Tag Archives: Sustainability

Rising Leaders Afterwork with Airthings: From an Idea to a Global Scale Up

Rising Leaders Afterwork with Airthings: From an Idea to a Global Scale Up

Rising Leaders and AmCham members gathered at Airthings’ modern Oslo headquarters.

CTO and Co-Founder Erlend Bolle kicked off the meeting with a candid, humorous retelling of the Airthings story, highlighting key moments in their incredible journey from Norway-based startup to international scaleup.

Founded in 2008, the company’s products have made radon detection easy to deploy, as it is accurate and user friendly. The products have changed access to monitoring and analyzing radon and other indoor air pollutants.

Fast forward to today, and the company has established offices in the US, Canada, and Sweden, with over 140 employees from over 30 nations. Over 300K monitors have been sold worldwide.

Creating sustainable hardware products from start to finish - and everything in between

Airthings’ Sustainability Manager Erwin Hasselbrinck shared his background from Greenpeace, his passion for the environment and how he approaches his mission of creating a sustainable hardware product from start to finish.

Hasselbrinck continues establishing Airthings’ circular principles – embedding UN Sustainable Development Goals into Airthings’ core business. The key has been to involve employees across all departments in the search and assessment of solutions to create circular and sustainable business practices and value chains.

With the recent launch of their newest indoor air quality monitor, the Space CO2 Mini, considered the company’s most sustainable product to date, they have managed to reduce carbon footprint by 50% compared to their first all-around product in the same category. Loaded with features, Space CO2 Mini is equipped with additional sensors for temperature, relative humidity, air pressure, noise, light, virus risk and occupancy.

Erlend Bolle

Erwin Hasselbrinck

Not only is the hardware more sustainable, the addition of these new technologies and sensors helps facility managers to radically reduce energy consumption and use energy more efficiently while proactively fostering a healthy indoor air climate for occupants, benefiting both the planet and their bottom line.

As buildings use 40% of the world’s energy – and 30% of that comes from heating, ventilation, cooling, and lights – being able to make data-driven decisions, regulating according to when people are actually present, and reallocating energy usage when necessary, unlocks significant cost savings.

The presentations were followed by a highly engaging group discussion where participants could ask questions, followed by the opportunity to mingle with representatives from Airthings and AmCham member companies. AmCham thanks the Airthings team for their hospitality, willingness to share their stories and taking the time to answer questions from the group.  

About the Rising Leaders Program

Rising Leaders, a joint AmCham-US Embassy initiative, brings together entrepreneurs, young professionals, and student leaders in an innovative program that promotes diversity and connects promising talent. Through the program, participants engage international business leaders, learn about AmCham member companies, explore careers, and gain business and leadership skills.

The 2021-2022 Rising Leaders class – comprised of 18 women and 10 men between the ages of 22 and 35 – bring with them experience from healthcare, classical music, urban planning, organizational psychology, immigration, engineering, communications, technology, teaching, economics, finance, and marketing. All 28 program participants have demonstrated leadership, entrepreneurial, and/or business excellence in their educational pursuits and careers thus far.

For more information about the program, or to learn how your organization can get involved, please contact Madeleine Brekke.

Rising Leaders: Core Values and Coincidences

Rising Leaders participants visited Accenture Norway’s headquarters where they were welcomed by Managing Director and Head of Accenture Technology, Torbjørn Eik-Nes. As the first in-person company visit in many months since the pandemic, participants were eager to absorb Eik-Nes’ career insights and professional guidance.

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AmCham Sustainability Forum: Urban Mobility & Sustainable Devices

AmCham Sustainability Forum: Urban Mobility & Sustainable Devices

Convening digitally for the latest AmCham Sustainability Forum, participants welcomed Kathrine Strøm, Development Manager, Transport & Urban Design at COWI and Jonas Bergersen, Social Impact Sales Lead Norway at Dell as session presenters.

