing and actively pursuing the next industry breakthrough using start-ups and entrepreneur methodology today. Almost all sectors are. But alongside that development, the tech entrepreneurs are also pursuing their own projects, and this becomes evident if we keep on walking east in the Danish capital. Arriving in the neighborhood of Christianshavn, the cafÊs are inhabited by young tech-savvy faces tapping the keys of their laptops, talking and sipping coffee. We leave the harbor front behind and pass the free city of Christiania on our right, the green wooden fences hiding the 1970s squatting experiment which today has become one of the city’s main tourist attractions. Now we are on the old navy grounds. However, today the large harbor area has been transformed from strictly military ground into a thriving new neighborhood with new

houses supplementing the old buildings originally designed to hold gunboats, shipyards and the like. Situated in a long yellow brick building, we find the organization of Rainmaking. It’s an organization housing co-working spaces, start-up accelerators and investors. It was originally founded five years ago and today consists of ten offices in Europe, Asia, North America, and The Middle East. The kicks of being an entrepreneur Kasper Vardrup was one of the founders of Rainmaking. He believes that the explosion in the number of tech start-ups in the Nordic countries, as well as the rest of the world, is not only driven by industrial demand and the development in technology. It is also a mirror image of a generation of young people who are determined to grab hold of their own destiny.

nordic business // 27

“People are inspired and driven by different things, but for me it’s always been central to experience the freedom of organizing my own professional life. Furthermore, there is something magical about fulfilling your own dreams. That’s extremely exciting, and when you succeed, it feels fantastic,” says Kasper Vardrup. This is something a lot of young people strive for today, but Kasper Vardrup emphasizes that even though the lifestyle might seem alluring, it is probably not suitable for all. “There is a flip side to being an entrepreneur. You are selling your dream to other people and they respond by presenting you with sky-high expectations. That translates to pressure. Sometimes it’s a tough and lonely experience trying your luck with a start-up. It’s not for everybody,” says Kasper Vardrup. The footprint of a generation Back to Tine Thygesen who was a driving force in creating Founders House at the beginning of our journey. Today, she

has expanded her vision creating start-up co-working spaces through Creators Community, a concept which is presently represented at several locations in Copenhagen and the Norwegian capital Oslo. She believes that a new generation of young people are transforming the traditional relationship between employee and employer – something established businesses and industries better catch up on. “I believe we are a mirror image of a new world. My experience is that a lot of young people yearn to work with something that leaves them with the sensation of actively changing things. They want to leave a footprint,” says Tine Thygesen. “They want the freedom to choose when and where they work, and that’s another important trademark of the start-ups. Often, they don’t demand the usual office hours of their employees. The important thing is the output – not the hours spend at work. The modern entrepreneurs are the footprint of a new generation.”

Photo: Scanpix

Danfoss’ start-up department will be one the first to move into a 5,000 sqm large house called Rainmaking by Pier46 on Langelinie Allé.

nordic business // 28


nordic business // 29

The new Yacht Club model has been given a nautical chronograph, where the minute and hour dials are combined in a totalizer, at 12 pm. There is flyback function, allowing you to reset to zero at a push of a button, automatically starting a new timekeeping. The watch measures 44 mm and contains the built-in caliber 89361. IWC Portugieser Yacht Club (ref. 390701). Price DKK 98,600

A particularly cool version of The Portugieser is the new Yacht Club model with lunar phase and a newly developed tidal indicator. There is even an extra indication of particularly strong tides during full moon and new moon which is good to know if you are sailing around Zealand and need all the help you can get. The watch is made of 18 kt gold and measures 44.6 mm in diameter. It comes with a trendy and comfortable blue rubber strap, but only has a water resistance of 3 bar, so best not to submerge in water. It is IWC’s own calibre 82835 that keeps everything ticking under control and provides 60 hour power reserve. IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Moon & Tide (ref. 344001). Price DKK 273,000.

The new 40 mm steel edition is very true to the original, but smaller than the original. IWC Portugieser (ref. 358304). Price DKK 56,000

nordic business // 30

Breitling Navitimer – Ladies edition Breitling’s popular Navitimer has always been a large and masculine watch with a slightly busy dial. As of this year, however, a nifty 35 mm women’s edition has been launched, in a range of elegant variants. You will still receive the fine mechanics with COSC certified automatic clockwork. There are nine variants to choose from – this version comes in steel and 18 kt rose gold and a pearl dial. Breitling Navitimer Automatic 35 (ref. U17395211A1U1). Price DKK 66,700.

Lot’s of love … This fine red model from Carl F. Bucherer is part of the L.O.V.E collection, inspired by Chinese film star, Li Bingbing’s charitable LOVE foundation. The organization supports projects that help people transform their lives into an environmentally friendly lifestyle. The 35.3mm watch is available in nine variants and is seen here in steel and gold. Carl F. Bucherer Manero Autodate LOVE (ref. 00.10922.07.93.21). Price DKK 43,000.

The Ultimate “dream watch” If money is no issue and only the best is good enough, then Vacheron Constantin is the watch for you. At the Vallée de Joux studio, the 1,000 employees produce about 20,000 luxury watches a year (by comparison, about 1 million watches are reportedly made annually at Rolex) Attention is drawn to every little detail. Their speciality is dress watches, and although the Overseas collection here is formally their bid for a sports watch (it is anti-magnetic, shock proof and is water resistant up to 50 meters), a gold dress watch in this category would probably set you back close to DKK 1 million. This 18 kt Rose gold watch measures 41.5 mm and is just 8 mm thick. Inside, 276 tiny parts have been composed to a calibre of 1120 QPSQ with an eternity calendar that is not due to be adjusted until 1 March 2100. Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-thin skeleton (ref. 4300V/120R-B547). Price on request.

This is Askman Design It is often said that great design perfectly balances beauty and function. A balanced design requires reection and thoughtful choices, and when everything comes together, it makes a world of difference.

Tlf.: +45 49138833

HERMANN chair x STAR table

nordic business // 32


nordic business // 33

By Michael Hjortlund, Managing Partner in Valcon


HOW YOUR PURPOSE CAN BE A DRIVER FOR SUCCESS AFTER COVID-19 The COVID-19 crisis has strengthened both the need for strategy and the quest for purpose. During the last six months, I have seen more courageous business decisions than I have seen in the last ten years. In most cases, the decisions were not made exclusively on the executive floor. Many of the launched initiatives were the result of a coalition of employees, suppliers, capital partners and customers. Examples include voluntary wage cuts, voluntary postponements of invoices and “opt to have it later” solutions for customers. These kinds of initiatives can only come into existence when everybody in the ecosystem chips in. You might argue that this is simply normal behaviour in a crisis – people do tend to rally around the flag in a time of crisis. But what if this is simply the new normal? The implications for strategic decision-making are huge. A company capable of integrating a coalition of customers, employees and suppliers in the formation of their strategic choices will have manoeuvrability vastly beyond their competition. It makes me wonder, whether this is the final victory for purpose-led businesses? Studies carried out during the COVID-19 crisis show that the majority of CEOs have come to regard their company’s purpose as more important in the COVID-19 crisis. And that they need to work with their purpose in the aftermath of the crisis. The idea that purpose-led companies outperform the market is not a new one. More than 40 years have passed since the first books on the subject hit the bookshelves, and multiple studies have demonstrated that purpose-led companies outgrow competitors. The last decade has seen purpose surge into marketing with all kinds of companies trying to sell their purpose to consumers. And lately, focus

on sustainability has led many to redefine or strengthen their purpose. However, what is new is that purpose comes into play in engaging the ecosystem to protect the company and the purpose in a time of crisis. Hence, the question is not whether to pursue a purpose-led business model but rather how you go about it. Some companies have chosen the DNA route by connecting their history and achievements in a forward-looking purpose that engages customers and employees in the brand. This is the natural route for companies already working with products or services that have a positive impact on society in some form. Many pharmaceuticals pursue this route. Others choose a “purpose add-on” strategy, fighting e.g. to reduce the carbon footprint of doing business. This route is often followed by companies without an evident inherent societal impact in their core business, such as logistics providers. There is a third route as well. Identifying a new purpose for your business. And going for it with whatever you have to do in order to redefine your business. This means taking courageous, irreversible strategic decisions before it is selfevident that these are profitable. Ørsted, the Danish energy company, could be such an example as they took the renewable energy route very early on in the climate game. No matter which route you take, the competition for purpose is on. Customers, employees and entire ecosystems will go for strong and credible purposes. Winners in the short run may be the best storytellers. In the long run, however, it requires much more. The real question becomes how you embed your purpose in every corner of your company and how you engage your entire ecosystem in that quest.

