Tag Archives: Three Questions

Three Questions with Lars Tomasgaard, Managing Director – Nordox

THREE QUESTIONS WITH

Lars Tomasgaard

Managing Director, Nordox

Nordox has a leading position as a global supplier of dicopper oxide (cuprous oxide), with origins dating back to 1886. Please describe how the chemical is utilized in different industries.

The chemical’s unique qualities make for varied use. Nordox builds upon its long history, adapting to technological changes and new market requirements.

In the marine industry, dicopper oxide is used as a biocide in antifouling paints. Slightly elevated levels of copper on ships’ hulls prevents the build-up of foulants, avoiding increased fuel costs caused by friction from marine growth.

In conventional and organic agriculture, dicopper oxide is used as fungicide for the protection of a wide range of agricultural, horticultural and forestry crops.

Other applications range from fish farming and animal feed production, textile and building materials such as roofing granules, to heavy duty applications in the ceramics and glass industries.

Please tell us about Nordox’ US operations, such as types of export use and geographic regions.

The US is Nordox’ second largest market after China, with a long history of working with US companies and vendors. Some of these collaborations date back 50 years, in addition to newer relations to entrepreneurs who have had great success in implementing dicopper oxide in their products.

In terms of use areas, we are seeing some innovative ways of utilizing copper, an element that has long been known to have antibacterial and antiviral properties. For instance, we supply cuprous oxide to the US for use in hospital bed linens, face masks, bandages, other medical supplies – and even in socks for military use.

In agriculture, dicopper oxide is ideal for warm and moist areas where bacteria typically thrive, such as in California, from Fresno up to the Canadian border, and in Florida. In California, for instance, where weather can be dry, dew forms at night, as well as rain during winters. For organic wine production, US wineries utilize Nordox products since they are OMRI-certified.

The utilization of fertilizers and related industrial products are key to ensuring agricultural predictability and feeding the world’s population. What role do Nordox products play in supporting food production, such as a fertilizer on soils with a copper deficiency?

Dicopper oxide is an important tool to prevent crop loss due to fungicidal infections and copper deficiency. Lower yields mean less food produced per area. Our products protect an area corresponding to three times Norway’s arable land.

Bonus question! What is your favorite destination in the United States?

That has to be Portland, Maine! I like the sea and lobster. I have visited once before and would very much like to return. I vividly remember and thoroughly enjoyed the air and atmosphere.

Three Questions with Bob Blue, Bonterra

THREE QUESTIONS WITH

Bob Blue

Founding Winemaker, Bonterra, California

Founder, 1000 Stories Bourbon Barrel Aged Zinfandel

When coming up with a new method for winemaking, such as using bourbon barrels for aging, where do you find your inspiration?

Similar to trends we see in the culinary space where consumers are interested in crossover experiments like fusion cuisines and exotic flavor-enhanced traditional fare, there has also been a demand for innovation in the beverage industry. We’re curious, and we like to push the status quo. We began aging Zinfandel in bourbon barrels as an experiment, and were blown away by the complexity and depth of flavor we discovered. Bourbon barrel aging is interesting because it is so powerful, and the reaction of the wine in the barrel is very fast. From a winemaker’s standpoint, the changes happen quickly, so you have to taste often and be very engaged with the process, working at a different cadence than regular winemaking.

How do you think American wines have developed the past 20 years, and where do you see them going from here?

In the US, we see a lot of interest in premium and above wines, which means consumers are investing more in their wines than ever before, and we also see a movement away from seasonality and tradition. Whereas before folks would stick to tried-and-true varietals and styles for certain occasions and seasons, we’re now seeing people jettison these notions and drink what they want, when they want. It’s very exciting, and we look forward to continuing to meet consumers where they are, and offer them quality wines that resonate. Looking ahead, sustainability and selectivity will be key factors as folks continue to seek out quality products with strong sourcing stories that showcase alignment with their values.

What are the most important things that winemakers have to think about today? Sustainability? Grape purity? Sourcing and supply chains?

