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Sustainable Nation

The Sustainable Nation Podcast delivers interviews with global leaders in sustainability and regenerative development three times a week. Our goal is to provide sustainability professionals, business leaders, academics and anyone interested in joining the sustainability revolution, with information and insights from the world's most inspiring change-makers.

Sep 8, 2021

Cecilia is the Sustainability Strategy Director at Electrolux in Sweden. Her role includes supporting the continued development of the company's sustainability strategy. She is responsible for implementing the strategy in the various Electrolux organizations, including defining ways of working and establishing relationships. Cecilia is also responsible for governance development and coordination, coordinating development of KPIs and other activities, as well as continuous improvement, assessment and development of the scope of the sustainability framework.

Cecilia Joins Sustainable Nation To Discuss:

  • Empowering customers to lead better and more sustainable lives through offering the right products
  • Integrating a sustainability strategy to the point it becomes the strategy
  • Electrolux's approach to circular design: closing the loop in materials, product as a service
  • Electrolux's climate-neutral value chain goal
  • The 50 Liter home
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Cecilia's Final Five Question Responses

What is one piece of advice you would give other sustainability professionals that might help them in their careers?

For a younger person, I would say that an important thing is not to lock on having a career in sustainability, but really to decide what field you want to be active in. Get a good degree in the field that you're interested in and then combine it with sustainability. I think the era of sustainability generalists might be coming to an end. I think the future will need more really good experts in the different fields. We need good industrial engineers to set super energy efficient operations. We need great designers to design products for refurbishment and recycling and for this new circular society we're working in. We need financial experts to work on sustainable finance. Make that combination; that will give you a faster career and I think stronger results in your work. For a person that's sort of come a little further in their career, I think be really true to the materiality analysis that you've done in your company. Even if things are hard or seem hard to solve or will take a long time. There is no way around really focusing on what makes most sense and what is needed to be addressed from a sustainability perspective.

What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability?

After 25 years in this business, I'm really excited; it really seems to be crunch time right now. I see it in my own company. We were the geeks, trying to knock on doors and bring our message to everyone. But now everyone's talking sustainability and we're struggling to keep up with everything with all the activities that are going on and all the interest. I hear the same things from my friends working in sustainability and from other companies. I see it in the news, I hear from my neighbors, and in policymaking. Above all I see it in the financial world, which is the real game changer. Just take an example: Electrolux this year is renewing its long-term incentive program. For the first time, the top two, three hundred managers and key people within Electrolux will be incentivized based on our SBT roadmap. There will not be a full long-term incentive payout for our top management unless we fulfill our science-based targets. That will be a game changer.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

I'm reading two books in parallel. Right now we're realizing that we won't just have to change our products and tweak our business. We're going to have to rethink our whole society. There is a book by Kate Raworth called Doughnut Economics, and another book called A Finer Future by among others Hunter Lovens and Stuart Wallace and John Fullerton. They're both talking about a new economic concept: the way we value materials, the way we value work. We will have to make new economic models, we'll have to rethink our business models and how we calculate investments. We'll have to redo it all. I think these two books give me a lot of happy thoughts that actually it's going to be possible before we run out of time.

What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in your work?

By now you've understood that I I'm a stickler for science, so I tend to go to the sources. We have a lot of good resources in Scandinavia; Stockholm Environments Institute, Stockholm International Water Institutes, the Stockholm Resilience Center. They publish a lot of stuff that is really good and front edge thinking. I read a lot of IPPC stuff, WWF stuff and from the Potsdam Institute as well. The other is creativity and turning it into what fits your business, but you really have to stick with the science.

Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work being done at Electrolux?

You'll just have to go to our webpage We'll be launching a new sustainability report in just a few weeks covering the 2020 work that we've done, so look out for that. For the Better Living Program: For the 50 Liter Home: There hopefully will be lots for you to read in the year to come.