nordic business // 34 By Frida Bratt, Savings Economist Nordnet Bank Sweden

Sustainable Investments

THIS IS HOW SAVERS SHOULD AVOID GREENWASHING There is a jungle of labels available to the private savers with the purpose to make it easier to avoid greenwashing. But sustainable investing is still difficult. Perhaps, and hopefully, a new EU regulatory framework, the taxonomy, could be an important part of the solution. Today, it´s difficult for a saver to evaluate, analyze and critically examine whether a product with the words “green”, “ESG” or “SRI” really keeps what it promises. Is the investment really sustainable, and worth its higher fee? To their help, the private savers in Sweden have a plethora of labels and rating systems to choose from, in the form of globes, leaves, swans and other markers. These classifications can help as individual pieces in a bigger puzzle, but they have their shortcomings. One obvious challenge is that there´s no clear and common definition of what “sustainable” really means when it comes to investments. Should a fund manager for example exclude all “bad” companies in order to obtain a higher sustainability rating? Or is it better to start a dialogue with the company and try to influence the business to move in a sound direction? Perhaps the answer to this great challenge that the industry

faces towards savers is just around the corner. The EU has developed a standard, with common guidelines for what is required for different economic activities to be compatible with climate goals. This standard should form the basis for labeling sustainable products, and it´s called the taxonomy. Fund companies and others who offer sustainable products to savers will have to inform about the extent to which their products are compatible with the taxonomy. This is a big and important thing for both the industry and for savers, and it therefore deserves a lot of attention. Hopefully, the initiative will be expanded from focusing only on the environment, to also take social aspects into account. This can be invaluable for everyone who wants their saving to be sustainable – and quite a few of us do.

*Greenwashing is a form of marketing spin in which green PR (green values) and green marketing are deceptively used to persuade the public that an organization’s products, aims and policies are environmentally friendly and therefore ‘better’ appeal to nature”

nordic business // 35

nordic business // 36

SWEDEN BEST IN THE WORLD ON AGENDA 2030Â Of the 193 member countries of the UN, Sweden has reached the highest level in the work on global goals, according to the Sustainable Development Report 2020 ranking.

Photo: Sustainable Development Report.

nordic business // 37

Sweden has achieved 84.72 percent of the global goals for sustainable development and is thus the country in the world that has come along in the work with Agenda 2030. The leading position is highlighted in this year’s Sustainable Development Report, which ranks the world’s countries by how close they are to is to meet Agenda 2030. According to the ranking, Sweden has achieved four of the 17 goals; no poverty, global health and well-being, equality and sustainable energy for all. For other goals, challenges remain and for two of the goals, sustainable consumption and production as well as combating climate change, major challenges remain to reach all the way forward. Sweden is followed by Denmark and Finland in the top tier and according to the report, most development in the global goals has been in Asia since Agenda 2030 was launched five years ago. At the same time, the current corona pandemic is expected to have a negative impact on most of the 17 goals. “As the report shows, clear progress was made in Agenda 2030 before the pandemic broke out. With the right policies and strong global collaboration, we can restore that development in the coming decade, ”said Jeffrey Sachs, professor and chair of the Earth Institute at Columbia University who led the work on the report, in a comment. The ranking is published by Cambridge University Press.

nordic business // 38



By Bibi Christensen


From a certain Swedish teenager advocating against climate change to strange goings-on at one of the world’s biggest sovereign investment funds, here is our list of five individuals charting the highs and lows of the past few pandemic-stricken months in the Nordic business world.

nordic business // 39

Getting the world’s attention Greta Thunberg, Swedish climate activist, is increasingly a name that pops up across the global business world, from Davos to many a corporate head office feeling her influence not just in real life but on social media. Thunberg has now reached 10.6 million followers on Instagram, increasingly also a platform where CEOs are starting to pop up. By comparison, Bernard Looney, head of oil & gas giant BP, has just 11,400 followers.

Denmark’s most watched Perhaps this year’s most eagerly watched job change at the top of Danish business was the appointment of Mads Nipper to lead energy company Ørsted. He has large shoes to fill: Departing CEO Henrik Poulsen successfully transformed Ørsted from black oil to green energy, but Nipper has his own impressive credentials from pump-maker Grundfos and Lego. Last year, he even suggested writing green rights and obligations into the Danish constitution. One to follow.

Blowing in the wind Helle Østergaard Kristiansen, CEO of Danske Commodities, is well on the way to turning the energy trader into a global force. Her move from CFO to CEO last year led her to be the only Dane listed on Fortune’s Most Powerful Women in Business outside the US, at number 31, citing the company’s influence on the world’s energy markets. In august, she landed the company’s biggest-ever contract, to trade energy from the world’s biggest wind farm, Dogger Bank, now being constructed in the British part of the North Sea.

A billionaire causes a stir Norway’s Nikolai Tangen, a billionaire hedge-fund manager and art collector, took up a most surprising job at the beginning of September after being appointed to manage Norway’s oil wealth in the state investment fund Oljefondet. Until a few days before, there was uncertainty as to whether he would actually be able to take the job after all, with much skepticism as to whether he would be able to cut ties to his own significant wealth, thus avoiding numerous conflicts of interest.

Trouble on the fjords Until a few months ago, Daniel Skjeldam seemed to have one of the most enviable jobs in the world, leading Hurtigruten, Norway’s most famous cruise operator, known and loved for sailing on the spectacular routes along the country’s stunning fjords. Less loved is Skjeldam for appearing to mismanage an outbreak of coronavirus on one of the company’s cruise ships.

nordic business // 40

By Anders Birch, Partner in Valcon

HOW TO MAKE A SUCCESSFUL REBOUND‌ NOW AND BEYOND COVID-19 2020 has been impossible to predict so far. And we still do not know what the rest of the year will bring. Or what 2021 will look like. But as CEO, you still need to be able to look ahead and be proactive. We need to acknowledge the dynamics and speed of the changes we are facing that call for new ways of defining and executing strategy. The good news is that this is not a reinvention of the wheel. It is not about changing the course of your company. It is about how you get there.

nordic business // 41

How to prepare and execute a winning rebound strategy Certain characteristics define those organisations which have been able to thrive under challenging circumstances and even to take advantage of the opportunities that a crisis such as COVID-19 also represents: 1. 2. 3.

An adaptive and accelerated approach where strategy and execution are done simultaneously Leaders who act as role models and communicate the long-term purpose and direction while they also empower the organisation by allocating decision-making power and responsibility A balance between cutting costs to survive in the short term and investing to grow tomorrow

Adaptiveness and empowerment go hand in hand As Jens-Peter Poulsen, Managing Director in Kvik A/S, explains it: “We did not change our overarching strategy because of COVID-19. Instead, we simply made it crystal clear to everyone in the organisation that we had two main priorities: the health of our people and our customers and the financial health of our store network after COVID-19. The execution of these priorities was then defined at local level and with incredible success. Communication and empowerment were key to our success.” Purpose and leadership matter, now more than ever! You must be able to define and articulate the purpose of your organisation, and you need to trust the people in your organisation to make the right decisions that are aligned with the overall purpose. Accept that in times of crisis, most organisations need more leadership and less management. Making a successful rebound when a crisis emerges is not a one-person job. It requires that the full potential of the entire organisation is released, which again requires leaders to act as role models and to set a clear direction.

