Business is essential to reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Students from BI and beyond now expect sustainability to be an integrated part of their curriculum. They expect to graduate with the skills and knowledge to make an impact, and that their future employers empower them to change the way companies do business and engage with stakeholders.
Tuesday March 10, BI Student Organisation (BISO) held the Inspire to Impact Conference. Speakers included Minister of Local Government and Modernization Nikolai Astrup, Chief External Relations at Young Sustainable Impact Danat Tekie, Chief Analyst Sustainable Finance Nordea Thina Saltvedt, Director of UN Global Compact Network Norway Kim N. Gabrielli and CEO of DNV GL Remi Erksen.
The conference showcased a variety of businesses established to make an impact towards a more sustainable world and a selection of major companies working to shift their business models in a more sustainable directions. Speakers also included students from BI Norwegian Business School, the University of Oslo, the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Oslo Metropolitan University and Kristiania University College.
New businesses with sustainability in their DNA
Urchinomics removes overgrazing sea urchins to help turn the seafloor back into kelp forests. The sea urchins are sold to restaurants across the world. This multiplies the positive impacts: kelp forests absorb CO2 and provide important breeding grounds for fish and invertebrates, while the sea urchins which are harvested can replace more carbon intensive foods. Urchinomics focus their activities in Northern Norway, California and Southern Japan.
Funky Fresh Foods is a Norwegian catering company based in Oslo. Their food is entirely vegan and mostly organic, with a heavy premium on sustainability at all levels of the supply chain. Including food waste, environmentally friendly transport and environmentally friendly packaging. They supply cafées, cafeterias, shops and fitness centres in and around Oslo.
Nofence is a GPS-based virtual fencing system developed in Norway. The system consists of a solar-powered GPS collar and a digital map. When an animal crosses the Nofence boundary the collar starts beeping. This warns the animal that a short electric shock will be result if it keeps moving in the same direction. Virtual fencing can make it easier to use non-arable land for grazing, thus freeing more land to grow food for human consumption.
Large companies want to make a positive impact
The conference was organized in collaboration with the risk management and quality assurance company DNV GL. Through its Energy Transition Outlook, the company looks at ways to accelerate the ongoing energy transition to reach the Paris goals. H&M participated to talk about how they are building a new circular business model to decrease carbon emissions and material use through the entire supply chain. The fertilized producer Yara talked about their efforts to make agriculture more sustainable through reducing carbon emissions and implementing more sustainable farming practices.