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ÅF's Lena Ander Among Sweden’s 101 Most Powerful People within Sustainability — Again

ÅF’s Lena Ander has been ranked one of the magazine Aktuel Hållbarhet’s most powerful people within sustainability.

Published June 20, 2016

ÅF’s Lena Ander has been ranked one of the magazine Aktuel Hållbarhet’s most powerful people within sustainability. 

Lena is a strategic sustainability advisor at ÅF in Solna and general secretary of NMC Swedish Association for Sustainable Business, a non-profit organization that brings together 230 companies and organisations. This marks the second year in a row that Lena has been ranked one of Sweden's most powerful people within environmental work. Not only that. She also made it onto the list Up-and-Coming Leaders [Ledarnas ”Heta Lista”] as one of Sweden’s women leaders of the future.Congratulations Lena! Things are going well for you. Why do you think you ended up on these lists?

Hard work, dedication, and perseverance — and the results are showing! I’m driven by a strong desire to have an impact. ÅF has run NMC for 22 years. The secretariat, the board of directors, and I have worked zealously on creating the framework for robust innovation, to be at the forefront, to collaborate outside of our traditional settings, to spread our influence from the environment to cover all sustainability areas, and to add value for all of our 230 corporate members. I’m extremely happy with what my colleagues - Lovisa Lönegren, Philip Thormark, Helena Lögdqvist, Marie Frisell, Therese Eklund, Anna Persson, Markus Olofsgård, and Andrea Rutgersson -and I have accomplished. We have worked hard on becoming network and knowledge hubs for an innovative and sustainable business sector. We have also taken a different tack than other actors by raising sustainability issues outside the traditional forums. We have engaged in challenging panel discussions with such people as Per Bolund, Isabella Lövin and Klas Eklund, authored numerous articles, andentered into a general dialogue with the business community.
What would you say is the biggest sustainability challenge for companies and organisations and what does the future look like?

There are multiple challenges. But global warming and climate change will inevitably affect all businesses and communities. It is paramount that companies perform external analyses, in order to understand how they can have the greatest impact, contribute most, and become part of the solution. And we should point out that the adaptive process is in itself a business opportunity for companies. We're facing a paradigm shift within technological development for sustainable production processes, smart systems and communities, and, of course, in our transition to a fossil-free world. The circular economy covers a variety of business models including the sharing economy that will develop businesses and make it easier for us to make sustainable choices. Looking ahead, companies will increase their efforts across the value chain and engage in cross-industry collaboration to overcome common sustainability challenges. Close cooperation within the value chain means less waste of resources, higher margins, and increased innovation capacity – it is a keystone in building the circular economy. Examples include extensive partnering on technology ventures (such as SSAB, LKAB, and Vattenfall’s efforts to reduce CO2 emissions in steel production) andmajor companies’ collaboration with innovative entrepreneurs in the form of accelerators and incubators.

What are the most important qualities in a leader?

As a leader, you need to be attentive, clear, courageous, and visionary. But most of all, you must be able to engage others, to coach, and to be there for both setbacks and successes. These leadership qualities are the same irrespective of gender. But we sometimes act and are treated differently because of expectations or preconceptions. For example, since women generally get less feedback than their male colleagues, it is important that women constantly seek relevant and constructive feedback to improve as leaders. It is also important to challenge yourself, to believe in your potential, and to have the courage to accept tasks that are unfamiliar to you. Men do this more than women and tend to be recruited based on their potential rather than their actual experience. Finally, I would stress the importance of daring to take gutsy decisions, be yourself, and to trust your instincts. Remember that people often give advice based on their own vision and what they have accomplished personally. Your vision might reach further........................................................................................More about the list “Sweden’s 101 Most Powerful People within Sustainability” [101 mäktigaste i Hållbarhetssverige]

The list covers 101 of the most influential Swedish business leaders, sustainability executives, opinion makers, researchers, and politicians in 2015 within the environment and sustainability. The purpose of the list is to highlight role models and people who set the agenda for environmental and sustainability issues that are driving development in a more sustainable direction. See the entire list here:

More about the list “Up-and-Coming Leaders” [Framtiden kvinnliga ledare]

For the tenth year in a row, Ledarna, Sweden’s professional organization for executives, has ranked the country’s 75 top women executives — a list for women who make a difference and show the value of good leadership. Up-and-Coming Leaders seeks to turn the perception of leadership as a male arena upside-down. We train the spotlight on exemplars and inspirational individuals — modern executives. The women on the list are not only role models for other young women but for all executives. Women Executive Search (WES) is responsible for conducting the research for and quality assurance of the list. See the entire list here: