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Natural resources for sustainability transitions

Published: 26 March 2021

Northern Sweden has the potential to show the way for a successful transformation of the basic industry that benefits the whole world. During a Zoom webinar on March 24, Luleå University of Technology's initiative SUN - Natural resources for sustainability transitions, which focuses on the assets in the form of ore, forest and water that are central to realizing the societal transformation needed to reach the UN's global sustainability goals and succeeds with climate change.

"What happens now, it happens in Västerbotten and Norrbotten" - this is how Pär Weihed began Wednesday's webinar together with SUN, one of two new future areas at Luleå University of Technology. Christina Wanhainen, professor of ore geology and scientific leader of SUN, presented the area to the more than 100 listeners.

- This area is based on the already established areas of strength in mining, wood and hydropower research. The idea is that we will broaden and deepen that strength by finding both synergies and working in an even more multidisciplinary way, says Christina Wanhainen in her short presentation about the future area SUN.

During the seminar, which was led by moderator Åsa Lindell, two panels were held, with four participants in each. The first panel, chaired by Björn Risinger, Director General of Naturvårdsverket, included Helene Hellmark Knutsson, Governor of Västerbotten County, Nils-Olov Lindfors, Regional Councilor of Norrbotten, Rickard Carstedt, Regional Councilor of Västerbotten and Lotta Finstorp, Governor of Norrbotten County and discussed challenges and opportunities with the green transition.

- The basic industry can show the way, just look at HYBRIT and Northvolt. Two groundbreaking examples of how the industry develops completely new solutions for us to have a more sustainable use of natural resources, Björn Risinger began the first panel debate.

The industries also had an opportunity to present their ideas on what the road to the 2050 sustainability goals looks like. Those who represented the industries were Grete Solvang-Stoltz, HR and sustainability director at LKAB, Viveka Beckeman, CEO of Skogsindustrierna and Christer Ljunggren, CEO of Vattenfall.

In the second panel, Grete Solvang-Stoltz, Björn Risinger and Christer Ljunggren were back together with Pär Lärkeryd, CEO of Norra skog. The discussions touched on the question of what we need to learn more from in order to achieve the sustainability goals. There was talk of both energy distribution, traceability of metals and minerals, but also of optimizing costs and benefits in the work with hydropower and collaborating between authorities and business.