ForTheDoers Blog

Greetings from Almedalen

Per-Oscar Hedman  ·  17 July 2018

Almedalen has evolved to become an intense meeting place for Swedish representatives. During the first week of July, the 45,000 participants could choose from more than 4,300 public seminars and other events in addition to an unknown number of non-public events, meetings and round-table discussions.

Tulips-flowers

This was the 50th anniversary of Almedalen. Besides its remarkable growth – it all started with the then Chairman of the Social Democrats, Olof Palme, holding a speech from the bed of a lorry in Almedalen park in Visby – what is most striking is the constant addition of new segments of Swedish public life and businesses.

This year, in terms of energy issues, the stability of the Nordic power system stood out: Grid capacity, balancing power capacity, the regulatory framework and storage were some of the issues being discussed. The Energy agreement from 2016 managed to address several short-term issues, but it’s obvious that there are a lot of energy-related challenges that need to be addressed after the Swedish election in September. Some of those challenges were addressed by Fortum’s President and CEO Pekka Lundmark at one of Fortum’s seminars, at Di Energy Arena.

Fortum has for a number of years addressed the need to reform the Swedish Environmental Act and its practice in order to actually facilitate sustainable development. This year was no exception. One reflection from our seminar discussion on how this can be done is that there is a need for a long-term approach. Over the years an increasing number of different stakeholders have presented examples on how practice actually leads to adverse effects, be it about expansion of a water treatment facility or permits for a new wind park.

A circular economy is a necessity for sustainable development. One area in which the absence of that circular approach is all too apparent is plastics; it has subsequently become very prominent in the public debate and in Almedalen. It was also the theme of one of Fortum’s seminars. Key insights were that measures need to be addressed as far up in the waste hierarchy as possible – how we design products affects both the usage and the ability to create a well-functioning plastic circular economy – as well as the need to also have a value chain in place.

Technological development in energy production, digitalisation and AI together with the trend to become more self-sufficient in all areas creates all the pre-requisites needed for market disruption, and Fortum participated this year in several panels and seminars with our expertise in these areas.

Digitalisation was one topic that encompassed all sectors present and the other one was gender equality and diversity, important issues that ultimately go back to our ability to attract the competence we need, not only on a country level, but also globally.

Per-Oscar Hedman
Communications Manager, Corporate Affairs and Communications