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Energy focus at Nobel Week Dialogue

Elaine Weidman at Nobel dialog

The 2013 Nobel Week Dialogue was dedicated to exploring the Future of Energy and brought together a unique collection of thinkers from a range of disciplines. Nobel Laureates, world-leading scientists, policy makers and industry leaders got together to discuss issues that affect us all.

The goal of Nobel Week Dialogue is to provide an opportunity for dialogue that crosses the boundaries between science and society. This year’s event was held for the first time in Gothenburg, Sweden, a city that prides itself on its focus on sustainable development and is home to The Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development.

Ericsson was invited to participate in a number of sessions at the event. Our President and CEO, Hans Vestberg, was one of the keynote speakers. He discussed how the ICT industry can enable transformative change in the area of sustainability. He pointed out that ICT had the potential of to reduce carbon emissions was 7 times larger than the industry’s own carbon footprint, and that the industry could help to reduce global CO2 emissions by 16.5%.

Hans Vestberg at Nobel

And transformative change – major steps towards achieving sustainability – are what is needed to help meet the energy challenge. Small, incremental changes will not be enough. This urgency was covered during the panel session “Assessing current energy outlooks” with some of the top thinkers in this area, including Rajendra Pachauri, who accepted the 2007 Nobel Peace on behalf of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Members of the panel discussed the big issues around energy including forecasting energy needs, trends in energy sources and ecomomic development in relation to sustainability.

Elaine Weidman, Ericsson’s Vice President of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility went on to moderate a panel: “Smaller footprints: how can we reduce our energy usage?” The panel was made up from representatives from business, academia and government. Speakers from Volvo Group, The Royal Institute of Technology – Stockholm, Chicago University, The City of Gothenberg, The University of Gothenberg and the Royal Institute of Technology took part in the discussion.
Opening the session, Elaine asked whether achieving smaller footprints was really doing enough. There was a lively debate both on stage and with the live and online audiences following the discussion.

Elaine then went onto to participate in panel discussion “How do we meet the challenge of providing access to energy for all?” along with Fatih Birol, Chief Economist and Director of Global Energy Economics at the International Energy Agency, David MacKay, Chief Scientific Advisor to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (UK) and Richenda Van Leeuwen, Executive Director, Energy and Climate, Energy Access Initiative team overseeing the UN Foundation’s work on energy access. The discussion focused on the different ways that public and private partnerships are addressing this key issue of social inclusion.

Reflecting on all of the discussions throughout the day, I would say that they were successful in highlighting a challenge that is truly global; and that technology can be part of the solution . More importantly, the event succeeded in deepening the dialogue between thought leaders, from different disciplines and with different perspectives.


Written by Heather Johnson

Heather Johnson is the Vice President of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility for the Ericsson Group. Her focus is on advocating the role that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can play in addressing global challenges in areas such as education, climate change and humanitarian response and preparedness. She also manages the company's relationships with key sustainability stakeholders, including investors, NGOs, the UN and other international organizations, as well as partnerships such as the World Economic Forum.

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