Green economy in Tromsø

Once a month the Norwegian Environmental Association “Framtiden i våre hender” invites both the citizens of Tromsø and several speakers to have breakfast in the public library and to have discussions about issues related to sustainability and preserving our environment. This month the “Frokostseminar” focused on “green corporations” in Tromsø.

Text: Johanna Schirra

This month´s speakers were Thomas Johansen from “Din Taxi”, Cathrine Henaug of the international corporation “Rambøll” and Asbjørg Fyhn representing Troms fylkeskommune. Presenting their very different companies and fields of work, they all had two arguments in common: that it is necessary to raise awareness on climate issues and that both citizens and companies should work together to find solutions to reduce global warming.

Thomas Johansen presented his local taxi organisation, “Din Taxi”. This corporation tries to establish a green alternative to the common taxi corporations in town. Since 2012 they have launched new actions to become an environmentally friendly mode of public transport. Being a green taxi corporation might sound contradictory, but the idea of Din Taxi is to reduce emissions by environmentally friendly driving and by lowering the amount of tours by collecting people with the same destination. Johansen also said that his company is trying to negotiate with the municipality regarding a ban for private cars in the city centre, so that people start using public transport and taxis instead of taking their own car to town.

Cathrine Henaug told the audience about the corporation named “Rambøll”. She explained that they are working on sustainable building technologies focused on environmental amenity that both their customers and society can benefit from. During the company´s existence of more than 50 years, their leading slogan was to consider healthcare, the environment, sustainability and society as a whole – all of which should be considered together as a whole, also. Henaug especially pointed out the importance of co-working with different experts to find mutual solutions.

Last, Asbjørg Fyhn from the Tromsø municipality presented Klimapartnere Troms, a network of both private and public partners who try to find solutions to environmental issues by exchanging ideas and common issues. Fyhn emphasized the necessity of this cooperation between the private and the public sector, saying that political aims to reduce global warming can´t be realized without it. She also appealed that people should not hesitate to question the green symbol that companies like to embellish themselves with. Sometimes these are only used as ornaments when these companies are not taking action at all.

In the following discussion, one could easily see that the problem of communication and co-working is in fact an ongoing one. It turned out that, for example, the contact between Din Taxi and Troms fylkeskommune is fragmentary and may not even exist. As Asbjørg Fyhn stated, she did not even hear about attempts by the company to get in touch with the city council. So, in the end, all of the speakers agreed on the need to find better ways to communicate and work together to find common solutions.