Letter from the CEO
At the time of writing, the war in Ukraine is overshadowing everything else. SINTEF opposes the Russian government’s invasion and acts of war, and we are complying with Western sanctions by reviewing our portfolio and export control measures. We have donated NOK 250,000 to the Norwegian Refugee Council to help ameliorate the enormous humanitarian suffering and challenges. One of our research environments has also developed technology that is helping refugees and those trying to help them find each other safely and effectively in confusing border situations.
At the same time, we recognise that our role in analysing or providing relief in the immediate war situation is limited. SINTEF’s main role must be to significantly contribute to solutions to the wider ripple effects of the war. For example, we would like our expertise in renewables and technologies to help boost energy supplies in Europe, and for our expertise in energy efficiency within construction and industry to help reduce energy needs, and thereby contribute to the same goal.
Looking back a few months, the Covid-19 crisis demanded a lot of attention in 2021 as well. However, we believe that the management of this crisis has also provided opportunities to prioritise measures that promote solutions to the climate crisis. The EU’s Green Deal announcements and the Norwegian Green Platform Initiative have been significant measures where SINTEF has mobilised strongly. SINTEF is participating in 10 out of the 12 Green Platform projects awarded funding in 2021/at the start of 2022. In the Green Deal, we are participating in projects that have attracted 17.5 per cent of the EUR 1 billion in green funds the EU has made available. We are proud to be a respected partner when business and governments seek to accelerate the green transition.
National and global emissions dropped when the Covid-19 crisis struck. However, it is paradoxical how little difference this made in relation to the major needs the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) outlines for the global community. In SINTEF, we are also working on our own climate footprint and for 2021 we have produced a more detailed climate report in which we have mapped our emissions and those in our upstream supply chain (Scope 3). SINTEF has developed methods and models to help it produce climate reports efficiently based on the organisation’s purchasing data. This is a service that we also hope to offer to our external clients going forward. The climate report will make it clear to us and others what further measures we should take to reduce our climate footprint in the future.
One important SINTEF initiative in 2021 was the launch of the SINTEF Global Climate Fund at the climate summit in Glasgow in November. The Climate Fund supports research into the solutions that will remove greenhouse gases (GHG) from the cycle and on which all of the scenarios for achieving the 1.5°C goal depend. We hope that inventing new technologies that remove GHG from the air and water will make up for the fact that we will continue to produce some emissions in the immediate future from running world leading research and laboratories. With its launch, we invited other companies and financial institutions to join in and contribute to the new climate-positive solutions, and we have announced SpareBank 1 SMN as our first partner.
Biodiversity is also a clearer priority – externally and internally. In 2021, we invested in a new group-wide initiative in this area. This aims to enable technological development and value creation on nature’s terms. By working together with external knowledge environments, such as the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), we want to develop expertise and new projects that can further promote comprehensive solutions that integrate and take account of environmental considerations. Biodiversity must be protected in everything from road building to aquaculture, and through the group-wide initiative we will dedicate ourselves to these issues together with the various technology environments across SINTEF.
In the last year, we have also focused heavily on exploring how SINTEF can use the EU taxonomy to strengthen our client offering in order to accelerate the transition to a sustainable society. We are also working on clarifying how we, as a research institute, should adapt to the taxonomy. Sustainable transition is the key to most of what SINTEF does and it is pleasing to see that social conditions are also being established as criteria in the taxonomy. This is also important internally in SINTEF, and equality and diversity were among those topics that received a lot of attention at around the turn of the year.