Ingeborg Gjærum wants to see Volue at the forefront of sustainability
Many in Norway will remember Ingeborg Gjærum from their TV screens. Growing up in the early 90s, she became a youth environmental activist and got swallowed into the environmental movement while still at school.
When she lived in Ghana in West Africa as a teenager, she realised that solving environmental problems was also a way to help more people out of poverty.
In Norway, she led the youth organization Natur og Ungdom and, later, was the deputy of the Norwegian Society for Nature Conservation.
“At some point, I realised that if I wanted to be a better environmentalist I had to understand technology and the economy,” Gjærum says. “I became a civil engineer.”
From activism to business and sustainability
Gjærum later joined Powel, one of Volue’s founding companies, and ultimately Volue to lead the company's efforts related to Sustainability, Strategy and People.
A month ago, at the Sustainable Finance & Reporting Summit, the leading event for sustainability reporting in Norway, she presented along with speakers from companies at the forefront of sustainability such as Statkraft, Tomra and DNV.
The summit was organized by S-HUB, an organization that aims to build a network of the most ambitious companies and frontrunners and to inspire, guide and integrate sustainability in the core business strategy of Norwegian companies.
“As a company, Volue is new. Our first sustainability report was part of our 2020 Annual Report. Reaching the top tier of ESG reporting will take some time. But our journey is valuable. We are representative of many companies that are starting on their ESG journey. Everyone wants to be where the pioneering companies are but how do you get there? Where do you start?”
During the summit, Gjærum was transparent about the challenges in the first year of reporting.
“There are targets and KPIs that you have to report on. There are EU regulations and requirements from Norwegian authorities that are coming into force and will be obligatory. Companies will have to be compliant. This will push them to become more focused on reporting.”
However, different companies have different potential to create positive environmental impact through their business and for Gjærum the real challenge is to quantify how Volue’s products move the needle, and to explore how the impact can be even stronger. She believes this should also be a part of the ESG reporting efforts.
“We don’t want Volue to just have environmentally friendly operations. We want to show the difference we make through the competence we have and through our products. We want to walk the talk in the way we operate, but we want to do much more than that. Our portfolio and products make a difference, transform the industries we work in and help our customers become greener. This is much harder to quantify.”
One way to do this is to work on case studies that show how Volue products contribute to the green transition.
Gjærum hopes that in two to three years time, Volue will be at the forefront of sustainability reporting, going beyond being compliant.
Doing well on sustainability is also very important to her in terms of company culture.
“Many of our employees are concerned about the environment and this is why they are here. Sustainability reporting is important for our company culture and recruitment. We want to recruit change-makers. This is very dear to me because I am accountable for Sustainability, Strategy and People. We have to see these in relation to each other,” Gjærum says.
“On World Environment Day, I often reflect on my journey so far. When I see how embedded sustainability is in Volue’s vision and mission statement, I realize that this is the place to be to make a difference.”