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Storm wants to inspire other work environments to be more sustainable


An opinion piece in a national newspaper followed by a discussion thread on Yammer has led to a an ongoing conversation about sustainability at Malmö University. The University’s innovation hub, Storm, is now offering their best eco-friendly tips in the hopes of inspiring others.

“At Storm, we’ve been actively considering environmental issues from the outset. It’s probably the liveliest discussion we have and also a process in which we’re constantly striving to do better,” says Storm’s manager Patrik Berander.

Helena Ondrus portrait photoHelena Ondrus“Our hope is that Storm can drive the issue of sustainability forward and be an inspiration to other organisations. Those who are interested in learning more are of course welcome to get in touch,” adds Storm process developer Helena Ondrus.

Planes, trains and vegetarian meals

Travelling for work is often what contributes most to Swedish universities’ carbon footprint. One of the concrete measures that Storm has implemented to reduce their environmental impact is avoiding air travel completely.

“You can always question whether or not business trips are necessary, but as a rule of thumb we opt for the train if our work requires any travel,” says Berander.

Storm has decided to invest in free, digital meetings through video conference services such as Zoom. For study visits, they choose local spots that are easy to get to by public transport.

“Encouraging more people to stream their events online allows greater opportunity for participation among those who want to avoid travel,” says Ondrus.

Food is another important outlet for Storm’s environmental efforts. When arranging meetings themselves, vegetarian food is exclusively on the menu. In order to prevent food waste, any leftovers are usually placed on a food cart for passers-by to grab, or advertised through the community app Jodel. 

Reduce and reuse

As a general rule, Storm does not use disposable products like plastic utensils or paper plates. They also lend and recycle equipment from other organisations and go for second-hand when buying equipment themselves.

“We often use materials from other parts of the University. For instance, we salvaged paper and mobile walls that were used during the University’s 20th anniversary celebration,” says Ondrus. 

Sustainability is the natural choice

During the autumn, students taking the course ‘Innovationsprojekt’ (Innovation project) have spent a lot of time in Storm, working on sustainable solutions within the University. Storm has offered University management the chance to take part in spearheading sustainability efforts, using both students’ ideas and Storm’s own methods and tools.

Patrik Berander portrait photoPatrik BeranderDuring the spring, Storm will be working intensively on spotlighting environmental issues and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. One example is a hackathon that the innovation hub will be hosting in spring together with the World Wildlife Fund. Another initiative is a series of documentary screenings and talks, organised in collaboration with Fredrik Björk from the Department of Urban Studies, exploring topics that deal with sustainability.

“As a university, we have to practice what we preach. We don’t think what we’re doing at Storm is strange or strenuous, it’s simply the most natural choice as well as the most environmentally and economically sound practice,” Berander adds. 

Text: Daniel Harju