As a prelude, Kristian Noll, senior at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, presented key findings from his research report Fueling the Green Transition: The Scope and Impact of Norwegian Environmental Policy in a Decade of Change. A former AmCham intern and recipient of St. Olaf’s Rand Scholar Award, Kristian became aware of the prevalence of sustainability as part of social and corporate discussions in Norway. He posed and answered the questions: “To what extent are civil and corporate attitudes toward environmental sustainability influenced by governmental policy” and “to what extent do these attitudes reflect a genuine commitment to sustainable practices?”

Presenters

Kathrine Strøm – Development Manager, Transport & Urban Design

Jonas Bergersen – Social Impact Sales Lead Norway

Kristian Noll – Department of Political Science (former AmCham Intern)

Oslo’s Paradigm Shift

Kathrine Strøm from COWI presented The Green Shift in Urban Mobility, focusing on their green city and green mobility strategy in collaboration with Oslo municipality. COWI is an international consulting group specializing in engineering, environmental science, and economics. On the consolidation of varied consulting expertise under one roof, Kathrine remarked that she “finds the synergy effects we can make between us very effective when it comes to making a more sustainable city.”

Strøm described how, in 2019, Oslo was named the European Environment capital, providing accelerated incentives for the municipality to pursue environmental action. With Oslo’s road traffic constituting approximately half of Co2 emissions in 2020, an apparent opportunity to reduce emissions lies in reducing of emissions through traffic. For the first time in Norway, a public body, namely Oslo’s municipality, is dismissing the time is money paradigm as it pertains to transportation, as the roads are no longer merely designed around cars but also non-motor-driven transportation.

In addition to the strategy and design of Oslo’s urban roads and spaces, Strøm presented a project where COWI contributed to a more sustainable construction site, where building was performed with electric digging machines on cable and battery, replacing diesel engines, which consequentially meant a less noisy building process to the benefit of construction workers and city dwellers. One unresolved aspect of the project was that not all materials used were emission-free, and some trees were removed due to an intricate process of planting on such fundaments. Taking learnings and inspiration from this project, all buildings and constructions sites in Oslo municipality shall be emission-free from 2025. The named initiatives have contributed to a healthier, safer, more beautiful city to live in and visit, with less emissions and a reduction of flooding hazards.

Design Innovations and Consumer Responsibility

Jonas Bergersen outlined the goals, strategies, and design behind Dell’s devices, including their work with sustainable materials and packaging innovation, noting the need to make products as repairable and interchangeable as possible. Dell develops, sells, repairs, and supports computers and related products and services and has adopted new innovations at each step. Notable is their sustainable approach to material usage, including reusing and reforming metals that may previously have been discarded, and utilizing airplane carbon fiber surplus production in their devices, as well as ocean-sourced plastics. The goal is that materials, where possible, are reclaimed and recycled, and will enter a closed-loop system to ensure longevity for the life span of their products.

In addition to the devices themselves, another aspect of sustainability is to reduce energy intensity both when being built and when in use. Although sustainable packaging is an important step on Dell’s quest for sustainable offerings, the device itself constitutes the most energy required and represents a higher carbon footprint, making the significance of the device’s life span an important aspect to communicate to users.

In addition to Dell’s own efforts, they rely on their partners to support their sustainable mission and have made it a priority to educate on the importance of taking sustainable steps. Bergersen was also adamant about the responsibility that we as consumers have to perform our own due diligence with suppliers when procuring devices.

On a corporate level, the selection and discarding of electrical equipment can help companies reach their own sustainability goals if opting for sustainably viable solutions. “Don’t only measure the last mile” Bergersen said in response to client requests for device delivery to their offices, for example by EV’s. Such an initiative is positive; however, it doesn’t take into consideration the entirety of the device’s production process.

To conclude, Bergersen shed light on the world’s vast data volume, namely data stored in clouds, which is forecast to increase exponentially by 2025. The storage requires energy currently generated from non-green production. Again, we as consumers and individuals can help reduce data volume by deleting unnecessary files from the cloud to contribute to more sustainable energy consumption.

