The Gothenburg Climate Partnership enables the participating companies to implement projects that make a real difference, in partnership with other companies facing the same challenges. The City of Gothenburg's involvement also gives the companies direct access to the right municipal departments, companies and stakeholders. The results of the projects will be evaluated using an international standard.
Maria previously worked at Tetra Pak, where she was responsible for the group's global climate goals. Since joining Business Region Göteborg a year ago, she's focused on getting Gothenburg Climate Partnership off the ground.
"Since this is a brand new initiative, the startup phase has been very much about shaping and developing the content. What should be done, how should it be done and what partnerships will be required?"
A large part of the work has involved visiting and talking to a large number of companies to find out what needs the initiative is to fulfil. Maria has also been in contact with the appropriate municipal stakeholders to establish links between the companies and the right municipal departments and companies.
In other words, this first year has been about shaping the organisation and identifying the right work methods and approaches. It's also been about finding out what other climate action initiatives are out there and finding areas where the Gothenburg Climate Partnership can make a real difference. As part of this process, Maria has connected with other networks, such as the climate-smart transition network Klimat 2030 at regional level and the corporate social responsibility network CSR Västsverige. It's also been a great advantage to be able to leverage the networks and contacts found within the rest of Business Region Göteborg. BRG has many years' experience of working with business-driven environmental engineering from several different industries.
So, what exactly does the Gothenburg Climate Partnership do?
"We gather stakeholders facing the same specific challenges and solve them in robust, focused projects with a measurable and positive impact on climate change. So this isn't a special interest group, but rather a project-based partnership. We do, however, have good contact with other climate action initiatives and we try to identify synergies."
Maria stresses that the projects are impact-based and that the partnership is centred on conducting activities with a direct and positive impact on the climate. Project impact is measured using the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and this is done in collaboration with the City of Gothenburg's environment department.
"Since the environment department measures the city's overall climate impact using the same method, or a similar method adapted to cities rather than projects, we can see how much each project contributes to the city's climate goals."
With clear confirmation of what each project has contributed to reducing negative climate impact, the GCP also gains inspiring success stories to share. This is great because the city wants to be able to communicate the positive effects and highlight the companies that are willing to invest in reducing climate impact. So far, the GCP has three projects up and running, with efforts now being intensified to find more.
"All projects to reduce carbon footprints can be of interest to the GCP, although we focus predominantly on projects that will make better progress in collaboration with municipal companies and departments than would otherwise be the case."
"All projects to reduce carbon footprints can be of interest to the GCP, although we focus predominantly on projects that will make better progress in collaboration with municipal companies and departments than would otherwise be the case. We're also aware that many companies are already conducting or have conducted projects with a positive impact on climate change. These can also be integrated with the GCP if, say, help is required measuring the impact on climate change."
Maria comes from the business world, where she was authorised to both make and implement decisions to achieve climate goals. She's managed conflicting goals and decided on measurements, follow-ups and actions. She incorporates all this experience in her new role heading the Gothenburg Climate Partnership.
"Prior to this, I was responsible for Tetra Pak's global climate programme. It was extremely interesting and stimulating, in part because Tetra Pak's executive management realise and value the importance of sustainability issues . So within my team, we often had relatively short decision paths when dealing with matters."
Prior to Tetra Pak, Maria worked at Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications, where she was responsible for the company's carbon footprint. That too involved measuring, following up and proposing actions. Since the company didn't have any measurement methods in place at the time, Maria's role also involved implementing the Greenhouse Gas Protocol at the company. Within the GCP, her task is to support more companies in using the same method. Moreover, she'll create opportunities for companies facing similar challenges to meet, facilitate workshops and communicate results. This will make Maria the link between the companies and the City of Gothenburg.
Does she have a dream project for the GCP?
"That would be something to hugely benefit the environment. Something like SSAB's HYBRIT initiative, where together with LKAB and Vattenfall they're developing a method for producing fossil-free steel. When it comes to steel, we've never imagined that you could make it without a heavy climate impact. Naturally, it would be great to come up with a project with an equally huge impact."