Sustainability shifts into high gear

Ulrika Wedberg, Head of Sustainable Business at Sandvik

Sandvik aims to lead the shift in the industry by making sustainability a part of every aspect of business. The company has launched four challenging sustainability goals for 2030. Ulrika Wedberg, Sandvik’s new Head of Sustainable Business, explains why.

Why has Sandvik launched new sustainability goals?

We are convinced that sustainability is a true business advantage and a driver that enhances Sandvik’s competitiveness. Customers want to work with sustainable suppliers. Shareholders and investors are setting sustainable criteria to invest in companies, and young people today want to work for companies that have a clear and strong focus on sustainability. By aligning the presentation of our new financial goals with our sustainability goals we wanted to underline the importance of our long-term goals.

How does Sandvik’s sustainability work create value for society, customers, employees and shareholders?

Working with sustainability creates value in many ways. We want this company to exist long-term, so it is in everyone’s interest that we work toward having a more sustainable business.

By offering sustainable products along with increased productivity and a reduced CO2 impact, we help our customers reach their sustainability targets. We are also convinced that making sustainability part of our normal business increases our shareholder value.

We take a holistic view of our sustainability goals. We consider the impact of our operations, our supply chain and our customer offerings with specific targets for each of them that complement each other, and we are always trying to see the full picture and make the maximum positive impact.

Two of our new goals are people related; we know our business depends on people. Our goal today is the same as it was yesterday and will be tomorrow – zero harm to people. In addition, we will also focus on occupational illnesses. Effects from pressure and stress in our organization are increasing, and we need to deal with this in a professional way.

We will launch an ideas hub with the goal of gathering 100,000 sustainability ideas or innovations by 2030.

How can sustainability efforts serve as a business driver?

We see many opportunities opening up for us to work more in partnership with our customers and to apply our engineering and innovation skills to find new products and business models. Our various recycling offerings save materials, resources and costs.

Similarly, our target to always play fair drives behavior and business ethics in markets where we are active. We want to bring our suppliers along with us on our journey, requiring the same standards from them that we do with our own organization.

What are the biggest challenges to becoming even more sustainable in the future?

We must ensure that we have enough engineering competence to drive innovation at the pace that will be necessary, as well as keeping the long-term focus, despite market fluctuations that require short-term actions. We will, however, integrate the follow-up of the new targets in the performance management system for each division to ensure that despite changing times we don’t lose our focus on sustainability. Furthermore, we will launch an ideas hub with the goal of gathering 100,000 sustainability ideas or innovations by 2030, and we’ll institute an internal sustainability champion award.

What are you looking forward to in your new role as Head of Sustainable Business?

I look forward to working closely with the business areas, divisions and individual sites and working together to reach our targets while being the bridge to communicate our progress to investors, analysts and other stakeholders using my business knowledge.

Read more on the new sustainability targets on home.sandvik/about-us/sustainable-business

Ulrika Wedberg

Age:
51

Title:
Head of Sustainable Business

Education:
Master of Laws, Uppsala University, Sweden

Sandvik experience:
Started as an in-house lawyer in 2000 and then worked with M&As before moving to Sandvik’s Austrian powder supplier Wolfram Bergbau und Hütten in 2009, where she started as Vice President and in 2011 became President

Home:
Sigtuna, Sweden

Interests:
Skiing, running, shopping with girlfriends

Leadership style:
“I’m sociable and open and get energy from working with colleagues. I believe strongly in giving people the freedom to act”

Strengths:
Quick to grasp a problem and get things started

Weaknesses:
“I’m rather impatient, so I tend to start too early. I should be more structured”