Sustainable Stockholm

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Yesterday our class spent another day with our Stockholm host, Shawn Westcott. Shawn took us to tour more of the city’s landscape and sustainable aspects.

We began at Central Station which we had been using the past few days to get around the city. What our cohort didn’t know was that the energy of the passengers in the station is used to power the building. This world renowned technology uses touch pads underground to exploit the kinetic energy of the buildings inhabitants. The ceiling plates have heated sensors that also capture the energy.

We took the metro to Hammarby Sjostad, or “seaside town” This is a progressive/green neighborhood with 25,000 residents. Hammarby has energy efficient lighting, solar and wind energy, and a garbage collection system that is underground and collects trash on conveyor belts. There is a commuter boat that runs on renewables and takes the many walking/biking residents to other areas of the city.

Within Hammarby, are many restaurants, grocery stores, and offices. Shawn took us to fast food chain Max Burger as well as the Coop grocery store. At Max restaurant, we were able to see a fast food chain that used the Natural Step concept to produce nationally sourced food produced on site.  Max Burgers measures its carbon footprint as well as nutritional information on every item. I enjoyed a delicious low impact veggie burger.

Shawn also showed us the Coop grocery store, one of Sweden’s chains. Sweden uses a national label, “Krav” as its eco-label. Krav products are fair trade, organic, and biodynamic. Even more shocking, was learning that high fructose corn syrup is illegal in Sweden. Though it may have been unusual to shoppers that a bunch of tourists were checking out a grocery store, I thought that it was a great way to see how common everyday life in Sweden has so much focus on the environment and social well being of people.

We then headed to “The Hub” a collaborative workspace for entrepreneurs focusing on corporate social responsibility. The Hub is an international concept, and the Stockholm office is just one of its many locations worldwide. At The Hub, we were able to speak to entrepreneurs who are working hard to develop solutions to global problems. Emma, an employee of the SEForum (Social Enterprise Forum) spoke about her involvement in helping entrepreneurs through a “boot camp” in which they learn the tools, networking, and financial skills to be a successful business. One entrepreneur, Victoria, is currently in the bootcamp program and talked about her venture, Mowoza, a company that helps people send non-perishables to family and friends in rural areas. Through text messaging, people can order food and families can pick them up in local stores. This concept has helped lower corruption in areas and also avoids wire transfer fees.

We ended our day with a trip to City Hall to see where the Nobel Prize reception is held and government meetings take place. Our two days with Shawn were educational, enjoyable, and helped us gain a true insight into sustainable Stockholm. Thanks Shawn!

For more information about our host and tour guide, Shawn Westcott, check out his business, Westcott Enterprises.

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