Published 2018-07-16

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Almedalen Week 2018 is over

As usual, researchers in Mistra programmes have featured here and there on the Almedalen agenda. A novelty this year was that Mistra held its ‘own’ event — on plastic, Thailand trips and our long-term survival.

On the Monday, Mistra was based at ‘Clematis House’ in Strandgatan. Professor Mattias Lindahl, coordinator of Mistra REES (Resource-Efficient and Effective Solutions) initiated four stand-alone seminars to address consumption, environment and business opportunities.

There, too, Örjan Sjöberg of Misum (the Mistra Centre for Sustainable Markets) spoke about how we must respond to injustice and how our consumption affects it.

Lindahl rounded off one of the seminars by posing the question of who is to solve the problem of plastic: politicians, industry or consumers? The solution lies in collaboration among various sectors and stakeholders.

As for reducing consumption volumes, Cecilia Solér of the University of Gothenburg noted the need for policy instruments. Research provides no support for the notion that more information makes us consume sustainably.

Klas Eklund of Mistra’s Board participated in the seminar on business opportunities not involving increased consumption. In his view, smart companies are prescient and lead the way. Obviously, there are huge business opportunities.

Lena Westerholm of ABB, taking part in the same seminar, said that maintenance and service are crucial to ABB for longer product life. Digitisation offers wonderful opportunities, but unfortunately the Swedish Public Procurement Act is still about price.

On the Tuesday, Öhman and Mistra jointly hosted a working lunch to discuss Agenda 2030. As a starting point, participants received the Öhman Agenda 2030 Barometer, designed to assess how far the 30 most traded companies on the Stockholm Stock Exchange contribute to reaching the 17 global Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Åsa Moberg pointed out the importance of showing where companies make a positive contribution, but also of knowing about the risks and adverse effects associated with their own activities and products. There will always be conflicting goals, and the conflicts need clarifying. As an asset owner, Mistra seeks to gain knowledge about both sides, in dialogue with our asset managers.

Mistra Geopolitics, Mistra Carbon Exit, Mistra Urban Futures, Mistra SAMS, Mistra Sustainable Consumption, Mistra Biotech, Mistra REES, The Seed Box and Mistra STEPS were also represented in Almedalen and held, or participated in, seminars during the week.

With the Swedish election looming, two final appeals were made at one of the seminars on consumption: ‘Shift from quantity to quality’ and ‘Go and vote!’