Anne Enger, Eco-design and Sustainability Business Manager
What started as a movement has evolved to being a given topic within corporations, such is the case with sustainability. So what is it like working with sustainability these days in a multi-national organization? Anne Enger is one of the individuals who is driven by the responsibility and challenge of ensuring sustainability, and she loves it. She really loves it.
There’s never been such a large focus on sustainable corporations as there is today. Why do you think that is?
You’re right. I think there are a lot of external factors that are forcing businesses to take action today, I believe the climate meeting in Paris 2015 was important. Large companies want to increasingly take their responsibility. You see it with the younger generation entering working life as well; they want to actively do the right thing. Working with sustainability requires a different mind-set and new working methods. I believe that those companies, who don’t adjust their business will in the long-run, risk their survival.
Do you think organizations can make a real impact when it comes to sustainability?
Absolutely! The Absolut Company is one of the largest exporting food companies in Sweden and in Åhus, where our distillery is, we’ve already done a lot. Our production is climate neutral today, and by reducing the amount of glass in the new designed bottle, we succeeded in decreasing emissions even further. As for the future, we have a sustainability vision and long-term goals when it comes energy efficiency, and resource use, and we now have a cross-functional steering committee to make sure those goals are implemented throughout the company.
Has sustainability always been central to you and your work?
When I’m working I want to make sure to have a purpose and make a difference. But no, sustainability hasn’t always been the way in which I’ve channeled that passion. But since my generation and generations before mine have lived beyond our natural resources, it’s now our responsibility to fix it, and I want to be a part of that transformation. But I do enjoy nature a lot - horse riding is a great passion of mine.
Horse riding seems to be really popular at The Absolut Company, something in the water?
Haha! Well it is a large sport in Sweden. I don’t know if there’s anything to it, but of course horse riding is more than just riding - there’s a lot of hard work, endurance and responsibility involved – which are also key factors when working with sustainability. You probably do three hours of manual labor for one hour of horse riding. Maybe there’s a type of a person who enjoys working with horses and working at The Absolut Company.
Has the attitude towards sustainability changed at all since you started?
Absolutely. As I mentioned before, many years of hard work in Åhus has established a mind-set of sustainability throughout the organization. Today, responsibility and sustainability is driven by a passion that can be felt everywhere in the office. The drive comes from within each employee and I think that’s the only way to truly make an impact and a difference. I think it’s fantastic that sustainability is now one of the core aspects of the company’s communication strategy. We want to be open and transparent, which means we are open to being challenged, and that motivates us to continuously improve our efforts within sustainability. Otherwise we risk doing nothing, and that’s the biggest risk of all.