One example of a company that has worked actively with the above three elements during the COVID-19 crisis is the Danish company Kvik A/S. The company manufactures and sells kitchens and has more than 150 franchise stores throughout Europe and Asia. Kvik A/S is looking into a record year in 2020.

“It was inspiring to see the motivational force of the burning platform. We accelerated several digitalisation projects and for example rolled out a beta version of a new video meeting platform for stores to engage with customers on. The beta version was by no means perfect, but we did not receive a single complaint. Everyone was fully committed to getting us through this, and everyone was pulling in the same direction,” explains Jens-Peter Poulsen. Master the balance between cutting costs to survive today and investing to grow tomorrow Cost cutting can be necessary to survive in the short term. However, you cannot afford to jeopardise the long term. Changed market dynamics often pose new opportunities for growth, which is why investing disproportionately in selected potential growth opportunities is key for the longer term. At the end of the day, your rebound strategy is not about reinventing the wheel. It is about setting a clear direction, constant course correction and continuous communication about both to your entire organisation.

nordic business // 42


By Marie-Louise Arnfast A.P. Møller-Mærsk is one of the major fuel consumers that has spotted the potential in electrofuels as a possible alternative to the bunker oil that is now used to power the company’s ships. With a fleet of some 700 vessels, Mærsk is the biggest container shipping operator globally, and with its ambition to be carbon neutral by 2050, Mærsk sees a particular challenge in helping to push the development of Power-to-X. ”We see two ways of getting fuels that are not based on fossil sources. One is through biomass, and the other is through power from sustainable sources such as solar and wind power. We are betting on both and believe it’s too early to lock in on any particular future fuel. But we need to hurry if we are to meet our goal,” says Ole Graa Jakobsen, Head of Fleet Technology at Mærsk. For this reason, A.P. Møller-Mærsk has partnered

with energy company Ørsted, transport companies DSV and DFDS, as well as Copenhagen Airport and Scandinavian Airlines to pursue a vision of developing a potential 1.3 GW plant near Copenhagen to generate hydrogen and other sustainable fuels over the next 10 years. ”Our contribution to the partnership is as end users to look at what changes need to be made to our ships in order for us to start using electrofuels. And at the same time, we need to look into what changes need to happen in the entire bunkering system and supply chain in order to switch to these new fuels,” Ole Graa Jakobsen says. Even in its fully-fledged form, this project with a 1.3 GW plant by 2030 will only be able to supply a small number of Mærsk’s fleet with fuel - and supplying the entire global shipping industry would take 1000

nordic business // 43


plants of the size of the one planned near Copenhagen. But Mærsk sees this project as a start – not least in terms of positioning Denmark in this area. ”As a global company, we rely on having access to fuels across the world, and if we can help, through this initiative, to kickstart electrofuels in Denmark and hopefully other places, that would be great. We want to contribute to positioning Denmark, which has some completely unique opportunities in this field. We lead in wind power, and we also have a number of companies at the cutting edge of some of the technologies that are needed in Power-to-X,” says Ole Graa Jakobsen. Switching to electrofuels will require a fair amount of investment in existing ships and in the supply chain. But the biggest challenge, according to Ole Graa Jakobsen, lies in developing these new fuels and

building the industry to deliver them. This is where incentives are needed: ”There will be a transitional phase where we will start to have the new fuels as an option parallel to the fossil fuels, but where the new ones will be much more expensive. We need to find some incentives to make it possible to bring in the new fuels. This might be in the form of a carbon tax on fossil fuels that could be used to make green fuels cheaper,” Ole Graa Jakobsen says. Parallel to the goal of being carbon neutral in its operations by 2050, Mærsk is also working to reduce its relative fuel consumption through improving the efficiency of its vessels, so that CO2 emissions per container transported will, by 2030, be reduced by 60 percent from 2008 levels.

nordic business // 44 The Power-to-X plant HyBalance has since 2018 demonstrated how to store electricity in the form of hydrogen on a large scale.



nordic business // 45

By Marie-Louise Arnfast Only a few years ago, most people looked confused if you proposed that hydrogen might play an important role in the green transition. Everyone knows about the importance of wind turbines, but most found it surprising to learn that there might be major perspectives in converting wind power to hydrogen through electrolysis in order to store green electricity. But within the past few years, the potential of so-called Power-to-X has spread far beyond university circles as an important technology that may help us solve some of the hardest aspects of the green transition. Electrification of everything that can be directly powered by electricity is the easy and most energy-efficient bit, and that development is in full bloom: Wind turbines and solar panels supply sustainable energy to the power grid, and this green electricity is then fed to heat pumps, industrial boilers, electric vehicles and so on. But what do we do about the things than can’t be immediately powered by electricity – such as heavy long-distance transport by plane, ship, train or truck? This is where the Power-to-X concept has come to the fore. The X typically stands for hydrogen, methanol or ammonia – and common to these products is that they are fuels that originate from electrical power which is sent through electrolysers to split water into oxygen and hydrogen. The hydrogen can then be used in its gas form to power transport vehicles – or processed further into liquid fuels – electrofuels – that can be poured into the engines of cars, ships and airplanes. This technology is not new – but it is still a challenge to reach the critical mass necessary for Power-to-X to really matter in the green transition. One issue is that it consumes a lot of electric power. It is not cheap either – although much has happened in the past few years: Wind power has become massively cheaper, while the technology around electrolysis

is developing fast, which will contribute to making it financially attractive to invest in this type of installation long-term. Pioneering projects With copious amounts of wind and much experience in sustainable energy, the Nordic region is well positioned to lead the development of Power-to-X technologies. In fact, there are already a number of pioneering projects happening in this area. In Denmark, a hydrogen plant near the town of Hobro has demonstrated how to convert electric power to hydrogen on a large scale. Since it opened in late 2018, the HyBalance plant has produced some 120,000 kilos of hydrogen for use in transport and industry. The first drops of green methane have also started to drip from the Power2Met pilot plant in the city of Aalborg which is expected to produce 300,000 litres a year, and a large-scale Power-to-X plant is also on the way at Skive. Recently, a partnership between the energy company Ørsted, the shipping giant Mærsk, transport companies DFDS and DSV as well as Copenhagen Airport and Scandinavian Airlines, has started to explore the possibility of building a 1.3 GW Power-to-X installation near Copenhagen to use electric power from one of two energy islands that the Danish government proposed to establish in its recent climate plan. Power-to-X is also mentioned as a particular focus area in this climate plan which was approved by a wide majority in the Danish parliament in June.  Norway and Sweden have also started looking into Power-to-X over the past few years This summer, the Norwegian government adopted a hydrogen strategy, and while much of the hydrogen that this strategy focuses on is so-called blue hydrogen, made by reforming natural gas and storing CO2, promoting so-called green hydrogen, based on renewable power,

nordic business // 46

is also part of the strategy. With the North Sea as its nearest neighbour, Norway has obvious potential in drawing power from offshore wind turbines, and the country is on home turf with electrolysis technology. The Norwegian company NEL Hydrogen, which makes electrolysers, has grown significantly over the past few years, exporting its installations to a number of countries. Sweden also has a national hydrogen strategy on the way; there are plans to convert railway lines to hydrogen, and most recently, the Swedish company Liquid Wind secured a billion Swedish kroner to build a plant that aims to produce some 45,000 tonnes of green methanol a year. The aim is to build six methane plants by 2030. Clean transport and industry Generating hydrogen is central to all Power-to-X products, since hydrogen is a main ingredient in all X-products. In order to convert hydrogen to methanol, a carbon source is required, which might for example come from a biogas installation that has excess CO2 from degassing manure. The carbon source might also come from industrial processes where CO2 is captured and recycled for further use before being released into the atmosphere – also called Carbon Capture & Usage. To make ammonia, nitrogen is added to the hydrogen. Both methanol and ammonia can be used in the transport sector. Methanol can be mixed with ordinary petrol, up to a certain percent, and used in most recent car engines. Pure methanol requires special engines based on fuel cells that convert the methanol to electricity. But Power-to-X is not just of interest to the transport sector. Hydrogen, methanol and ammonia have multiple uses – in production processes, in the pharmaceutical industry and in agriculture. Today, such products are made while releasing large amounts of CO2. By replacing

