CEO and Initiator: 2012-2016
In my opinion the sustainability debate needed a new inspiring, empowering and solution-oriented approach. Doomsday scenarios, pictures of melting icebergs and a language of abbreviations were dominating the most important agenda of our time (if you ask me).
While writing the Guide to Sustainia book as part of the Project Green Light initiative I dreamed of turning the approach of the book into an actual organization dedicated to highlight solutions and present realistic scenarios and road maps.
I wanted to create an organization that empowered and excited people to implement sustainability. To do that we needed to provide people with something to aspire to and long for. Not restrictions and pointed fingers.
I created Sustainia alongside great partners and it was founded within the Scandinavian Think Tank Monday Morning. I’m immensely proud that my dream while writing the Guide to Sustainia quickly materialized into the Sustainia organization thanks to committed partners who shared our dream. It was an amazing journey and privilege to lead Sustainia for its first five years. Here is a little glimpse of what we created while I led the organization but I know for a fact they continue doing some really amazing things (check it out, the team is truly amazing).
The vision of SUSTAINIA
The organization started with a clearly communicated vision of the world we could create ten years from now based on solutions and technologies available. The vision was communicated in the Guide to Sustainia that quickly became a reference point for communicating sustainability in an engaging and inspiring manner.
The cornerstone of Sustainia’s work has always been focused on the solutions we need to build prosperous sustainable societies. SUSTAINIA100 is an annual guide to 100 innovative sustainable solutions from around the world covering 10 different sectors. Go check these solutions out here.
Each year Sustainia hosts the Sustainia Award Ceremony – an evening gathering over 1400 people celebrating sustainable solutions, entrepreneurs and companies dedicated to sustainability. Our objective for establishing the Award and event was to gather people in a celabration of sustainable technologies.
Global community of millions
Sustainia has managed to reach and engage a truly global and huge audience. Over the years we have reached more than 170 million people all over the world and our Sustainia Community come from more than 117 different countries. From the outset it has been critical that we succeeded in disseminating our messages far wider than the usual crowd of people interested in sustainability
Unique network of partners
Since the launch of Sustainia it has been supported by a unique network of companies, organizations, foundations and high-level individuals. Some of them include: UN Global Compact, Regions20, IFHP, WWF, UN Foundation, World Bank Group, Connect for Climate, C40, IPCC, Ellen McArthur Foundation, UC Berkeley, NRDC, ECO Fashion, NICE - Nordic Fashion Association, World Resource Institute, EMBARQ, EAT, European Environment Agency, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Connie Hedegaard, Dr. Pachauri, Helena Christensen, Pharrell Williams
Sustainia Island was developed because I wanted a very tangible way to communicate the application and context of sustainable solutions as that makes it much easier to connect with them and understand their potential. The Sustainia Island is a microcosms of the world – with all climate zones, demographics and challenges we face on planet earth. It has 4 mega cities and small villages. Desert, mountains, highlands and suburban areas.
Sustainia events & Workshops
Sustainia has traveled the world hosting events and workshops in Rio, New York, Singapore, London, Oslo, San Francisco - you name it. Here is a small selection of our events from my time as the CEO.
Books and publications
Sustainia was founded with a mission to communicate sustainable living in an exciting and fresh manner. I wanted to reduce complexity and make sustainability accessible. Here are some of the publications we created in my time heading Sustainia.
Guide to Sustainia
The book that started Sustainia. A solutions-based vision for building prosperous sustainable societies.
Sector Guide to Buildings
This sector guide explores the state of the art of building sustainably.
Guide to Copenhagen 2025
This Guide communicates and visualizes in city-guide-book format how the city would look when the existing low-carbon strategy is implemented.
Green Guide for Universities
Sustainia and IARU, ten of the world’s top universities, present tangible sustainability actions for university campuses.
The Business Case for Saving the Planet
This report was published in preparation of a roundtable we hosted on the business case for sustainability. This report highlights the economic benefits for investing in a sustainable future.
Eat in Sustainia
EAT in Sustainia, developed in close partnership with EAT, gathers some of the best opportunities and solutions within the food sector and offers concrete examples and inspiration of how food can be used to create sustainable societies and healthy lives.
The Cities100 is carried out in collaboration between Sustainia and C40.
Global Opportunity Report
In a collaborative partnership between UN Global Compact, DNV GL, and Sustainia, the Global Opportunity Report each year analyzes how the greatest risks in the world can be turned into opportunities.