Meet Heidi Neilson, one of Oslo Business Region’s Oslo European Green Capital Ambassadors. Heidi is a pioneer within the field of sea transport and is Head of Environment at Port of Oslo.
She holds an M.A. in Geography from the University of Bergen in addition to a B.A. in Environmental Management from University of SouthEastern Norway. Heidi sees the mix of natural and social sciences is useful to the port’s environmental impact as well as the influence on city development on Oslo as a fjord city. In the environmental field, the Port of Oslo functions in close relation to other authorities in the city and scientists who provide important knowledge.
“We exchange views with colleagues in cities & ports, as well as promoting transport at sea, which we believe can play a vital part in the fight against climate change. The ports and maritime businesses can cooperate to reduce the impact our sector has on both local & global environment in cities,” says Neilson.
What motivates you to support Oslo becoming more environmentally sustainable?
Moving cargo transportation from road to sea is the easiest way to reduce emissions from transport. Sea transport is the most energy efficient mode of transport, and cities with a port holds the key to become more sustainable.
What are you doing to help make Oslo a greener city?
The Port of Oslo has Norway’s largest container terminal. All Cranes are electric and almost soundless. One container ship substitutes 400 semi-trailers on the road from the continent. Our core business is to reduce air and climate emissions on a daily basis. The port operators ensure that ships transport 6 millions tons of cargo to our city annually. Half of Norway’s population live within three hours drive from Oslo. Our sea channels are the low emission highway!
What challenges do you face while working for a greener Oslo?
In Oslo we have professional operators in the port, brave politicians who lead the way, and all sectors in our city are equally challenged to find the path to a zero emission and sustainable future. Obstacles are structural, the need for change fast will challenge all parts of Our society. But those of us who accept that we have a problem, will also look for solutions. I am optimistic and believe in the beauty of change and partnership.
What are your personal climate goals for 2019?
I will continue to ride my bike to work every day all year long. For taking family holidays, my family will aim to use train transportation instead of flying. Workwise, the port of Oslo’s first electric boat “Pelican” is being built in 2019, and all of my own vehicles are close to zero emissions.
Name a role model that inspires you, locally and globally:
Locally, I admire young people who take charge of their own future and challenge us to make sure that we adults don’t make a larger mess than we already have. Globally, I wish there were more of an Obama of spirit and trust, to preserve peace and strengthen sustainability.
Photo: Hans Kristian Riise