the fossil-fuel-based hydrogen with green hydrogen – made through electrolysis using sustainable power – it is possible to significantly reduce CO2 emissions. Balancing the power grid Another interesting aspect of Power-to-X is that the hydrogen production can be used to balance the power grid. When more and more power on the grid comes from fluctuating sources such as solar and wind power, it becomes important to find mechanisms to store power over periods of excess capacity – for instance if the wind blows at night when power consumption is low. Instead of stopping the wind turbines or sending this power to neighbouring countries – which will need this power less as they build more wind turbines themselves – this excess capacity can be used to produce hydrogen through electrolysis. Conversely, mechanisms are also needed to stop the consumption of power at times of peak demand, such as after work when families return home to power up their stoves, ovens, washing machines and maybe their electric vehicles: the so-called peak load. The HyBalance hydrogen plant at Hobro in Denmark has shown that the special electrolysis technology PEM is well suited for balancing the grid, and the plant has been approved by Danish energy authorities to bid in all power markets, enabling it to deliver so-called ancillary services to maintain the balance on the e-grid. This is why Power-to-X is interesting in so many ways in relation to the green transition. There is much talk of this concept becoming a new business adventure for the companies and countries which are first movers with the technology, infrastructure and economics in terms of large-scale generation. The Nordics are well positioned to do this, but other countries south of the Danish border are also moving fast with Power-to-X at the moment.

nordic business // 47

Look globally for your next employee We are specialists in international recruitments no matter where in the world you need new employees. We cooperate with leading job boards in 140 countries and carry out all the work for you from our offices in Denmark. We offer you one contract, currency and time zone. Call us at +45 7225 1525 and learn how we can make your international recruitment simpler than ever.

nordic business // 48


INSPIRATIONAL NORDIC WOMEN IN CSR Sustainability is not only a competitive parameter. It also attracts and strengthens the relationship between businesses and customers. As the customer’s demand for sustainable products increases, so does the demand for companies to communicate their initiatives in this field. In fact, an increasing number of customers are looking at a company’s initiatives on sustainability before looking at the products themselves. This provides fertile ground for strengthening the relationship between company and customer.

The increasing demand therefore means that the value of the CSR strategy has reached the top of the market. Fortunately, there are many extremely talented and inspirational Nordic women who work hard to create a better carbon footprint and social responsibility for the companies they represent. Nordic Business has selected 10 Nordic women in different industries who work dedicatedly to create better conditions for both people and the environment.

nordic business // 49

nordic business // 50


Annemarie Meisling has more than 15 years of experience within areas such as sustainability, communication, public affairs & branding from working at leading international companies and institutions, including Chr. Hansen, Novo Nordisk, COWI, IFC, World Bank, the Confederation of Danish Industries, the US Congress and the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She is also the vice-chairman for the organization, One\ Third which is a research organization that focuses on the prevention of food wastage. She has previously been recognized for her ability to link sustainability to business, and in May 2019 was promoted to Senior Director, Corporate Affairs at Chr. Hansen. After Annemarie Meisling had worked for more than 3 years as Director of Sustainability at Chr. Hansen, the

company was named the World’s Most Sustainable Company by Corporate Knights in 2019. She has said that there is a lot of support for sustainability from Chr. Hansen’s CEO, Maurico Graber which has created a good grounding throughout the organization and one of her focus areas is to involve the employees and teach them how they themselves can contribute to a sustainable development in companies both large and small. Annemarie Meisling graduated from Copenhagen University and holds a master’s in Sociology of Law. Annemarie Meisling: ”Not one sustainability director can change the sustainability of a company, nor can one company change the world alone. It’s about finding partners to drive a systemic approach to solving the world’s challenges”.

nordic business // 51


Photo: Suezanna Zenani

Louise Koch is the Corporate Sustainability Director for Dell Technologies in the International Region, covering more than 170 countries. Her work is driven by a passion to build a better world through business. Louise believes that business holds an unlimited potential to develop sustainable solutions by activating the power of innovation, business thinking, and global relations. Louise is leading Dell Technologies’ corporate sustainability sales enablement and customer engagement programs, working closely with colleagues, customers and partners to share and develop Dell’s corporate sustainability program, and identify new opportunities for business development through sustainability Louise is an appointed member of the Danish Government’s Council for Sustainable Business & the UN Global Goals and member of the Sustainability Council in the IT Industry Association in Denmark.

In February 2016 and again in 2019 Louise was listed as the Global 100 Most Impactful CSR Leaders by the organisation World CSR Day. She is also a recognized international expert on CSR and sustainable business development. Louise is a Member of Faculty at University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability in Leadership, and a well-known speaker in media and at international conferences about CSR and sustainability business across Europe. Louise holds a master degree in Anthropology and Innovation from the University of Copenhagen. Louise Koch: ”The strongest driver of sustainability is a cocktail of business case on the value for customers and business, passion of employees, and commitment from management”.


Ingrid Reumert is a dedicated professional who is the driving force behind a new concept for corporate climate and nature action called Lifetime Carbon Neutral where companies take responsibility for both past and future CO2 emissions. ▶

nordic business // 52

She is also striving to increase awareness about the need to make buildings sustainable and forging debate about regulatory requirements on CO2 for new buildings. This includes an inventory of how much CO2 a building emits, right from the initial design phase, throughout the life of a building and until all, or parts of it, are demolished. She has previously held the title of Director of Global Public Affairs for the Danish defence company, Terma and has worked as a political adviser to the Conservative Party in the Danish Parliament and in the European Parliament, Brussels. Ingrid Reumert is also Vice-president of the interest group SYNERGI and Vice-president of the Climate Partnership for construction, which the Danish government set up in Autumn 2019 to make

recommendations for Denmark’s future climate action plan. Ingrid Reumert holds a Cand.scient.pol (Political Science) from Aarhus University and has also studied at Sciences Po, Paris, France. Ingrid Reumert: “At a time when the planet is facing dual climate and nature crises, I hope our commitment will raise the bar for corporate action. We will capture our historical carbon emissions – all the CO2 we have emitted since our foundation in 1941 - by investing in forest and biodiversity projects developed and managed by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). It will make us Lifetime Carbon Neutral by our 100-year anniversary in 2041”.


Signe has been at the forefront of Coop’s CSR strategy for almost 8 years, which now includes so many sustainable initiatives and new initiatives that they are assembled on a brand-new inspiring site ( One of the overall 12 focus goals is to reduce Coop’s use of conventional plastic by 25%. In this context, Signe has been behind the initiative for Coop to re-use part of the plastic sheeting in which the goods are wrapped during transport, for the production of sustainable recycled plastic bags. Another focus has been to minimize food waste, which has led to local collaboration with several organizations handling the distribution of surplus food to local citizens. Coop was ranked as the top sustainable B2C company in

Denmark by SSI (Sustainable Brand Index™) in both 2018, 2019 and 2020. Signe has previously worked as Head of CSR at Irma, Senior Advisor within Climate & Environment at FDB and as Project Manager at WWF. She is board member in the organizations ”Forum for Food, Meal and Health”, Dakofa and Danish Ethical Trading Institution. Signe Didde Frese has a Cand.Tech. Soc. Degree in Environmental Planning from Roskilde University, where she graduated in 2006. Signe Didde Frese: ”At Coop, we don’t just have an ambition to cut down on the plastic in our goods, we are also working on all options for recycling the plastic”.

nordic business // 53


Anna Ryott is globally known as a business activist with a goal to change the world to a better place through business, capital and creativity. She has worked as deputy CEO at Norrsken Foundation supporting the ecosystem of and investing in impact tech entrepreneurs. Before that she was CEO of Swedfund – the Swedish development finance institution and has also worked in managing positions at Unicef, SOS Children Village, McKinsey and Storåkers McCann. Today she is a board member of several boards, including Axel Johnson, Norrsken, Dagens Industri, LGT Lightstone, Cake Electric Motorcycles and she is also senior advisor of Summa Equity - the private equity company that invests to solve global challenges. In 2019 she co-founded Heart17 – a global initiative with the vision of creating a better tomorrow for everyone by accelerating the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals through partnerships, creativity and imagination.