We see the climate crisis as a key risk for all business, and certainly wine. That’s why our business sits down with legislators in our state and in Washington, DC to advocate for legislation in support of climate-smart practices for businesses, farms and society. We work with our grape suppliers to help them convert to sustainable practices, now with 90% of our supply chain certified. And all of that happens before we get the grapes into the winery! We’re laser-focused on quality for our wines, and quality of life for our colleagues. As a Certified B Corp, we’re held to higher standards for governance, worker fairness, environmental protection and community support—and we will continue driving on all these areas as essential counterparts to the everyday project of making wines people love.

Bonus question! Have you ever traveled to Norway, and where would you like to visit? 

Yes! I have been to Norway about five times starting in about 2001. Always to Oslo, which is a really enjoyable city to tour and enjoy great food. But on my most recent trip, just before the pandemic, I was able to fly from Oslo to Trondheim for a special dinner with consumers.  The city is beautiful and so interesting.  And then we drove out to Hitra island to see crab processing and have a lunch out on the island.  I loved the auto touring experience through the countryside, the tunnels and finally out to the beautiful seaside. Now on my dream travel list is to return Norway and drive the country on a vacation.

Three Questions with Angeliqua Ramming-Gaden

THREE QUESTIONS WITH

Angeliqua Ramming-Gaden

Senior Nordic Partner Development Manager, Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Having worked in the IT industry for over 20 years, have you observed notable developments or initiatives for women in the technology workplace?

I see a lot of development in the Inclusion, Diversity, & Equity (ID&E) for women and all diverse talent in the industry. It is a topic that is much more openly discussed and addressed now compared to when I started. There is more research and numbers to compare female and male representation in all roles of a company. It has taken a lot of hard work to get where we are today and there is still a lot to do. A great thing is that I see a lot of companies, including AWS, having ID&E on the agenda and actively working towards getting more diverse talents in their organizations in all levels and also encouraging women and girls to seek a career in IT in general.

Representation matters. At AWS we track the representation of women and underrepresented communities because we know that diversity helps us build better teams that obsess over and better represent our global customer base.

When building teams, how does diversity weigh in?

Diverse teams help us think bigger, and differently, about the products and services that we build for our customers and the day-to-day nature of our workplace – this is reinforced within our 16 Leadership Principles, which remind team members to seek diverse perspectives, learn and be curious, and constantly earn others’ trust.

At Amazon, we’re constantly learning and innovating – and our inclusion, diversity, and equity efforts are no different. Inclusive, diverse, and equitable teams have a positive impact on our products and services, and help us better serve customers. We know there is more work to do, and we have several programs designed to help improve the diversity pipeline in tech. Some take a long-term approach to help increase the larger talent pipeline – like our Amazon Future Engineer Program – and others aim to incorporate more diverse talent immediately into the workforce.

We believe our future is inclusive, diverse, and equitable across every race identity, gender identity, belief, origin, and community. The work we are doing, mechanisms we are putting in place, and ongoing learnings are intended to be global and inclusive for all communities globally and within Amazon.

What are some qualities that AWS prides itself on?

Customers have come to really appreciate the AWS culture. If a startup, enterprise, or government agency is going to partner with an infrastructure provider, it’s typically a long-term decision they’re making, and they really want to understand what’s unique about the culture, or the partner that they are choosing. There are several traits typical to AWS. We are highly customer-focused. 90% of what we build is driven by what customers tell us matters, and the other 10% are things we hear from customers where they may not articulate exactly what they want, but we try to read between the lines and invent on their behalf.

We like to hire builders who look at customer experiences that are flawed, then figure out how to reinvent those. In a space that’s moving as fast as the cloud is, quick iteration  a large community, and a clear vision for the cloud is very attractive. In addition, were long-term oriented, trying to build relationships and a business that lasts longer than all of us in this room. And you do that by doing right by customers over a long period of time.

