After the COP15 fiasco, the climate debate needed a shot in the arm. The weekly business journal Mandag Morgen (Monday Morning) took on that challenge by setting up the Sustainia think tank. One of the outcomes is a database of more than 3,500 sustainable solutions. Laura Storm, CEO of Sustainia, tells the story.

What was the journal's intent in setting up Sustainia?

“Sustainia was created subsequent to the COP15 event in Copenhagen. Mandag Morgen performed its own analysis of the COP15 failure and found that it had a lot to do with the language used in public discussion. For many years, members of the public had been exposed to intensive fear mongering and a prohibitionist agenda. That doesn't exactly drive engagement or interest in change. People were frightened and overwhelmed by the complexity of the climate challenge, and the natural reaction was to turn a blind eye. Sustainia was founded on the basis of that diagnosis, and the aim is to inspire enthusiasm for a transition to sustainable practices. Its mission is to shed light on the fact that a sustainable world is not just a dream and to showcase the thousands of sustainable solutions already available. Every year, we discover new ones, and we tell the stories about the top 100 in our publication Sustainia100. The fifth edition is under way, and we now have a database of over 3,500 sustainable solutions.”
(Access the Sustainia publications at and learn about sustainable solutions in various sectors such as IT, construction, and transportation.)

What does Sustainia do day to day?

“We are a green think tank disseminating information about sustainable trends and solutions. At the same time, we work with customers and partners to identify their potential for sustainability and publicize their experience with the transition to operating sustainably as a means of inspiring others to make the transition.

For instance, we helped a pension fund communicate effectively about sustainable investments; we helped a pharmaceutical company develop its vision of a health promoting city; and we helped a packaging manufacturer share its expertise with regard to sustainable packaging in such a way that everyone could understand it.”

How does PurePrint fit into your sustainability agenda?

“PurePrint is the natural choice for our print publications. We preach sustainable solutions to everyone we work with, and of course we practice what we preach. It means a lot that the paper on which we express our vision for society in a sustainable world is a part of that vision.”

In what other ways are you a sustainable organisation?

“Last year, our office went through a sustainability makeover. Our new carpeting is made from recycled materials. The paint on the walls is natural and breathable and creates a better indoor climate. Our lamps are made of sustainable bamboo.”

Do you have advice for businesses wanting to prioritize sustainability?

“Do not get overwhelmed, just start somewhere and take it from there. A good starting point is to look at what comes through the door. For example, what about paper, raw materials, light bulbs, electricity, office supplies, and the food in the cafeteria – could we replace those items with "green" alternatives? It doesn't have to cost a lot, and there are often ways to optimise what's already on hand. Don't make it more difficult than it is."