IVA’s projects hot topics in Almedalen

Digitalisation’s opportunities, doubtful housing policy, biofuel, electroshock, innovation collaboration with Germany, the green race. These were the topics that attracted big crowds at six IVA seminars during one day in Almedalen.

On a Monday in Almedalen IVA presented the breadth and depth of the Academy’s projects. The topics covered in the six seminars attracted a large audience. 

The project Digitalisation for Increased Competitiveness, which was officially launched on this day, was no exception. The purpose of this project is to increase awareness about the opportunities and challenges of digitalisation. And there are challenges, according to Patrik Fältström of Netnod. In Sweden we have, for example, not reached consensus on which systems we should prioritise if something unexpected happens. 

In a seminar on housing policy most of the participants thought that the goal of building 700,000 new homes is not the best way to solve the housing shortage. Because who will be able to afford to live in all of these expensive flats? Alf Karlsson, State Secretary at the Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications, believes that better use of the homes that already exist is one solution. 

Biofuels from forest raw materials can play a significant role in the transition to a fossil-free society. But then the EU cannot decide how best to use the Swedish forest. The forest offers many solutions to society’s problems. This was emphasised by Jan Wintzell, Senior VP Business Development and Innovation at Sveaskog. 

Up to now delivery of electricity from the Swedish power grid has been reliable. Other than the problems caused by tough storms. But with an increased proportion of wind power and the closure of nuclear power plants, the situation may change. IVA’s Chairman Leif Johansson said that for the first time he was getting a bit concerned about this. Electricity-intensive Swedish industries in combination with cold winter days may prove to be a toxic combination for the grid in the future, he said. 

The nations of the world need to transition to a green economy. Resource-efficiency and the circular economy can provide new commercial opportunities for the country that comes out on top. Sweden is in a strong position, but so are countries like Germany. We therefore need to develop innovative business models. Vasakronan, Sweden’s biggest property company, has set its sights on this. The company is now not only focusing on energy efficiency but also on reducing material consumption. Anna Denell, the company’s Sustainability Director, pointed out that is it possible to re-use a lot of materials when remodelling. We could also make better use of offices that are empty at night though new types of rental contracts. 

There are plenty of initiatives out there to create the green economy. Against this backdrop, IVA will launch a new project in which the Academy will be a platform for these initiatives.