Three Questions with Mikkel Schack

THREE QUESTIONS WITH

Mikkel Schack

District Sales Manager Norway, FedEx

A key finding from FedEx’s 2021 Trade Trends Report is that, as a result of the pandemic, the home is no longer merely a place to live, but has extended to become a space to work, socialize, and work out. In what ways has FedEx adapted to meet this shift in consumer demand? 

It’s certainly been a challenging period for everyone in the transport sector – including FedEx. Since the pandemic began, FedEx has kept global industrial, healthcare, and at-home supply chains moving, with safety as our top priority. We are proud to have kept commerce moving and have delivered critical shipments throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. From January 2020 to March 2021, FedEx Express shipped more than 80 kilotons of personal protective equipment globally, all while accommodating historic e-commerce volumes.

High demand of shipments to and from the United States of America and Asia has led to service delays, lack of capacity and increased operational costs. We have met these challenges by adding extra flights across our network, and are continuing to improve our service and capacity.

How does FedEx help businesses meet burgeoning e-commerce opportunities?

We aim to help our existing and new customers to start and grow their online business. Our Small Business Hub provides information and insights to help businesses adapt and keep growing. Very recently we also introduced our free E-commerce playbook with even more helpful information and tips to help e-commerce businesses get started and grow.

In addition, we have introduced a new direct flight from Europe to Japan that will increase capacity to northern China and Japan, to meet the demands caused by increased e-commerce shopping from this region.

How is FedEx addressing client and consumer expectations as it pertains to sustainable practices? 

FedEx is extremely focused on addressing customers sustainability expectations. FedEx has set an ambitious goal to lead the way in the industry by achieving CO2-neutral operations globally by 2040. This goal will address all aspect of the company, from vehicle electrification, sustainable fuels, looking at improving sustainable customer solutions and facility optimization to name a few.

Bonus question! What is your favorite travel destination in the US?  

New York is my favorite city;  I just love the atmosphere and the fact that New York never sleeps. 

Three Questions with Janicke Rasmussen

THREE QUESTIONS WITH

Dr. Janicke Rasmussen

Dean MSc, BI Norwegian Business School

Today’s students will be entering a business environment that looks very different than it did only a year ago. How is BI preparing tomorrow’s professionals?

We prepare our students for the workplace in different ways through a variety of activities. At BI we have a variety of masters programs catering to students from different backgrounds – so we use varying perspectives when we develop activities. Some are degree specific and others are developed for students enrolled in all master’s programs. In Norway, MSc are generally commenced by students that may not have much work experience. We give all students the opportunity for professional skill development as part of extracurricular activities. These activities are delivered throughout the student journey, beginning in their first week, and take on different forms depending on where the students are in their journey.

BI cooperates both with industry and with other schools to ensure students are prepared to meet the expectations of the business community. Other international schools are important to ensure students get to experience and learn from a global learning environment, and we use our alliances to develop relevant activities for students. Some activities can be performed locally, while students go abroad for other activities. The pandemic has made the environment for cooperation between business schools more active. At the end of the day, we all want the same thing; to ensure students succeed. If they succeed – we succeed.  

Bl excels in international business school rankings as “triple-accredited” by each of the main international accreditation agencies (AACSB, AMBA, and EQUIS). Which initiatives have gained recognition beyond Norway’s borders?

BI is a triple crown business school – only 1 % of the world’s business schools are in this category. This means that BI Norwegian Business School is recognized by international bodies and universities as a high-quality international business school. We are the number-one-ranked business school in Norway.

As a result, BI is now a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) University Affiliate school (the only school in Norway), which means that our MSc in Finance program is catered to meet about 70% of the first level exams at CFA. This partnership is a result of continuous development of our MSc in finance program – and a recognition of this by the CFA body.

In fact, this year a group of students from BI won the annual global case competition – the CFA Research Institute Challenge. This year, more than 5000 students from 950 universities across 82 countries participated, and our team of four students won – which was extremely fun – and shows that clear goals and ambitions pay off.

