Interview with Speakers - Carolina Karlstrom

We are excited to present a new series of interviews the Marketing Director, Estefania, conducted with some of the speakers of SES 2019. The interviews were held in the months prior to the Summit with the aim to present some of the energy leaders who will be speaking during the Summit and foster an exciting and informed discussion in anticipation to the event.

The second interview of this series is with Carolina Karlstrom, Founder and Director of Jade Advisory. Jade Advisory supports organizations of all sizes to move towards a net zero carbon footprint. This leads to happy customers, happy shareholders and a happy community on a beautiful planet.

Estefania: How does Jade Advisory supports companies that seek to transition towards a greener journey?

Carolina: I look at environmental sustainability as the impact that organizations have in areas such as energy consumption, water usage, transportation and supply chain. Some of the organizations that I work with have not engaged much in sustainability practices. As some of these might have a purpose on the social sector, they are failing when it comes to manage its own environmental impact because they are not sure on what to do or how to do it. Under this context, I support them in raising awareness about environmental sustainability and how to identify potential areas of improvement. 

Nevertheless, reaching success in an environmental program also depends on the efforts in engaging its employees in this conversation. In this sense, I help organizations develop training programs so their staff can learn more about sustainable practices. The main purpose is our clients can implement certain actions that contribute towards a better future, but that also are aligned to their business models.

Estefania: What are the main reasons companies find difficult to start with this transition?

Carolina: So far, I have been aiming to work with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The main challenge is these organizations are not dedicating either time or resources in sustainability, as they tend to see this approach as an expense rather than as an investment. Since these enterprises do not belong to a global corporation, there is a lot of work to do in explaining what is sustainability and why it is good for them.

With this approach, organizations can reduce its environmental impact, generate benefits to their employees and at the same time become a more attractive employer for the acquisition of new talent. All of this while generating profit through energy and other savings. In the UK, this conversation is becoming more attractive among potential clients, businesses and costumers. Every day, consumers are reaching for organizations and suppliers that contribute to a solution, instead of being part of the problem.

Estefania: How do you foresee businesses taking the lead on climate action in the near future?

Carolina: I have noticed an increasing awareness from our potential clients as they have understood that every stakeholder needs to act, and act now. Taking initiative on climate action is not only up to the government, large corporations or charity. Organizations of any size working on any segment need to be involved as well. In terms of government leadership, a policy-driven approach like setting targets to reduce emissions has already been established, but businesses can lead to a faster transition given the access they have to innovative technologies. This segment is gaining a greater role in leading the example by putting pressure on the supply chain side. Most of the times, SMEs are the ones working in this segment, so it is very important to have financial incentives that motivate more environmentally-friendly practices among the value chain.

Estefania: What excites you the most about attending SES2019?

Carolina: The opportunity of connecting with students from across the word is very exciting. I have read many reports on what younger generations believe is important in relation to the sustainability agenda, but it is much more interesting to meet them and know what these generations expect from businesses when they start their professional life. This information is valuable for organizations like mine. 

I will be participating on the “Supercharging the SDGs – Energy as the Enabler” panel. This topic is very interesting for me as it was my first contact with Student Energy. I organize the SDGs Network Meetup, an event where anyone interested in sustainability and using the SDGs as a framework to identify topics that are of greater relevance can participate in. As SES2019, this event is about connecting people, inspiring to action and raising awareness about the importance of these goals.