“We must do everything we can to make sure our children will be able to enjoy snow, fresh air, clean water in the fjord and live healthy, sustainable lives in Oslo in the future. Seeing all the kids in front of Parliament during the school strike for climate was touching and truly inspiring. Those kids are my motivation.”- Kjersti Folvik, Director of Sustainability & Innovation at Aspelin Ramm
For Kjersti Folvik, it is her love for nature that motivated her to become engaged in environmental issues. This EGC Ambassador recognizes that despite being a city, Oslo has a special connection with nature in that you can combine busy city life with skiing, kayaking, climbing, swimming, hiking, fishing – all within the reach of a metro or bike ride.
As Oslo strives to become an even greener city, Folvik understands that sustainable city development is key in unlocking potential and successful business opportunities. For her part, she’s leveraging her position as the Director of Sustainability & Innovation at Aspelin Ramm to work on reducing our climate footprint from energy, materials and transport, as well as facilitating urban food production and making healthy environments for people, insects and plants alike. “The real estate and construction industry use a substantial part of the world’s energy, material and water resources, and we thus have a great responsibility to use them with care, closing the loops and reducing emissions and waste from our projects,” she says.
Re-shaping the industry is not without its challenges, however, and for Folvik patience as a virtue is one of them. “Well, I am impatient by nature,” she laments, “I believe that the sustainability and climate challenges we face demand impatience from everyone. Unfortunately, some of the planning and regulatory processes are too slow to keep up with the need for speed, and some of our national and global leaders and policy makers seem to have all the time in the world, like that frog being slowly boiled.” Despite her personal pitfalls, she remains optimistic due to the rapid change in awareness surrounding her industry. This awareness is being brought to the forefront by political leaders here in Oslo, academics, and a cropping up of green tech companies. Nevertheless, even bolder action is needed in order to combat a rising global footprint.
Personally, Folvik cuts back on consumption – repairing instead of replacing, buying as little as possible- usually second hand when needed, making use of food residuals, planning short distance vacations. She’s also chosen climate-friendly transport and pedals around the Tiger City in her electric cargo bike, all in an effort to eliminate unnecessary car transport when it comes to kids, groceries, or other daily activity.
And if she does slip up… well.. “I have two boys at home who are quick to correct me.”
About Green Stories: Oslo Business Region is leading the business program during Oslo European Green Capital (EGC). The European Commission awarded Oslo the prestigious European Green Capital title for 2019. Being the European Green Capital in 2019 is a great recognition and an opportunity to showcase Oslo as a truly Green City linked to innovation, both in the international context and to Oslo’s population. In 2019 we will invite the world to Oslo – to share and to learn. Read more about EGC here and about the Industry Challenges here.