BI is also a GMAC school, a title received only by invitation. This enables us to partner with a great community of business schools for our continuous program development.

As a triple crown business school, we are a preferred partner for international business schools – and we currently  partner with 18 universities in the USA, including Carlson School of Business, Pace University, and Texas A&M.

Putting theory into practice – in what ways does BI collaborate with the business community to provide real-world skills for its diverse student body? 

In addition to the above mentioned, BI cooperates with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) by offering our students at our MSc in Business programs a major in accounting.

We also make efforts to cooperate with industry in developing our programs. For example, SAS Institute cooperates with our MSc in Business Analytics. In addition to offering students internships, they offer all business analytics students a free course to obtain a SAS certification.

One last thing to mention is the development of a Master Merit Society at BI – a platform for cooperation and co-creation between students, faculty, alumni and industry. The highest performing students are given the opportunity to become a member of this society for leadership development, ensuring diversity and providing motivation for all students, regardless of their background.

Bonus question! Once leisure travelling becomes more accessible, where is the first place you will travel to?

Difficult question! I really just want to travel! For leisure I generally prefer beaches and/or mountains – in my job I meet a lot of people and often think it is great to get away from the “buzz” of my every day. However, “post-covid” leisure trips will be all about meeting people, going to concerts, and eating out! So, I think I will say London. Because of the “buzz” but also because that is where I did my PhD, and therefore I have close ties with that city.

Three Questions with Janicke Rasmussen

THREE QUESTIONS WITH

Dr. Janicke Rasmussen

Dean MSc, BI Norwegian Business School

Today’s students will be entering a business environment that looks very different than it did only a year ago. How is BI preparing tomorrow’s professionals?

We prepare our students for the workplace in different ways through a variety of activities. At BI we have a variety of masters programs catering to students from different backgrounds – so we use varying perspectives when we develop activities. Some are degree specific and others are developed for students enrolled in all master’s programs. In Norway, MSc are generally commenced by students that may not have much work experience. We give all students the opportunity for professional skill development as part of extracurricular activities. These activities are delivered throughout the student journey, beginning in their first week, and take on different forms depending on where the students are in their journey.

BI cooperates both with industry and with other schools to ensure students are prepared to meet the expectations of the business community. Other international schools are important to ensure students get to experience and learn from a global learning environment, and we use our alliances to develop relevant activities for students. Some activities can be performed locally, while students go abroad for other activities. The pandemic has made the environment for cooperation between business schools more active. At the end of the day, we all want the same thing; to ensure students succeed. If they succeed – we succeed.  

Bl excels in international business school rankings as “triple-accredited” by each of the main international accreditation agencies (AACSB, AMBA, and EQUIS). Which initiatives have gained recognition beyond Norway’s borders?

BI is a triple crown business school – only 1 % of the world’s business schools are in this category. This means that BI Norwegian Business School is recognized by international bodies and universities as a high-quality international business school. We are the number-one-ranked business school in Norway.

As a result, BI is now a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) University Affiliate school (the only school in Norway), which means that our MSc in Finance program is catered to meet about 70% of the first level exams at CFA. This partnership is a result of continuous development of our MSc in finance program – and a recognition of this by the CFA body.

In fact, this year a group of students from BI won the annual global case competition – the CFA Research Institute Challenge. This year, more than 5000 students from 950 universities across 82 countries participated, and our team of four students won – which was extremely fun – and shows that clear goals and ambitions pay off.

BI is also a GMAC school, a title received only by invitation. This enables us to partner with a great community of business schools for our continuous program development.

As a triple crown business school, we are a preferred partner for international business schools – and we currently  partner with 18 universities in the USA, including Carlson School of Business, Pace University, and Texas A&M.

Putting theory into practice – in what ways does BI collaborate with the business community to provide real-world skills for its diverse student body? 

In addition to the above mentioned, BI cooperates with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) by offering our students at our MSc in Business programs a major in accounting.