In 2018, Anna Ryott was named Sweden’s most powerful female change maker by Veckans Affärer and 2014 she was awarded the “HM Konungens Medal” for “Significant contributions to Swedish society and industry”. In 2019 she was named Sweden’s most powerful social changer and in 2020 she was chosen as one of the 125 most powerful businesswomen in Sweden by Dagens Industri. Anna Ryott: “If we can unleash this unquantifiable, irrepressible human force all at once, we can fundamentally change the world. Alone, a ripple. Together, we can be a tidal wave of change”


Pia Heidenmark Cook is Chief Sustainability Officer at Ingka Group, the largest IKEA Franchisee with 377 stores in 30 markets, and known as a customer-centric leader in enabling the IKEA vision of creating a better everyday life for the many people. She is leading the sustainability agenda, together with a team of sustainability professionals, setting bold goals for the company, securing required ▶

nordic business // 54

prerequisites and creating movement among the 160 000+ co-workers to achieve them. Pia is also spending time meeting with other companies, governmental bodies and NGOs to engage and collaborate on the big topics of our time, that we need to come together to solve. Before joining IKEA in 2008, Pia was VP of Corporate Social Responsibility at the Rezidor Hotel Group and chaired during this period the tourism branch of Prince of Wales Business Leader’s Forum, a membership organization for major international hotel brands. Pia has a strong passion and drive for sustainability and has since 1996 worked, with, lectured and studied sustainability topics across academia, consultancy and business. She often gives speeches, participates in panels

and collaborations, for instance at Corporation Cambridge Institute for Sustainable Leadership, Climate Week, WBCSD, WEF events and Sustainable Brands. Pia holds a Technical Licentiate degree, a M.Sc. in Environmental Management, from the University of Lund, and a M.Sc. in International Business Administration and Economics from Uppsala University, Sweden. Pia Heidenmark Cook: ”Consumers increasingly want to stand up for what they believe in and seek out brands that share their values. We’re on a journey towards becoming climate positive and circular by 2030. Most things remain to be done, but the action we take today defines the future. No time to waste, together we can change the way forward.”


Emelie is often referred to as ”the creative one” and makes sustainability both fun and understandable. She often posts short videos at e.g. LinkedIn where she talks about Sweco’s Urban Insights in a truly fun and inspirational direct way. She started her career in Sweco in 2015 as a sustainability consultant and is also a known public speaker within CSR. Prior to her employment at Sweco, she established her own sustainability consultancy company in 2011. She is board member of Mistra (organization for climate-strategic research) and board member in Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board at Berghs School of Communication.

Emelie has also established a recognized blog called Miljömamman (The mother of environmental awareness) which aimed to raise awareness regarding sustainability and the (lack of) protection of our common environment. The blog got nominated in the prestigious Mama Blog Award 2011. She holds a degree from the University of Stockholm within Climate and Energy. Emelie Persson Lindqvist: “My responsibilities include making sure we live as we learn within our own company and that we develop our business in the changing market due to the Paris agreement and the SDG´s”.

nordic business // 55

Photo: Bjørn Wad


Ellen is overall responsible for developing and driving the implementation of Orkla’s sustainability strategy across Orkla’s companies. Prior to her employment at Orkla in 2009, she held the position as Communication Manager at Nidar, where she represented Nidar for 12 years and worked at strengthening Nidar’s reputation and organizational capabilities. Ellen was also a member of Nidar’s Innovation Board. Ellen has furthermore been a member of the Board at Ethical Trade Norway for 6 years where she has been the Chair of the Board since 2017. She holds an MBA from Arizona State University and has studied Economics & Business Administration at Norwegian School of Management. When Nordic Business

announced the nomination of Ellen as one of the 10 Inspirational Nordic Women in CSR, she immediately said: ”My role also gives me the opportunity to contribute to positive development together with other companies, organizations and individuals, for example through the board of Ethical Trade Norway or the Forum for Circular Plastics Packaging. Therefore, I regard the nomination as a recognition not only of myself, but of the collective efforts of many”. Ellen Thorsrud Behrens: “As a Sustainability Director, I’m a sort of travel guide and cheer leader for our many companies on their way towards realizing the sustainable future that we all want for Orkla and the global community”.

nordic business // 56

Photo: Sigurd Fandango


Cecilie Kjeldsberg is deeply passionate about a world where everyone has got the opportunity to become financially independent. With her 29 years of age, Cecilie Kjeldsberg is the youngest nominated on this list. Nevertheless, Cecilie was only 16 years old when she started rallying for equality and women’s rights. After living in Nepal for a year, she experienced that the women didn’t earn any money on their vegetables, even though they worked incredibly hard. “For someone who is from Norway, it was strange to see women who have so little influence over their own job and income”, she says. That was the takeoff for founding Better Living Projects, which runs a sewing center in India. The business started in 2018, and the center employs 15 local women with no education, who are trained to sew. The women sew ethical and sustainable carrying nets and aprons that are sold both locally and to the Norwegian corporate market. Cecilie is educated within Development, Environment and Nutritional Science and due to her study of Nutrition for Global Health at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, she completed her MSc project about Women’s Empowerment. Cecilie Kjeldsberg: “My belief is that tremendous progress towards gender equality and diversity can be made if global trade stops socially excluding, and starts creating jobs for women and minority groups under decent working conditions”.

nordic business // 57

Photo: Charlotte Wiig


Silje is publicly known for standing up to companies’ use of greenwashing (greenwashing is a form of misleading marketing in which a product or business is presented as better than it actually is in terms of impact on climate, nature and people). She has written several articles for the Norwegian Finansavisen, as well as for the Danish Financial Information Agency, together with Ida Pernille Hatlebrekke, which has resulted in the launch of the Norwegian greenwashing site grø with cooperation from organizations such as Skift – Sustainable Businesss Leaders, Zero and WWF. Silje previously worked as Head of Sustainability & Technology at Nor-Shipping, Head of Smart City at Oslo Region and as a Technology Strategy Manager at Inven2. She holds a Master of Science ( from Norwegian University and Technology (NTNU) and is specialized in Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Organizational Psychology. She has previously been a member of the Board of Advisors at Mesh and member of the Global Future Council on the Future of Russia, chaired by the World Economic Forum. Silje Bareksten: “It is not a shame not to have managed to become sustainable in 2020, it is the very few companies who actually are, but it is a shame to take advantage of companies that work hard, invest and innovate to adapt to greener operations”.

nordic business // 58


NORWAY PÅ DEN ANDRE SIDEN NORDIC TALKS The concept of ‘Nordic Talks’ is based on live and online events where the brightest Nordic minds are invited to share their insights and ideas on solutions to some of the challenges facing the whole world. The talks focus on the UN SDGs aim at sustainable development. Everything from climate change to demographic, political and social changes and challenges are discussed. The audio quality of the podcast is clear and good, and is hosted by Afton Halloran, a Canadian who has lived in Denmark for a decade. Afton has a professional and empowering tone of voice and she is great at introducing and presenting the issues to the listeners in a pleasant way. Each podcast runs for approx. 30 minutes, and each episode concludes with suggestions from the listeners as to which tangible actions they, the listeners can take.

