Jens Olejak - South Pole
Implementing a low carbon emission strategy is a key for the industries to reach the Paris Climate Agreement goals, but how do we get there, and where to get insight on what actions to take?
South Pole is a new member of S-HUB since early 2021. They are an international leading climate consultancy which works with businesses and governments across the globe to help realise deep decarbonisation pathways across industries, as well as offering emission reduction standards. We had the pleasure of talking with Jens Olejak, CEO at South Pole Sweden AB and Regional Director Nordics. Responsible for Nordic BD, operations and expansion.
Jens Olejak has been working with sustainability- and climate related issues for the past 15 years. His business studies in the 90’s however had a complete different focus – finance theory and accounting, describing that he has grown into his role and found this line of work more meaningful and interesting than what he studied. At the same time, his studies and previous jobs has helped him combining commercial thinking with the necessity for companies to focus on business models to mitigate climate change as well as becoming more sustainable overall. He continues by saying the following; "Business and sustainability need to go hand in hand. My family and I love skiing in the Swedish mountains as well as hiking up north, like so many other families, and if we want to give our kids and future generations the possibility to enjoy that too, we need to do everything we can to stop climate change."
How did you become interested in sustainability?
I started off in 2006 advising energy companies and municipal energy suppliers in Germany on how to invest in CDM (The Clean Development Mechanism) projects being one of the measures for compliance within the EUETS. During the course of the years as voluntary action by corporates became more and more important, I saw that a really big number of companies needed help in finding their way in becoming more sustainable. This, in combination with a changing climate and polar caps and glaciers melting made me see the enormous task in front of us. Doing business by helping companies achieve their sustainability- and climate goals and hence doing my part in protecting future generations and my kids from climate change is what got me interested in sustainability. Only through business in combination with capital making investments possible enough momentum will be created to reach a 1,5-degree target and to mitigate climate change.
What is South Poles motivation for joining S-HUB?
The main motivation to join S-HUB is to increase our visibility in Norway and get to know the Norwegian business landscape. Via S-HUB we get the opportunity to share our expertise on various topics, and hopefully help more businesses on their net zero emissions journey. You can also read more about how we help companies go from ambition to action on our website: https://www.southpole.com/
Why is sustainability important for South Pole?
Sustainability is what we do. It’s the core of our business and mindset. We provide sustainability- and climate related services and help corporates in their transformation into a low carbon economy. We believe that the proactive strategy of organizations and corporations is a key for climate transformation. Therefore, we cooperate closely with those companies and help them achieve ambitious climate goals.
"Sustainability is what we do. It’s the core of our business and mindset."
What are your goals moving forwards?
South pole has achieved some fantastic results since we started in 2006, we’ve protected or restored over 55,000 km2 of land (around the total area of the African country of Togo), we’ve mobilized over US$ 15 billion clean energy investments (around the annual budget of the country of Uruguay) and we’ve positively affected 20 million people around the globe (around the total population of Sri Lanka) to mention a few. We want to continue down that path, and part of doing so is making sure our high-quality services are extended across the world, and the Nordic countries are of course very important markets. Helping all major and large corporations on their journey towards climate change will ultimately lead to achieving defined GHG reductions targets. That is also why we hope for effective partnerships as well as dedicated employees in Norway.
What are the greatest challenges for businesses wanting to become sustainable?
The greatest challenge for businesses is usually how to start and where to start. Companies are struggling with finding the right entry level as well as defining strategies and monitoring progress. Sometimes corporations are not aware of their impact. In that case the role of South Pole is to help understand their importance and the level of their contribution.
What can be done to overcome these challenges? How can S-HUB help overcome these challenges?
The main action that can be taken is to educate the market and share important insights. The cooperation with S-HUB will be valuable in reaching its network and making solutions to the complex ESG problems accessible.
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