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Roundtable for the environment

The thriving knowledge environment "Mobilising and Managing Sustainable Transition" at Linnaeus University invited participants to a round table discussion with participants from various sector, including the local municipality, county governor, industry and the university. Pro Vice-Chancellor Niklas Ammert welcomed the participants and introduced the speakers and guests. The conversation and discussions were led by Linnaeus University's visiting professor Daniel Nyberg, an internationally leading researcher in how companies and organisations address climate change. Daniel lives in Australia, but is originally from Sweden.


Johan Persson, Chairman of the Municipal Board in Kalmar Municipality, has been systematically measuring climate targets together with other targets for 10 years. The municipality has introduced parking fees that subsidise the ticket price for public transport, enabling residents to influence the climate and see the results immediately.

Allan Widman, Governor, Kalmar County, spoke about contradictions in climate impacts. Kalmar county struggles with both droughts and floods, which makes the situation difficult to comprehend. There is a strong will and ability to drive climate issues locally, but how can we achieve the same commitment nationally? 

Johanna Wihl, Head of Business in Oskarshamn Municipality, works with new conditions, collaborations and constellations. The focus is on sustainability addressing the energy issue. 

Pernilla Zackrisson, Sustainability Manager at Scania Oskarshamn, said that Scania inspires its employees to think green in their daily work. Here, environmental aspects are just as important as other aspects of work, such as quality and health and safety.

Group photo of five people.

Daniel Nyberg and Mikael Lundgren, organisers of the roundtable

Daniel Nyberg's interest in the climate crisis was sparked when he realised how complex the climate issue was, which he found exciting and important.  With worsening climate impacts, he developed his thinking on the broader impacts of climate change – from daily life to the entire planet. It is important to see the complexity of climate change.  

He has concluded that the individual exists within society's collective, and climate change needs to be addressed democratically if we are to move forward. We must see the big issues in small actions. 

Mikael Lundgren, Senior Lecturer in Business administration specializing in organization and leadership and co-organiser of the round table, believes that the complex issue surrounding the climate is often simplified in the debate. There is often talk about the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, but rarely about how this is connected to other issues, such as how rare metals are mined in horrible conditions to build batteries, for example. Is it then sustainable to drive an electric car before these problems are solved? 

But even reducing consumption is one thing for us, but quite another for someone who, for example, does not have a refrigerator. What can we do in teaching?- We must prepare the students and expand the focus from profit margins and financial profitability to also include a climate and sustainability perspective. In my teaching, the leadership perspective also needs to include this, says Mikael.

In conclusion

Both Daniel and Mikael agree that the climate crisis is big and cannot be solved individually. We need to work together and collaborate across all borders, within all levels of society. Not least across the different faculties at the university.

We need to reframe our thinking to see possibilities and be hopeful and solution-oriented, even when we may not think things will get better. Because then a lot is won.

Understanding how our own actions affect climate change makes it easier to want to participate or pay for climate change solutions. But it can be difficult to see how what we do today affects, for example, The Baltic Sea in 50 years. Kalmar municipality's direct link between the parking fee, which goes to a reduction in prices for public transport, is easier to understand the consequence of. Imagine if we could scale up that feeling to other climate work.

In a smaller city like Kalmar, it is easier to collaborate in a solution-oriented manner. It becomes more concrete to create an attractive environment where people want to live.

Climate work is something we need to work democratically together across all borders and in all contexts. To try to see a little further and bigger and understand chains of events.

Today's conversation was part of taking joint responsibility for the complexity of climate change. By spreading and co-creating knowledge, we can bring about positive changes together, and the School of Business and Economics wants to be part of that process.