“Life as we know it” has been brought to a standstill, due to the global Covid-19 crisis. Should we just continue in the same direction? Or do we use this unique opportunity to change our actions and attitudes towards a more sustainable planet. We are at a tipping point now and need to make historical changes in creating a more sustainable world. But the question is how do we get there? In this new podcast, host Randi Lillealtern and producer, Kirsti Svenning – will answer this question together with various qualified professionals, who in turn, will each give their opinions and suggestions. The podcast releases a new episode each week and every episode will run for 30 minutes. The host Randi Lillealtern demonstrates her great interest in the subject in a very insightful and curious way which draws you to every word she says. The dialogues between her and the guests are interesting as the people that are interviewed, are experienced professionals who gladly share their knowledge and concerns regarding the future.

SWEDEN KLOTET Klotet is one of the ‘older players’ within Podcast and is known as science radio’s international environmental podcast. Klotet podcasts have more than 200,000 loyal listeners and has been in existance since 2009. The podcast focuses on sustainability, climate changes and green topics that are discussed in the current public debates in both Sweden and the rest of the world. Each episode lasts approx. 45 minutes and a new episode is released every 2-3 weeks. The podcast is produced by Sweden’s Radio P1 which probably is the main reason for an extremely successful and very professional production and clear sound. Host, Niklas Zachrisson speaks very clearly and in an easy pace which makes the podcast easily understabable for Norwegian and Danish listeners as well. High quality environmental journalism that brings you spectacular insights and knowledge in a very productive way.

nordic business // 60


nordic business // 61

New, luxurious modern homes and hotels are being built at a rapid pace. Fortunately, some establishments choose to restore and convert these historic buildings into new luxury hotels. Impressively, their ambition to combine today’s luxury and demands for sustainability, is successfully achieved in the historical buildings and spectacular surroundings. If you do not favour historic buildings, but prefer luxurious art decor and the relaxed atmosphere that was popular in Palm Springs in the late 60’s and early 70’s, one of the new luxury hotels is striving, and succeeding in recreating this experience.


nordic business // 62

HIGHLY ANTICIPATED HOTEL SETS A NEW STANDARD About Villa Copenhagen Villa Copenhagen is set in the century-old Central Post and Telegraph Head Office dating back to 1912. The 390-room hotel holds a prime location next to the famed Tivoli Gardens and the Meatpacking District, offering conscious luxury complemented by intuitive and personalized service. Social Spaces Villa Copenhagen features ample outdoor and interior green spaces to promote a sense of wellbeing and tranquillity across its public areas. Meetings and Event Spaces - Villa Copenhagen offers 24,757 square feet of flexible meeting and event spaces for smaller gatherings or large events of up to 1,200 attendees. 25 meter Rooftop Pool Villa is one of the few hotels with an outdoor pool in Copenhagen. Heating of the pool is 100% sustainable, as it is heated by the excess heat from Villa’s cooling system.


nordic business // 63

Cuisine Executive Chef Tore Gustafsson is responsible for Villa Copenhagen’s sustainable food profile, which focuses on ‘carbon-free’ dining and zero food waste. Rooms Inspired by grand Copenhagen residences and with an aesthetic note of Vilhelm Hammershøi the rooms of Villa Copenhagen are set to provide a both Danish and European, well-traveled and yet outward looking feel.

Villa Copenhagen delivers an exquisite experience for all senses and is a new social scene in Copenhagen allowing the past, present and future to come together in an inspiring and playful ambience. Tietgensgade 35-39, 1704 Copenhagen, Denmark


nordic business // 64

AN URBAN GET-AWAY THAT SURPRISES YOU ALL THE TIME Ellery Beach House is Stockholm’s newest get-away and only Beach Resort. Ellery is located on the tip of LidingÜ, where urban life feels far away in the rural surroundings. It is easy to understand that Ellery also has a vision of being an alternative for the guest who chooses to go to Como in the summer and Capri in the fall. The hotel wants their

guests to feel that something lovely is about to happen as the staff and surroundings are driven to surprise and service in a charming and warm way. With a devotion to creating homely, comfortable environments Ellery makes the perfect getaway. It is not just an ordinary hotel, rather a destination, where you can be your best self.

nordic business // 65

menu will be set accordingly and also features an indoor pool, fireview room and treatment rooms. There are three bars, where Bally Bar in the lobby is the epicenter. Here it feels a little like being in an episode of Mad Men, mysterious, but clear. Great music, good drinks, pinball, shuffle, billiards, ping pong and lots of nice sitting areas.


Restaurants Ellery has two restaurants. Palmers is inspired by cities like Athens, Tel-Aviv and Beirut. The concept there is all about family-style dining, where you rip and dip and share the dining experience with others, as you do around the Mediterranean. The other restaurant, Coco Beach Club, is inspired by the west coast of the United States and the

Outdoors there are two pools that are heated all year round, two saunas, padle courts & boule. The hotel has 122 rooms, gym, pools, paddle courts, boule courts, 11 conference rooms and treatment rooms. Elfviks Udde - 181 90 Lidingรถ STOCKHOLM - SWEDEN


nordic business // 66

5-STAR LUXURY HOTELS - WITH A VIBRANT ATMOSPHERE IN HISTORICAL SURROUNDINGS The new boutique hotel, Amerikalinjen, has respectfully taken its name from the building the hotel has moved into. The property of Amerikalinjen, was the former headquarters of the now non-existent cruise ship company Norwegian America Line, which ferried hopeful Norwegian immigrants across the Atlantic Ocean to the US. The property was originally designed by prolific Norwegian architects Andreas Bjercke and Georg Eliassen in 1919. Now, a century later, the grand Neo-Baroque pile has been spruced up and polished by local firm Kritt Architects who, have carved out 122 beautiful rooms and suites and a series of humming public spaces. The hotel’s ground floor and basement present a series of four vibrant restaurants, bars and a number of meeting and party rooms. The

building’s maritime heritage has been preserved to some extent, and it has been possible to recreate a Norwegian, classic armchair from the 60s, just as the hotel’s drinking glasses are made from the same Norwegian glassworks that supplied drinking glasses to the cruise ships in the 5Os. The top room is the Triton Suite, which has a separate living room and bedroom in addition to a spacious bathroom and a balcony overlooking the Opera House and the Oslo Fjord. Rooms Led by the building’s original façade and wide corridors, the rooms are appropriately defined by their high ceilings and commanding paned windows, while the suites – the Norwegian America Line’s former boardrooms – boast original ornate ceilings.


nordic business // 67

Bathroom Helsinki-based studio, Puroplan has smartly created a sense of space by separating the bathroom with a decorative white opaque glass panel and adding a smoked-glass mirrored wall behind the bed. Amerikalinjen is a luxurious boutique hotel with ambiance of old travelling and modern comfort with a perfect central location and a well-recommended breakfast. Address: Jernbanetorget 2, 0154 Oslo (Norway)

nordic business // 68

nordic business // 69

UN 17 Village is built on the last plot in Ă˜restad. The project has the first ever concrete solution to all of the UN’s world goals in a single building project. Foto: TMRW.

