Talking sustainability with Marielle

By Andreas Spak
Published on 2023-04-04 (Last modified: 2023-09-16)


Today I talk sustainability with Marielle Carlsson at Spak Consultants, strategist and specialist in the field. Marielle has a degree in both law with a focus on environmental law, and in strategic leadership for sustainability. She has had the privilege of seeing and working with sustainability issues in various roles within various industries. She believes that there is a big difference in how far sustainability work has come, both between and within industries.




What do you think gives an increased focus on sustainability as a company? 

A lot has happened in recent years, not least based on how companies take voluntary responsibility and integrate sustainability issues into their business development.

Both knowledge level and commitment have generally increased. But regardless of how far you have come, sustainability is a long-term survival issue and should therefore be integrated into the company's business concept. A strong sustainability focus makes the companies more relevant to customers and to society at large, which provides important competitive advantages. Both large and small companies have an important role in the transition. To increase sustainability, you have to look at the entire company and its internal processes. It also requires leadership that can navigate constant change and that creates the conditions for necessary behavioral changes. We need to be innovative and think new, but at the same time also dare to end the activities that are no longer beneficial.


Which area do you think we should collaborate and focus more on?

There are only a few years left until 2030 and until the 17 global sustainability goals that the UN member states have agreed upon must be achieved. In order to have time to adjust and to increase speed, companies need to have a clear strategy, goals and ownership management that uses digital technology. The digital landscape means that everything goes faster, which is exciting.


You mention technology development and sustainability. What challenges and opportunities do you see in the IT industry?

The question is how technological development can be used to benefit both people and the environment and at the same time be in proportion to the economy. I think a lot is about a balance between modernization and raising standards against the negative impact new technology brings. According to the World Economic Forum, 70 percent of the sustainability goals in Agenda 2030 can be supported with already existing technology and technical solutions such as IoT, AI and robotics. From being a forerunner, where digital development contributes solutions in many respects, there are also areas that constitute a negative impact, such as working conditions that occur for the people who extract the raw materials in the mines and manufacturing in the factories. Running all IT solutions requires incredible amounts of electricity that affects the climate. The industry needs to reduce emissions in its own operations as well as emissions in supply chains. Undesirable chemicals need to be phased out and already at the design stage products need to be designed so that they can be reused, upgraded and become circular.


Can you give some concrete tips for getting started and working with sustainability?

I think it's about setting a reasonable level of ambition and getting into a habit that can be maintained over time. It can be good to start by defining what sustainability is for your company and start from that. What social, environmental and economic issues are important? Feel free to bring in someone who can give a lecture or a workshop to kick-start the process. Consider involving the entire company in this process. Make sustainability work part of the business strategy and create a clear structure for the work. Set concrete goals and follow up on the results. To increase the credibility of your sustainability work, there are various certifications and sustainability labels, which can also help structure the work. Don't forget to share your successes so you can inspire others!

About the author

Andreas Spak

Andreas is a Devops and AWS specialist at Spak Consultants. He is an evangelist for building self-service technologies for cloud platforms, in order to offer clients a better experience on their cloud journey. Andreas has also strong focus on automation and container technologies.