About Sustainability Forum

Future success is dependent upon running a sustainable business – for people, the planet, and profit. Hence, AmCham brings select, cross-industry member company representatives together on an ongoing basis to discuss opportunities, facilitate open exchange and determine how AmCham members can best contribute to Norwegian and US sustainability agendas going forward.

Read more about our Sustainability Forum and please contact Margrethe.Harboe@amcham.no for interest in future meetings.

Recent Sustainability Forums

Nordic lead on shipping’s decarbonisation

Have Nordic countries laid down a roadmap for the rest of the world to follow when it comes to decarbonising shipping? New research from the International Transport Forum (ITF) believes so. Its recently published Lessons from the Nordic Region report concludes that Nordic countries are among those with the highest ambition and greatest number of maritime technology demonstrations in the world. Consequently, the Forum has showcased the pioneering efforts being made by Nordic countries to reduce the environmental impact of maritime shipping, aiming to encourage more cohesive global decarbonisation efforts.

The report, initiated by the Nordic Council of Ministers and funded by Nordic Energy Research, found that accelerated innovation is important in a sector dependent on long-lasting assets like ships and that policy is a “critical tool” to stimulate the deployment of maritime low-carbon technologies.

Read the full article here

Forbes: Who Are The 100 Most Sustainable Companies Of 2020?

A ranking of the organizations doing the most to embrace sustainable business practices was revealed Tuesday at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Compiled by Canadian research firm Corporate Knights since 2005, the Global 100 list ranks corporations with revenue in excess of $1 billion based on key metrics of sustainability, among them carbon footprint and gender diversity.

Topping this year’s list is Denmark-based renewable energy provider Ørsted. The first electricity company to earn the distinction of No. 1 climbed 69 spots since 2018 thanks, in part, to the way in which it has reinvented its business model over the past decade. “They completely revamped their core business from being a pretty coal-intensive utility to being almost a pure-play renewable power provider,” says Toby Heaps, cofounder and CEO of Corporate Knights.

Read the entire article HERE.

MAREX: Norwegian Spill Response Firms Take Aim at Ocean Plastic

A consortium of Norwegian researchers and environmental response companies plans to use oil spill response technology to clean up ocean plastic and other marine waste. The group, which calls itself “Clean Oceans,” has been designated an “Arena cluster project” by the Norwegian government’s R&D agency, Innovation Norway. 

The consortium will apply Norwegian oil spill prevention and response technology to help solve the challenges of plastic and other marine waste in oceans and waterways. It has its roots in the Norwegian Oil Spill Control Association (NOSCA), the professional forum for Norwegian oil spill prevention and response companies. Well-known members include Sintef, Framo, Kongsberg Satellite, the Norwegian Coastal Administration and Equinor, among many others.

Read entire article HERE.

MAREX: DNV GL Helps Washington State’s Maritime and Tech Sectors Converge

Pursuing Washington State’s vision of being a world-class, thriving and sustainable maritime industry by 2050, WA Maritime Blue, in partnership with DNV GL and Impact Washington, hosted the inaugural Blue Forum: Uptown Tech Meets the Working Waterfront. 

Bolstering the Maritime Sector

The Blue Forum: Uptown Tech Meets the Working Waterfront is the first in a series of information sharing and networking events designed to strengthen Washington State’s maritime sector by fostering its connection with other key sectors within the state. This initial forum targeted the state’s robust information and communications technology sector and convened maritime and tech industry leaders and stakeholders in Seattle to examine and discuss the role and opportunity for data, digitalization and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, and the challenges for optimization and decarbonization of the state’s maritime industry. 

The Forum provided a unique opportunity for knowledge transfer on challenges and technology readiness for solutions. It also served to connect stakeholders to explore the potential for collaboration through developing Joint Industry Projects (JIPs) that will break down silos and support the transformation of the state’s maritime industry.

Read entire article HERE.