Scandinavia is One of the Greenest Regions

Our journey through Sweden, Denmark and Norway has enlightened us on how Scandinavian countries differ significantly from the US. One thing that stands out the most is the concept of sustainability and the utilization of clean and green energy throughout the countries. Most of the companies we visited, whether they were well established or start-ups, each implemented renewable energy systems that utilized the natural energy from hydro, wind, and solar.

For example, Dong energy is expanding their wind technology throughout the Danish region and internationally, Keolis is improving public transportation by upgrading their buses to electric, and Fortlax uses the natural cold weather in the north to cool their servers. Scandinavian business have found the niche in the market (sustainability) that is making their countries become even more attractive than before. This is leading to greater and more efficient markets that are competing on the world stage unlike any other. Although the Swedes, Danes, and Norwegians are small in numbers their markets are going to have a large impact on the world.

As we look towards a more sustainable future in the United States, we have much to learn from Scandinavia. With the right amount of effort and cooperation, many of these similar project can become practical to implement in the US in a large scale. We are already seeing this trend in the US with companies such as Tesla, Spacex, Solarcity, Nest, etc. The US consumer market wants companies to lower their waste and are more willing than ever to shop at places that strictly maintain those standards or switch if they don’t. The United States also wants to reduce their energy dependencies and will likely, in the future, become more similar to Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Even though the US is slower to implement such changes, we should expect to see these new changes in sustainability over the next few decades.

This globe looks at how much light is used worldwide

Looking back on all of these experiences in Scandinavia, it has been a memorable one that we will keep with us forever. Understanding the differences from the US in cultural ideals like “Lagom” (just right) and gaining consensus as a group which is applied to the corporate responsibility to both society and the environment. Also, we learned the Scandic countries have strong ties to their roots and nature; thus, they implement a plan into an advanced startup to preserve their home is an eye opening experience. Consensus decision making, open offices, no hierarchy, mandatory vacation time, etc. these are some of the things that they are continuing to do uniquely that will propel them far in the future while everyone else, including the US, will be playing catch up.

Even though our time in Scandinavia has come to an end, we still have many more adventures to experience for our next journey. Until next time Scandinavia, adjö!

Team 17-4