Farewell, Stockholm

On our last business day in Stockholm, we visited Northvolt and Business Sweden. Northvolt is a green tech company that revolutionizing batteries at every step along the way, from mining and production to recycling. Business Sweden is a semi-governmental agency that encourages foreign businesses to choose Sweden as their foreign base, and acts as an incubator and consulting agency for local startups.

Northvolt is a fast-growing business in a fast-growing industry. They are working to “close the loop” of producing batteries, incorporating the recycled components of old batteries into the creation of new ones, all while reducing the emission output of the process. We love the green aspect of everything here in Sweden, and Northvolt’s passion for the environment is incredible. Coming from disposable America, where everything we buy is intended to be thrown into a landfill, it is so refreshing and reassuring to see that elsewhere in the world people actually care.

Comparing Northvolt with Tesla, where their founder came from, you can see that CEO Peter Carlsson has taken things a few steps further than even Musk could dream of. By reducing the mining of the components of batteries, since mining is quite harmful to the planet, Northvolt is moving the industry in the right direction, leading by example. If only they could mine all the old batteries that we have dumped in landfills to really kick-start their new giga-factories!

Northvolt’s office layout is also quite Scandinavian: they have an open-concept office with areas of common desks. People aren’t assigned a desk, instead each team is assigned an area where they can work collaboratively. There are many common areas where people can collaborate, and they have a couple of large kitchen areas that get very busy during the lunch hour. One thing of note, though, despite having sit/stand desks across the entire office, other ergonomic aspects were missing. Folks were using laptops plugged into the monitor attached to the desk, utilizing the keyboard and trackpad of the laptop rather than a separate mouse and keyboard, which can cause quite a lot of strain. Also, in other common areas of the office, people were sitting at tables or in open seating hunched over their little laptops. In a company with both an indoor and outdoor gym as well as Monday Runday weekly team runs, it’s surprising that Northvolt doesn’t have a greater focus on ergonomics.