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    Forever Gains Another Sustainability Expert

    Stockholm (NordSIP) – “Great excitement!” That is how Karin Reuterskiöld herself describes her latest career move on LinkedIn. Catching up with her in the first days of 2023, NordSIP finds the senior banker and sustainable finance pioneer full of energy and eager to start working as Partner at Forever Sustainable, a combined consultancy, think-tank, and professional network in corporate sustainability.

    “I admire the work that Forever has done so far to assemble such a brilliant team of specialists and forge strong connections with both academia and the industry,” says an enthusiastic Reuterskiöld. “There is a solid body of knowledge in the company now. At the same time, we can draw on additional expertise and resources from our broad network, which allows us to grow further without the need to employ more people. I am confident we can be a valuable strategic partner to our clients,” she adds.

    There is bound to be an adjustment period, of course. It is the first time in Reuterskiöld’s decades-long banking career that she will be working for such a small organisation. “I am still getting used to doing everything myself,” she remarks. Yet she says she is up for the challenge and grateful for the chance to develop further and contribute to the sustainable finance cause. “After so many years in the business, I don’t take opportunities like this for given. I view my new job as a rare privilege,” she says.

    Browsing through Reuterskiöld’s impressive CV, featuring positions such as Senior Origination Manager at Nordea Markets and Senior Banker at Danske Bank, it is not immediately obvious when and how her priorities shifted towards the path of sustainable finance. I wonder how she ended up as Danske Bank’s Sustainable Business Strategist, a position she has held since 2017. “It all started with a personal side-interest,” explains Reuterskiöld. “A good friend of mine persuaded me to join Amnesty Business Group back in 2005. Over the years, I became more and more passionate about putting social issues like human rights on the corporate agenda.”

    Meanwhile, her interest in and knowledge of other sustainability aspects grew steadily. And so did her conviction that these issues are highly relevant to her banking clients as well. “I started working actively to persuade the top management of Danske Bank Sweden that this is important. I even wrote a letter to them, arguing that we need to step up and meet the clients’ needs for sustainable financing,” she recalls. “The response was positive, and I got the chance to work with the issues, eventually full-time.”

    Her timing to get seriously involved in sustainable finance was undoubtedly right. “It is hard to believe that there are more than 200 people working with different aspects of sustainability at Danske today,” says Reuterskiöld. “Imagine what a journey! I am really happy I have been a part of it.”

    Now, however, it is time for something new. “I look forward to contributing to the existing expertise at Forever by adding the lending perspective,” she reflects. Financing the sustainable transition is not a trivial matter, and Reuterskiöld is highly aware of the dilemma that both lenders and borrowers are facing. “Companies who offer solutions need money now, before they can show positive cash flow. How do you, as a lender, venture to finance them without compromising the quality of your credit book?”

    “I see my future role as a facilitator, starting a dialogue between sustainable businesses and banks,” says Reuterskiöld. “I also intend to leverage my broad network to connect good people. And there is always the need to educate, to explain,” she adds. “Although I am aware of the complexity and a strong believer in a science-based, factual approach to sustainability, years of experience have made me realise the importance of simplifying the message. We need to make the sustainable imperative easy to understand. It has to become the natural choice,” concludes Reuterskiöld.

    Julia Axelsson, CAIA
    Julia Axelsson, CAIA
    Julia has accumulated experience in asset management for more than 20 years in Stockholm and Beijing, in portfolio management, asset allocation, fund selection and risk management. In December 2020, she completed a program in Sustainability Studies at the University of Linköping. Julia speaks Mandarin, Bulgarian, Hindi, Russian, Swedish, Urdu and English. She holds a Master in Indology from Sofia University and has completed studies in Economics at both Stockholm University and Stockholm School of Economics.

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