Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Swedish Power CEO With a Dual Mission: Make Profit, and Save the Earth

Lars G. Josefsson in New York after his speech to the U.N.
in the spring of 2006.                         Photo: Hans Sandberg

Back in October 2005, Time Magazine dubbed Lars G. Josefsson a “European hero” for his “quest to make big business greener.” He has taken his message of climate action to big businesses, to the White House, and to the United Nations. Currents Editor spoke with Lars Josefsson.

Vattenfall AB (which literally means Waterfall, Inc.) is the fourth largest power company in Europe, with 32,300 employees serving 4.9 million customers in Denmark, Finland, Germany, Poland, and Sweden. It sold $22.8 billion in energy in 2006, reaping a profit of $4.2 billion.

As CEO of a huge energy company, Lars Josefsson often faces difficult questions about nuclear power and dirty coal energy. He is well aware of the problems of fossil fuels, but is determined to push his company and the rest of the world in a green direction. He is founder of the powerful global business lobby 3C (Combat Climate Change). In May of 2006, he addressed the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development, stressing the need for a global tax on carbon-dioxide emissions. Without it, he says, there can be no global and efficient market for CO2 emissions. His presented a model for overcoming global warming that goes beyond the Kyoto Protocol and could take 100 years to achieve. This is not exactly the language Wall Street is used to hearing (not that they need to listen, as the Swedish government owns Vattenfall).

Read the entire interview in the Spring issue of Currents Magazine.

Hans Sandberg

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