We also make efforts to cooperate with industry in developing our programs. For example, SAS Institute cooperates with our MSc in Business Analytics. In addition to offering students internships, they offer all business analytics students a free course to obtain a SAS certification.

One last thing to mention is the development of a Master Merit Society at BI – a platform for cooperation and co-creation between students, faculty, alumni and industry. The highest performing students are given the opportunity to become a member of this society for leadership development, ensuring diversity and providing motivation for all students, regardless of their background.

Bonus question! Once leisure travelling becomes more accessible, where is the first place you will travel to?

Difficult question! I really just want to travel! For leisure I generally prefer beaches and/or mountains – in my job I meet a lot of people and often think it is great to get away from the “buzz” of my every day. However, “post-covid” leisure trips will be all about meeting people, going to concerts, and eating out! So, I think I will say London. Because of the “buzz” but also because that is where I did my PhD, and therefore I have close ties with that city.

Three Questions with Pamela Willgohs

THREE QUESTIONS WITH

Pamela Willgohs

EVP Business Development/Marketing + Sales, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace AS

Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace (KDA) is a leading global supplier of a wide range of highly specialized, strategic products. How does KDA attract and maintain a world-class team of industry leaders in Norway?

KONGSBERG’s history as a company spans over 200 years which requires continuous assessments of the current company portfolios, business models and technology innovation. Innovation and willingness to adapt has been one key to our success in attracting very talented leadership. We are also a global company with customers and our own locations around the world. This adds an exciting aspect to our daily business. Working for a Norwegian company and having the responsibility of leading teams around the world ensures there isn’t one day that is exactly like the next. 

Why did you decide upon a career in defense – and how has the industry developed during that time?

I started my career as a Human Factors Engineer in a company called Hughes Aircraft and was responsible for designing systems and user interfaces for the US Military. It was fascinating as a young person to work with high-end technology of the time. We designed systems for the Army, the Air Force and occasionally worked with NASA on some of their satellite programs. I was given a lot of responsibility at a fairly young age and thought it was great. Once I started, there was no turning back.

One of the biggest changes since I first started my career is the shift in what is driving technology forward. In the past, most of the world’s advanced technologies came from defense programs which eventually found their way into the commercial industry. That flow of technology has been almost completely reversed.  Another change is how global the industry has become. Very few companies operate solely in their own nation – we tend to meet our competitors around the world.

According to Norway’s National Defense Industry Strategy (2020-21), enhanced cooperation with the private sector is key to achieving a technologically modernized military. How do you see this focus impacting Norwegian and international companies?

I agree with Norway’s National Defense Industry Strategy. The speed of today’s technology development is extraordinary and to keep pace with it as well as the advancing requirements of a modern military is very challenging. Inviting industry to a closer cooperation will help ensure that Norway’s Defence Forces have what they need to do their jobs and to do so with the best technology available. That said, it will require an openness and willingness to understand where the other side is coming from and what is necessary for both sides to succeed.

Bonus question! As an American from Minneapolis, what are your pro US travel destination tips?

Great question! There are so many fantastic locations one should have the chance to experience – and not only along the East and West Coast. If you’re looking for a nature experience – Boulder Colorado is a fabulous place to visit. Sedona, Arizona is amazing as is Moab, Utah. Foodie’s should experience the amazing restaurant selection in New York City. Formula 1 fans should check out Austin in November and next year in Miami! Las Vegas is unique and not too far from the Grand Canyon if you want to mix it up a bit. There is too much to choose from but you will find a destination you love if you do a little research in advance… or ask one who knows!

Three Questions with Salesforce Regional Director Per Haakon Lomsdalen

THREE QUESTIONS WITH

Per Haakon Lomsdalen

Regional Director, Salesforce

Lomsdalen_Salesforce
Photo: Pia Sønstrød

In the beginning of March 2020, you were announced as Salesforce’s Regional Vice President for Norway and Iceland, becoming the first Norwegian in a management position at the company. At the very same time, the pandemic was becoming a reality in Norway. When entering the role, you stated that recruiting was your main focus as the company was growing. How did you navigate the hiring challenges that arose from the extraordinary situation? Did you reach the target or redefine it?

