Getting Knighted For Combatting Climate Change

We have sat with Princes, CEOs, Scientists, but never did we think we’d sit down to chat with someone who had been knighted by the French Government, and yet here we are. What a time to be alive. Mattias Goldman, Chief Sustainability Officer at Sweco, sits down with Green.Org to share his vision for a more sustainable future, and how what it was like getting knighted for combatting Climate Change.

Who is Mattias Goldman?

He was previously CEO of the green and liberal think tank Fores, with the 2030-secretariat for a fossil independent transport sector. Mattias was named Sweden’s Most influential in sustainability issues, 2016, and runner-up Opinion Maker of the Year, 2017, when he was also knighted by the French government for his work against climate change. He was previously named “future politician of the year”, which shows that the future is hard to predict – he left party politics shortly after that. Mattias was born in Geneva, has lived in Chile and Kenya but currently resides in Stockholm.

Tell us a little bit about you and your background: 

I am proud to have worked with sustainable energy, transports and city development in three continents, and preparing to move to my fourth – after Europe, Latin America and Africa I am on my way to Thailand. I am a strong believer in business-led, market based solutions for the climate and sustainability goals that we as society have agreed on, and that is our chance to make a difference that will outlive us all.

What is a fun fact about you?

The French government knighted me – Chevalier d’honneur et du mérite – for my work in combatting climate change and ensuring that the world delivers on the Paris Agreement. Many people have their fantasies about what a knight looks like and what he does – a guy working with climate issues is rarely what they have in mind!

Why do you think climate change and sustainability is such an important topic today? 

Combatting climate change is the most important challenge of our time, and lately we have seen how this also helps create jobs, improve health, combat hunger and the need to migrate, safeguard biodiversity and many other of the important topics that we as a society have agreed upon. And it can be fun – an electric car is faster than a petrol powered vehicle, which is just one example on why vombatting climate change is no longer a question about sacrifice and shaming.

What do you envision your industry looking like 10 years from now?

As Chief Sustainability Officer at Sweco, Europe´s largest technical consultancy firm, I see a rapid and radical move towards climate neutral or -positive solutions, along with circular economy and sharing economy becoming the new norm. Furthermore, I see that the role of the consultant is changing – merely doing what the customer demands is no longer accepted.

What can the average person do to make a difference? 

There is no such thing as an average person – we are all individuals and all have our spheres of influence where we can and shall be part of the solution. Using this power as consumers, as workforce, as family members and as voters means that we all can make a difference. Be the change you want to see!

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