Q&A with Sustainia

Sustainia’s CEO, Rasmus Schjødt Pedersen, and Partnerships Manager Kelly Lynch

The next generation of Sustainable Business Innovators will come from local communities around the world, many of whom are already facing the realities of climate change. Sustainable development, education and diversity will be key tools to address this.

Sustaina has a mission is to change mindsets and narratives around sustainability through impact communications and fact-based storytelling. Last year they helped launch a report with the UN Global Compact and DNV GL to celebration leading companies efforts to drive climate action including Novozymes.

Since then and together with HelloScience, we have been looking at how we could do more together, involving universities and communities. Welcome to the Arctic Opportunity Explorer.

Sustainia’s CEO, Rasmus Schjødt Pedersen, and Partner Manager Kelly Lynch, tell us more.

25 Sep, 2020

Q: Rasmus, what is the Arctic Opportunity Explorer challenge all about?

A: Throughout the years Sustainia has focused on providing inspiration and concrete opportunities to tackle climate change risks. Now is the time to move from inspiration to action. Through the Arctic Opportunity Explorers challenge we do just that — by advancing the entrepreneurial ideas of students to lead to concrete action. By working with our six partner universities and HelloScience, we will together facilitate a culture where students become the drivers of sustainable development at the societal level in the Arctic region.

This case competition will give students the chance to work as part of collaborative groups to create solutions to real-world challenges.

It is no surprise that the Arctic is the focus of this project. The ice sheets are melting faster than ever before, sea levels are rising, the permafrost is thawing, and the Arctic flora and fauna are changing. Global warming is causing fundamental changes in the Arctic. But it’s not all about nature. There are also major community issues to be solved in terms of reducing inequalities or the wellbeing of children. These elements create new challenges and new opportunities for the students to uncover to assist the Arctic communities who are inherently dependent on their local climate, environment and communities.

We are asking students to get together to form groups, address a concrete challenge, and innovate to produce the beginnings of a solution, all with the help of digital collaboration tool HelloScience.

Read more about Open Challenge and Apply Now

Q: Kelly, why are you collaborating with HelloScience?

A: The complex problems present in the Arctic cannot be resolved by any one country or individual, making multilateral action more important than ever. For this challenge we knew it was imperative to partner with a leader in the fields of collaboration and innovation that could assist with establishing connections and partnerships between universities that have historically relied on physical connections.

Over the years we’ve been lucky to establish a good relationship with Novozymes and their HelloScience platform was easily our first choice for this project. The functionality of the platform enables the students to network, collaborate, and create to uncover the best solution for this case competition. HelloScience’s ecosystem of scientists, business developers, lawyers, startups, thinkers, and storytellers all have a shared passion for open innovation, open science and groundbreaking collaboration around the SDGs, crucial for this project.

“By uniting the combined forces of Sustainia, Novozymes’ HelloScience platform, and academic institutions, the Arctic Opportunity Explorers challenge will take students entrepreneurial ideas from inspiration to concrete action to tackle the challenges present in the Arctic.”

Kelly Lynch, Partner Manager, Sustainia

Q: Rasmus, what do you hope this can lead to?

A: We hope that all individuals interested in making a difference in the Arctic will participate in this challenge. There’s a place for everyone from mentoring to forming your own collaborative group. Our desire is to make a real impact by fostering a culture where students are the drivers of sustainable development and by breaking down barriers to communication and collaboration. As Covid-19 has taught us, the old way of doing things is on the way out, we need to find ways to work together that do not require physical interactions. That is why we believe in the power of the partnerships we have compiled for this project to multiply its impact and to create the speed and scale to facilitate the student’s entrepreneurial ideas which are impossible through unilateral action.

“The Arctic Opportunity Explorer challenge will arm students with the tools to solve intractable Arctic challenges in a digitized, globalized, and pandemic world.”

Rasmus Schjødt Pedersen, CEO, Sustainia

Read more about Open Challenge and Apply Now