We are on a growth path that will last for a while. Building up a local organization takes time of course, but we are making great progress. We´re hiring new employees every month so the target is still the same. So far, we have built a strong local organization and leadership team, and we’re still hiring!

Crisis management, B2B, B2C, customer experience and service – what are the biggest trends on the horizon?

We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to reimagine how we work. We are moving to an all-digital, work-from-anywhere world. From now on, remote work will just be work. E-commerce will just be commerce. Video meetings will just be meetings. The traditional ‘9-to-5 workday’ is no more. In an all-digital, work-from-anywhere world, every company has to be able to work, sell, service, market, collaborate, and analyze data from anywhere. And Salesforce was built for this world. With products like Slack and Work.com, Salesforce is creating the operating system for the new way to work and closing the innovation gap as customers, and their employees, make the necessary transition to that exciting future. The companies that will emerge stronger are the ones that embrace change and don’t simply snap back to the way things were done before.

 

 

 

From now on, remote work will just be work. E-commerce will just be commerce. Video meetings will just be meetings.

Per Haakon Lomsdalen

As someone with extensive experience from the technology industry, do you organize your life completely “in the cloud” or does the occasional post-it or grocery list find its way into your daily life?

With all the great digital tools available, I´m not using post-it notes, I must admit. What I really enjoy is that all the cloud solutions that are available make it easy to collaborate seamlessly both in my professional and personal life. A very simple example is calendar sharing with my family, which makes it easy for us to align and get an overview of our current and upcoming activities.

On more advanced levels, the cloud platform that Salesforce represents gives me a 360 degree view of the business I’m running, when and where I need it. But most important for me, is that my daily life should not only be in a cloud – I worship close relationships and face to face contact with family, friends and professional networks. A digital cloud can never substitute the joy of physical interaction.

Three Questions with Sølvi Spilde Monsen

THREE QUESTIONS WITH

Sølvi
Spilde
Monsen

Managing Director, Manpower Norway

How has COVID-19 altered how Manpower Norway approaches solving staffing challenges for clients? What challenges and opportunities does a lack of foreign workers due to travel restrictions create?

COVID-19 has been challenging for many of our clients, and consequently, also for us. The staffing business is always a good indicator of the health of the Norwegian business environment.

In March, we experienced that large sectors like kindergartens and tourism/travel were shut down from one day to another, resulting in a hundred thousand furloughed and unemployed people.  But we also witnessed an opposite effect: Several sectors saw an increase in demand as a result of Covid-19 – for instance, within food supply and logistics, and within the health sector, of course.

The staffing sector plays an important role under circumstances like this. Since we are doing business in all sectors and across the whole of Norway, we are able to transfer people from sectors with low demand to sectors with high demand. During the pandemic we have been able to help get a lot of people into new positions. For instance, we have relocated a hotel chef to a warehouse and transferred a helicopter pilot to a bank.

Gradually, we have been returning to more normal conditions, but we are still not back to where we were before the crisis. We believe that it will take a long time before we are back to business as we knew it before.

Naturally, the COVID-19 situation has significantly altered the Norwegian job market, as many companies have unfortunately had to consider furloughing and/or laying off employees. What does ManpowerGroup’s Q4 Norwegian workforce report reveal about the evolution of the Norwegian workforce in the past six or so months? What signs of optimism do you see?

Our latest outlook survey reveals that Norwegian employers expect a stable labor market during the next three months, reporting a seasonally adjusted Net Employment Outlook of +0%. This is a clear improvement from the ‑7% outlook of Q3, which was the weakest since the survey began in Norway 17 years ago.

This tells us that Norwegian employers now have a more positive outlook, following the shock of this spring. However, the crisis is not yet over, and companies are still cautious about rehiring. It may take time for the economy to recover, but we are seeing positive signs in some industries, most notably within construction.