GREEN TRANSITION OCCURS ALONG WITH INTERDISCIPLINARITY By thinking interdisciplinary, you can cut short the traditional way of thinking, resulting in innovative solutions. This is done at Sweco, who thinks about the climate debate within the company but at the same time helps customers choose the correct solutions, and in doing so, makes the green footprint possible.

nordic business // 70

By Pia Bundgaard Hansen Every year, Sweco is responsible worldwide for more than 1,000 different constructions in 70 countries. The main focus of these constructions is to optimize eventual sustainability. An interdisciplinary working group that generates new ideas at Sweco, has recently prepared a tool that is being implemented. The tool screens all aspects of sustainability 360 degrees around the building - even before it takes shape. “At Sweco, you meet engineers with a capital E, and architects with a capital A, which is how it should be. Nobody should have to compromise on their professionalism, but it will be interesting to see, that when professionalism is combined, sustainability becomes a priority”, explains Dariush Rezai, CEO of Sweco Denmark, who is currently the advisor in Denmark that is behind

most DGNB certifications and pre-certifications within the sustainability standard, DGNB – a sustainable certification that balances the environment, economy and social conditions equally. Danish standards for the UN’s 17 world goals As part of a multidisciplinary partnership, Sweco has been selected to develop a national starting point for Denmark as a nation to measure the UN’s 17 sustainable world goals. The ”Our Goal” project also means that the Danish population should have an even better knowledge of the World Goals. This is the first time ever that a nation is developing its own indicators of how to measure the UN’s 17 world goals and 169 sub-targets. As part of the project, the partnership behind “Our Goals” will produce three reports. The reports will

nordic business // 71

Artistkarreen in Ørestad. A new residential building in Copenhagen, which is DGNB-certified for DGNB Gold, focusses on mainly on indoor climate, health and outdoor areas.

The Blue Edge –  climate protection of Svendborg Harbour. The project is currently Denmark’s largest climate protection project.

specifically contain a minimum of 169 Danish indicators - a minimum of 1 for each sub-target that are relevant to measure in Denmark. “As part of the partnership, we have a unique opportunity to shape the development of Danish society in a more sustainable direction, and as Europe’s largest engineering and architectural company, we look forward to contributing our knowledge and expertise in the sustainable development of the world’s cities”, says Dariush Rezai. Climate is worth investing in It is through the work of solving tasks on behalf of customers that Sweco is helping to set the largest green climate footprint, but within the company the green transition is high on the

agenda. An agenda such as Dariush Rezai’s, encourages even more companies to take part in, and to be willing to pay for it. One thing that frustrates Dariush Rezai, is when the Danish climate debate loses its momentum and results in it not costing anything to society, consumers or businesses. -If a value does not cost anything, then you may have to ask yourself whether it really is a value to the company? I don’t think it’s necessary to study piles of spreadsheets to make some climate-friendly decisions that can help influence the choices of others and the demand in society. At Sweco, for example, they are happy to pay a little extra for the employees to travel with electric taxis instead. -It is also about the choices, we make based on

nordic business // 72

Nørrestrand is Denmark’s largest nature and urban development area north of Horsens. Here, Sweco’s architects, engineers and biologists are working on designing a brand new landscape city, where everything from climate adaptation to biodiversity and different family structures are combined in one project.

Dariush Rezai, CEO at Sweco Denmark .

our 800 employees in Copenhagen, and soon in the rest of the country, helping to motivate others. When our employees commute with electric taxis, we help to strengthen a demand in society and therefore strengthen the market to obtain more climate-friendly transport. It is also no coincidence that Sweco’s headquarters are right next to a metro station, as this should help to encourage the employees’ decision to make use of a more climate-friendly public transport option. A working group at Sweco who focuses on climate, has also invested energy in figuring out how to secure green electricity in their buildings, as well as investigating

whether employees’ retirement savings can become greener. In all their offices you will find trash cans with four compartments, sorting waste for recycling. -I think we can all make a difference because the sustainable mindset is about breaking old habits and setting new standards. It therefore makes sense in the big picture when environmentally-conscious Danes bother to collect garbage in the harbour, as the strongest driving force of green transition, is driven by the people and their culture, says Dariush Rezai. He stresses, that it is precisely the public’s mood and motivation, that has really driven the climate debate here in Denmark.

nordic business // 73

Management must create the values Dariush Rezai has no doubt that working with the green transition begins with the management of a company, but it is important that the employees carry the transition through. Administration must take responsibility and set the goals, so that the sustainable transition becomes a value in line with others. Management must look in the mirror and set an honest and clear course so that sustainability does not become a phase, but that a real ambition is put in place. -Green conversion is very much about getting started. Don’t overanalyze everything but make some sustainable decisions, even if it costs extra. It ultimately will pay off, he ends.


The partnership behind ”Our Goals” consists of Deloitte, Geelmuyden Kiese, Sweco, Dansk Energi Management, Kraka, RUC and AAU. The partnership has been designated for the task by Statistics Denmark. The project is supported by the Danish Industry Foundation, the Lundbeck Foundation, Nordea foundation, Realdania, Ramboll Fonden and Spar Nord Fonden. Behind the project is the 2030 panel established by the 2030 network, the parliaments’ Nonpolitical Network for the UN World Goals.

nordic business // 74

BEST BUSINESS BOOKS THE MIND OF THE LEADER, BY RASMUS HOUGAARD The world is facing a global leadership crisis. 77 percent of leaders think they do a good job of engaging their people, yet 88 percent of employees say their leaders don’t engage enough. Based on extensive research, including assessments of more than 35,000 leaders and interviews with 250 C-level executives, The Mind of the Leader concludes that organizations and leaders aren’t meeting employees’ basic human needs of finding meaning, purpose, connection, and genuine happiness in their work. But more than a description of the problem, The Mind of the Leader offers a radical, yet practical, solution. To solve the leadership crisis, organizations need to put people at the center of their strategy. They need to develop managers and executives who lead with three core mental qualities: mindfulness, selflessness, and compassion. Using real-world inspirational examples from Marriott, Accenture, McKinsey & Company, LinkedIn, and many more, The Mind of the Leader shows how this new kind of leadership turns conventional leadership thinking upside down. It represents a radical redefinition of what it takes to be an effective leader--and a practical, hard-nosed solution to every organization’s engagement and execution problems.

ATOMIC HABITS, BY JAMES CLEAR No matter your goals, Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for improving--every day. James Clear, one of the world’s leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results. Clear is known for his ability to distill complex topics into simple behaviors that can be easily applied to daily life and work. Here, he draws on the most proven ideas from biology, psychology, and neuroscience to create an easy-to-understand guide for making good habits inevitable and bad habits impossible. Along the way, readers will be inspired and entertained with true stories from Olympic gold medalists, award-winning artists, business leaders, life-saving physicians, and star comedians who have used the science of small habits to master their craft and vault to the top of their field. Atomic Habits will reshape the way you think about progress and success, and give you the tools and strategies you need to transform your habits--whether you are a team looking to win a championship, an organization hoping to redefine an industry, or simply an individual who wishes to quit smoking, lose weight, reduce stress, or achieve any other goal.

nordic business // 75

FACTFULNESS, BY HANS ROSLING “Factfulness is one of the most educational books I’ve ever read”- Bill Gates “Factfulness” is written by the Swedish doctor and statistician Hans Rosling, his son Ola Rosling and daughter-in-law Anna Rosling Rönnlund. The bulk of the book is devoted to ten instincts that keep us from seeing the world factfully. These range from the fear instinct (we pay more attention to scary things) to the size instinct (standalone numbers often look more impressive than they really are) to the gap instinct (most people fall between two extremes). With each one, he offers practical advice about how to overcome our innate biases.  It turns out that the world, for all its imperfections, is in a much better state

than we might think. But when we worry about everything all the time instead of embracing a worldview based on facts, we can lose our ability to focus on the things that threaten us most. “Factfulness” is a book about lies and statistics that will help the reader see their surroundings through facts rather than through their emotions and dazzled intuition which is extremely necessary in these times filled with ‘fake news’ and pathos-laden political arguments. Inspiring and revelatory, filled with lively anecdotes and moving stories, Factfulness is an urgent and essential book that will change the way you see the world.

