The name of Elisabeth Nilsson's Honorary doctorate lecture, From chimney focus to the need for a holistic approach – environmental issues in a 40-year perspective, describes well with what she entertained the audience. She offered a journey through the environmental issue, a journey that began when she was a young student who studied geotechnology.
– In the early 1970s, me and my classmates visited Rönnskärsverken, at that time Sweden's worst polluters. We posed critical questions to the Director, issues he ignored by pointing toward the lush green forests. At this time industrial chimneys manifested prosperity and it was strange to talk about the environment.
Hope for a better future
Elisabeth Nilsson speaks enthusiastically about the challenges the world is facing when it comes to climate change and environmental problems. However, she believes in the human capacity for constructive solutions and exemplifies with a result of a meeting she recently had in her role as County Governor.
– With the help of solar solutions produced in Östergötland, the countryside in Kenya can get electrified. Modern environmental technology in Sweden can thus help the people of Kenya to better quality of life, a better environment and better health.
From steel to castle
After her studies at Luleå University of Technology Elisabeth Nilsson has had many exciting jobs in the steel industry. In 1976, she started at Norrbotten Järnverk that later became SSAB. She has been CEO of SSAB Merox, and production manager in charge of the Metallurgy Division of SSAB Oxelösund, where she also was part of the management. Since 2010, Elisabeth Nilsson is County Governor of Östergötland, but before that, she worked as CEO of Jernkontoret.
– I had one of Sweden's finest offices with chandeliers and oak furniture. When I came home to Sören my aunt wanted to congratulate to the new job on behalf of the family, adding that "don't get to remarkable." It applies well now when I become an Honorary Doctor!