KAREN LANDMARK IS THE DIRECTOR OF STRATEGIC AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT IN GREENSTAT. SHE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR STRATEGY, ANALYSIS AND INSIGHT, AS WELL AS THE DEVELOPMENT OF INTERNATIONAL PROJECTS. SHE DESCRIBES “THE GREEN SHIFT” AS A SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT THAT IS BOTH STRONGLY DESIRED AND HIGHLY NECESSARY.
-“The green shift” can be described as “the sixth wave of innovation”. The link to innovation makes it clear to me what a so-called “green shift” entails. Changing something so radical in a society is without doubt challenging, and will cause major upheavals and lead to some consequences for all of us. However, if we manage to identify the opportunities that exist when changing to sustainable solutions for both business and society, we can make the change in a humane and gentle way. Honestly, I do not think we have a choice when it comes to whether to make a green shift or not.
THE LIMITATIONS OF OUR PLANET
Landmark states that we live beyond our means today. She also adds that future growth needs to be in a way that stimulates a desired societal development.
-The word sustainability has existed for decades. Sustainability was first associated with growth and referred to as sustainable development by Gro Harlem Brundtland. Simply explained, sustainability is about not using more resources than the earth is able to regenerate.
Landmark emphasises that this applies to all parts of society
-If we look at our planet as affording us the maximum room for maneuvers, then we realise that we cannot go beyond those limits. Unfortunately, that is what is happening today. We have crossed the planet’s boundaries – which means we “live on credit”. For all of us with credit cards, we know that there is a high interest rate. The longer we “push” that endurance limit, the longer a real green shift will take.
AGDER IS GOING GREEN
Landmark believes that Agder has an obvious position in the green shift. Especially due to our unique access to renewable power, expertise and significant industrial history in the process industry.
– We can give ourselves a pat on the back and be proud to be a region that makes such an industrial investment in modern times. It is exciting to have a company that connects Agder’s competitive advantage with a new gigantic business opportunity, she says. If we link our proud industrial history with the establishment of Morrow Batteries, Agder has a unique opportunity to take a strong position into the future and with the green shift. In addition to our natural resources, we are close to Europe via both air and ocean. We have a competent population and we have a high quality of life. We simply have in place the so-called “work-life balance” which I think will be more important in the years to come. Agder can benefit from this and become stronger by taking a position there, Landmark smiles.
NORWAY IS A DIGITALLY MATURE NATION
Norway is a digitally mature nation and Landmark believes the green shift will be largely technology-driven. There is a lot of advanced digitisation in the face of renewable energy solutions. Norway as a nation is well equipped for the changes to come, but we have an Achilles heel – our dependence on oil.
–Globally, the green shift is happening at lightning speed. With Joe Biden as president of the United States, the US will take a completely different role in climate policy. This is great news for the world and partly challenging for Norway in terms of positioning ourselves. The US is at the forefront. China has a clear goal and the EU has a strong focus on the green shift through their growth strategy. I believe the EU consistently connects the green shift with how innovation and value creation will take place in the future. Hence, Norway must not fall behind. We are ready, but we need to seize the political opportunities now to get there.
Landmark believes tomorrow’s jobs will be created in the industries that we will have to lean on, in the future.
– It will be difficult to replace the value creation from Norwegian oil and gas, but hopefully we will be able to use all of our expertise in the field to our advantage. We can work with offshore wind, we can build an even stronger land-based industry and we may become a more distinctive technology- driven nation.
She also has a strong belief that Norway can become a country that develops and exports renewable energy. The University of Agder should have a role that differs slightly from politics, Landmark says.
– In the past UiA has experienced pressure from large parts of the business community in our region to train more engineers to cover a growing oil market. Unfortunately, a few years have since passed and the world is suddenly looking completely different. It is important that the university as an institution has the ability and opportunity to think long-term and see the trends that come. UiA has proven to be very good at that, she says.
YOUNGER GENERATIONS VALUE IMPACT OVER PROFIT
We need to make the green shift personal to ensure that the change does not lose its strength, says Landmark. It is about a deep and radical shift in the DNA of companies.
– As human beings, we have not been through the changes we are facing now. We need to make it both emotional and personal. Not just political and business related.
The younger generation is more demanding and engaged in the green shift. Both when choosing studies and future workplaces. That is why establishments like Morrow Batteries is important for the future; it fits right into the green shift and offers a workplace that focuses on values that young people appreciate.
–For younger people, it is more important that the workplace “makes sense”. Today’s youth and students expect these values when entering working life. It is valued higher than money – which is an incredibly exciting development, she says with a twinkle in her eye.
There is no doubt that Landmark sees the green shift as important. Employers will probably, whether they want to or not, need to deliver on parameters beyond the bottom line. When this happens, both business models and focus change, and the fundamental good values in business will become even more important.
Landmark deliberately chose Arendal. As a graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Environment and a Master’s degree in Communications, Arendal was the natural choice since Grid is headquartered in Arendal. The idea was to stay a few years in Arendal, then move on to New York, Geneva or Nairobi.
– The job at Grid was exactly as planned, but the other “world plan” did not turn out quite as I had intended. Now I have two children who speak Arendal-dialect and we have really made roots on Tromøya – so here I am still.
She makes no secret of the fact that the labour market is limited in a small town. However, you always manage to find jobs and positions that are both challenging and very exciting. For Landmark, it is about the balance between work and leisure.
– I really like big cities. Yet, I also value getting home quickly from work, taking a boat trip or walking in the forest during the afternoon and having a meaningful life after office hours on weekdays. When living in big cities, you lose a bit of this with lots of traffic and queues. With the peace that Arendal gives me, I have more to give during a working day. Everything comes together so that you can do a good job, both as an employee and a mother, she concludes with a smile.