GREAT AT WORK, BY MORTEN T. HANSEN Why do some people perform better at work than others? This deceptively simple question continues to confound professionals in all sectors of the workforce. Now, after a unique, five-year study of more than 5,000 managers and employees, Morten Hansen reveals the answers in his “Seven Work Smarter Practices” that can be applied by anyone looking to maximize their time and performance. Each of Hansen’s seven practices is highlighted by inspiring stories from individuals in his comprehensive study. You’ll meet a high school principal who engineered a dramatic turnaround of his failing high school; a rural Indian farmer determined to establish a better way of life for women in his village; and a sushi chef, whose simple preparation has led to his restaurant (tucked away under a Tokyo subway station underpass) being awarded the maximum of three Michelin stars. Hansen also explains how the way Alfred Hitchcock filmed Psycho and the 1911 race to become the first explorer to reach the South Pole both illustrate the use of his seven practices (even before they were identified). Each chapter contains questions and key insights to allow you to assess your own performance and figure out your work strengths, as well as your weaknesses. Once you understand your individual style, there are mini-quizzes, questionnaires, and clear tips to assist you focus on a strategy to become a more productive worker. Extensive, accessible, and friendly,  Great at Work will help you achieve more by working less, backed by unprecedented statistical analysis.

nordic business // 76


nordic business // 77

Digital health solutions are an essential part of the solution to a global challenge for health care in all major countries. The challenge is very simplistic, as we are living longer and, as a consequence, an increase in chronic diseases that need treatment which will result in an increased expense for treatments of patients.

Digital health solutions are an essential part of the solution to a global challenge for health care in all major countries. The challenge is very simplistic, as we are living longer and, as a consequence, an increase in chronic diseases that need treatment which will result in and increased expense for treatments of patients. The extended life-expectancy is a major health benefit, but it does not come free of charge, and no country today has a future-proof and fully funded health model that is 100% geared to meet citizens’ rising expectations accompanied by the pressure of increasing costs. When digitization can be a crucial contribution to future-proofing and adaptation of the health service and the way in which we organize it, it is mainly due to the fact that digitization and intelligent use of health data, if properly grasped, can support and streamline four crucial elements of importance for the quality and price of healthcare. Digitization and intelligent use of health data can strengthen both predictability (who, how many get ill and of what), prevention of diseases, the use of personal or tailored medi-

David Munis Zepernick, Head of Business Development, Medicon Valley Alliance.

cines (which treatment works for which patient) and patients’ co-ownership of their own health (with increased knowledge of my own disease, how do I, as a patient optimize my own health). The challenges for patients and health services are, as mentioned, global. For the proper solutions and associated products and services, that create tangible added value and improved quality for both patients and healthcare, there is therefore also a huge global business potential. It is not surprising that this has attracted the interest of a wide range of players and industries, including, of course, the so-called GAFAM Group (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft), which traditionally has not had health as its main focus. The task and potential to find future-proof solutions for the health care of the future has also resulted in a boom in innovative partnerships between more classic pharmaceutical and medico companies and an undergrowth of small and medium-sized IT, Tech and Mobile companies.

nordic business // 78

Denmark and Sweden are well equipped The good news is that the Nordic countries have not only recognized the need but have also increasingly recognized the potential and have put words into action. Digital health is thus a cornerstone of both the newer Danish and Swedish national life science strategies and in the broader public health strategies, Denmark and Sweden, both consistently ranked in the top 10 in virtually any ranking of the use of e-health solutions, digital health, Smart Health etc. Nevertheless, contact, coordination and thus the possibility of strategic ”cross-pollination” between Denmark and Sweden are unfortunately limited. The Danish and Swedish life science strategies, which, because of the many similarities between our societies, are based on many of the same challenges and are thus conceived very transparently in parallel, but isolated, national political processes. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The Nordic countries’ two undisputed leading life science nations could also opt for a less competitive and more partnership-bases course, including the area of digital health.

















Digital Health Index from Bertelsmann Stiftung

Medicon Valley – the focal point for a Danish-Swedish pairing and partnership? With the support of the governments of Copenhagen and Stockholm, Denmark and Sweden could become the focal point for digital health in the Nordic region. A Danish-Swedish partnership could help cement and future-proof the Nordic region’s current position at the forefront of the field. Medicon Valley and the Öresunds Region could appropriately add ”laboratory facilities” to such a Danish-Swedish joint venture. Region Skåne is thus not only geographically unique as a bridge builder between Copenhagen and Stockholm but Region Skåne’s tech companies already attract a disproportionate share of the total investment in start-ups in the Nordic region. Tech aficionados will know that both Bluetooth and the world’s first mobile phone were invented in Skåne. We should be able to benefit from this, also in Denmark.



















Shaping emotions since 1834


nordic business // 80


The new Aston Martin will only arrive in 2021, but if you’re interested, it will soon be your last chance to place a deposit.

The new Aston Martin RB 003 Coupe is the wildest road car ever from the legendary British marque. The company’s partnership with the Red Bull Formula 1 team has resulted in an insanely powerful engine with a whacking 1,000 HP. A handful of these ‘hypercars’ are expected to land in Denmark in 2021. ▶ By Kåre Peitersen

lynggaard | cph


nordic business // 82

Son of Valkyrie’s turbo V6 engine provides 1,000 HP, giving it a top speed of 354 km/h.

If you’re considering throwing around a million euro into a sports car with 1,000 HP and acceleration from 0-100 km/h in 2.5 seconds, you have every reason to read on – because in that case, the new Aston Martin RB 003 Coupe is just right for you. It was presented at the benchmark Geneva International Motor Show in March, and is the result of a new collaboration with the Red Bull Formula 1 team. ‘Son of Valkyrie’ In addition to its slightly dry designation, the car has also been given the catchier nickname ‘Son of Valkyrie’, because it is the third in a line of hypercars launched by Aston Martin in recent years – the first two of which were the Valkyrie and the Valkyrie AMR Pro, respectively. 500 of the new models are being produced, at a price of approximately EUR 1 million (+ VAT and taxes), and believe it or not most of them have already been ordered, even though they won’t be ready until 2021. “It’s really a Formula 1 car that has been normalised, so that it’s legal to drive on ordinary roads. But in all likelihood it will not run on Danish roads, because even though we already have several orders, they’re for customers who see this either as an investment or as a car to run exclusively on closed tracks,” explains Mogens Lindahl-Jessen, General Manager of Aston Martin Denmark.

The cabin and cockpit have been designed on the basis of a ‘less is more’ philosophy, which Aston Martin calls Apex Ergonomics.

Made of carbon fibre The design of Son of Valkyrie is a natural continuation of the two previous hypercars, but it is nonetheless all its own, says Miles Nurnberger, Aston Martin’s Design Director: “In some areas the design is not as extreme as in the previous models, while in others we have pushed the design to the limit in order to incorporate experience and technologies from Red Bull Advanced Technologies.” The car is built from carbon fibre, which makes it light and strong. And for a road car, it has a quite exceptional degree of downforce. “It looks fantastic, and it even has the potential to increase in value. If you’re interested you can still be put on the list and place a deposit, but we can’t guarantee anything,” says Mogens Lindahl-Jessen. Visit Aston Martin on Strandvejen As mentioned, Son of Valkyrie will not be coming to Denmark for a couple of years yet, but if you want to see what Aston Martin has to offer here and now, the newly-renovated Aston Martin showroom on Strandvejen is definitely worth a visit. Here you will find both new and used cars for sale. “We are seeing an increasing demand for used models, so we always have a large selection of cars with 3-10 years behind them, and which as a rule have not been driven very far. Prices start at around one million Danish kroner for a well-maintained Vantage. Another option is a leasing model, in which you can for example make a deposit of DKK 100,000, and then lease the car for DKK 5,000 per month,” says Mogens Lindahl-Jessen.

For more information, see:


Design by Foersom & Hiort-Lorenzen MDD

Nest is a combination of a classic look and craftsmanship. The design facilitates style and ambience wherever the lounge furniture is included. The series comes in both an indoor and an outdoor version. The indoor version is bent in the beautiful natural rattan and comes with many different possibilities of cushions.


nordic business // 84