Hiring prospects are also positive in the Finance & Business Services sector. The lowest expectations are found in the Manufacturing sector, with an outlook of -12%, decreasing by six percentage points quarter-on-quarter and 32 percentage points year-on-year. Outlooks were also bleak for the Restaurants & Hotels and Other Production sectors, reporting Net Employment Outlooks of -10% and -4% respectively.

Describe your dream vacation in the US. Where would you go and why?

I lived in San Francisco in 1984, and I would love to go back to see old friends and visit some of the beautiful and exiting places in this area. I would start out with a day or two in San Francisco to visit the Golden Gate Park and the Golden Gate Bridge, and I would definitely have a wonderful dinner at Crab House at Fisherman’s Wharf.  In addition, I would go hiking in the golden hills north of San Francisco and also visit the wine districts of Sonoma and Napa Valley for winetasting and picnics at some of the magnificent wineries.

Thereafter, I would head south and spend some days on the beach in amazing Carmel, visiting Carmel Valley before ending my trip with the breathtaking views of Big Sur.

Three Questions with Annabell Siem Mathiesen

THREE QUESTIONS WITH

Annabell
Siem Mathiesen

CEO, Mercer Norge

COVID-19 has had a pronounced effect on businesses, regardless of industry, around the world. Each industry, however, has been met with unique challenges in relation to the pandemic – how has COVID-19 shaped the direct contribution (DC) landscape, particularly in regard to Egen pensjonskonto?

Pensions in Norway have been in a state of change for some time and the pandemic has further accelerated the potential impact of the changes. Going back almost ten years, the state pension reform put companies and employees in the private sector on a journey that completely changed the pension landscape. Today, more than 9 out of 10 employees in the private sector have a DC pension scheme where pensions can be directly affected by changes in the stock market.

Due to COVID-19 and its impact on the economy, financial security has been front of mind for employees and employers. Historically Norwegians have placed a lot of trust in the government and their employer to provide a sustainable pension but with the increased volatility in the market and the introduction of the Egen pensjonskonto / Own pension account in 2021, employees will need to take far greater personal responsibility over their pension and managing savings or face long-term financial risks. With the new regulations, individual employees can now choose a different manager for their pension portfolio than the one chosen by their employer. Depending on their situation, multiple options may lead to better or worse returns down the road so access to financial education and independent advice will be critical.  

Companies therefore now also have a responsibility to regularly review their DC plan design, maintain a robust governance framework and keep their employees informed on the realities of their pension, empowering them to select options based on sound investment advice. Mercer has been partnering with employers and their employees to establish sustainable DC governance and communication of benefits to safeguard their futures in these volatile times.

Mercer’s transformational investment report, done in collaboration with the Børge Brende-led World Economic Forum (WEF), identifies six global systemic risks – climate change, water security, geopolitical stability, technological shifts, demographic shifts, and low and negative real long-term interest rates. How will these risks affect Norwegian long-term investors in the coming decade?

The study is significant because it puts forth a practical framework for converting systemic risks into sustainable returns. ESG (Environmental Social and Governance criteria) and Responsible Investment is not just about doing good for society. By not taking responsibility, investors could be exposing themselves to greater risk, which could hurt them. It’s not enough to only exclude certain companies or industries from your investments. Transformational investment is about having a framework to monitor risks, identify opportunities and take an active role in shaping the future of business through investment choices.

There has been progress locally, for example, Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM, Norway’s oil fund and government pension fund) is taking steps to analyze water risk. This could mean divesting from heavy industries, which are not mitigating the risk of water shortages. In many cases, investors need to move from being passive owners to active stakeholders. The risks also represent potential opportunities for investors and the study identifies a global investment gap of 6.27 trillion dollars.

Describe your dream vacation in the US. Where would you go and why?

I love a good American Pinot Noir so I can picture myself touring the wine districts of Oregon or California, driving a classic red Mustang convertible with the top down.