1.2 Interview with Steen Hildebrandt, Summer 2018.
Here is the short version of my interview with
Steen Hildebrandt, Professor and Ph.D. His main focus is in leadership, organizational theory and their social impact. He has written, edited and contributed to around 400 books on these subjects in and outside of Denmark.
Below you can read about the 3 main recommendations I have chosen to high light. Actions you can apply now.
Katherine Richardson sent Yasmina, the polar bear, on to Steen Hildebrandt. They are on the same page, so you can get a notion of the connection between the two.
My second interview on We Turn 2030 was with Steen Hildebrandt, as I was sent on to him by Katherine Richardson (professor in biological oceanographics and the initiator and leader of the Sustainability Science Center at the University of Copenhagen).
He is one of the leading lecturers and knowledge bearers on sustainable leaderships and he has a background in economy that made Katherine send the relay (Yasmina the polar bear and me) on to him, due to his knowledge about UN's Sustainable Development Goal #8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth).
- is professor emeritus in organizational and management theory at the Institute of Marketing and Organization at the University of Aarhus.
- was from 2014 Adjunct Professor in Management at the Center for Business Development and Management, Institute for Production and Business Economics at the Copenhagen Business School.
- was from 2015 Adjunct Professor at the Institute for philosophy and Education under the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Aalborg.
- was for ten consecutive years voted to be Denmark's greatest MBA lecturer
- is a member of many boards, has written numerous articles in and outside of Denmark and he is passionate about sustainability and the Sustainable Development Goals (the SDGs). The list goes on and on and you can read up on him some more here.
I would like to shout out that Steen has written a small easily read book in Danish ("Verdensmålene - Vor største mulighed og udfordring." The Sustainable Development Goals - Our Biggest Opportunity and Challenge) about how we can use the SDGs towards a sustainable future and it is free of charge. You can get a copy at Systime here.
I’ve chosen to share 3 recommendations from Steen Hildebrandt on what you can do as an individual to become more sustainable in your thoughts and actions. Here they are and if you like - please sustain-apply them!
1) What YOU do matters and is urgent!
Question: What should an individual do to ensure sustainability?
In short he said:
What I think we should know as individuals is that what we do matters! A lot of people might think that they are not important or that they live in a little country, but Steen Hildebrandt stressed that we have to act upon what we know and there is a sense of urgency in the matter. We should buy locally and care about the content of a product and how it is produced. We should eat more plant based foods, because meat has a higher and heavier environmental impact. In short we have to educate ourselves and our children to be sustainable consumers. Steen Hildebrandt's focus on the importance of what we all do (not what we say)) is also very true to the overall principle behind the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals - which is Leave no one behind. The overall principle includes you and me. He also said, that the Sustainable Development Goals (the SDGs) represent a type of necessity. We have to change our course of direction in a number of areas and we all have to do it. We can’t all create revolutions, but we can all make changes that point in the same direction.
2) Sustain or loose (citizens and business leaders and they must pressure their politicians)
In short he said:
Combining Steen's book "Verdensmålene - vor største mulighed og udfordring" with the interview above - sustainable leadership is the future, according to Steen. Business as usual is a looser's game. A couple of years ago it was naiv to talk about sustainability now it is naiv not to. In 2017 at a summit in Davos10 principles for responsive and responsible leadership were articulated. The 10 principles are: compassion and emotional intelligence, integrity, openness, fairness, inclusiveness, competence and respect for evidence, consistency and sobriety. On facebook Mikala Satiya Rørbech proposed this question for Steen: How do you rate the balance of influence between (responsible) businesses and conscientious citizens and who do you trust? These were his words: "So I think that we really must have faith in both young people and all in all to the citizens, to the house holds, on the one hand and place the businesses on the other hand and on top of that we as citizens need to attempt, as voters to put pressure on our politicians. So the politicians also know what is going on."
3) We need to be rather than to have
In short he said:
We talked about "væredygtighed" which is the ability to be present in the moment. So a very rough translation would be "beability"! Which in it's essence is much more about appreciating the moment than wanting to gain more material goods and wealth. This is expressed very well in the whole wave of mindfulness. Where the experience of being in the moment is crucial to our wellbeing and it is also one of the main areas that people turn to when they are met with stress in their lives. In his words "to be present in the moment and to find a quality to be instead of getting more and more material goods, that is something many of us need to learn again".
Finally) Who did Steen Hildebrandt give the relay to?
The relay (the stuffed polar bear, Yasmina) goes to – Martin Keller!
In short he said:
There are actually many people I would like to send you on to and out of this group, I am choosing Martin Keller who is employed by the Municipality of Copenhagen, where he is a consultant within the sustainable development goals.
Interview by Celeste Elizabeth Arnold and film, sound and editing by Armina Dinescu.