Lundström Targets Next Level for Skandia’s Sustainability

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    Stockholm (NordSIP) – At the beginning of June, Swedish pensions and insurance giant Skandia announced they had found a new Head of Sustainability. As of 1 September, Gabriel Lundström will take over the responsibility for Skandia’s overall sustainability work and strategy. NordSIP reached out to Lundström to hear more about what compelled him to take on this new assignment and the challenges and opportunities he can discern ahead.

    “I am excited to meet my new colleges and start creating a strategy that takes Skandia to the next level,” says Lundström. “Skandia has come a long way when it comes to integrating sustainability in the business and investment processes and is one of the leaders in the market. Taking a successful player like that to the next level is particularly interesting as there is no obvious way to do it. I find that thrilling and just the kind of challenge that suits me well.”

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    Lundström certainly seems equipped to take on such a challenge. For the past ten years, he has been responsible for the sustainability work in several business divisions at SEB. Most recently, he comes from a position as Head of ESG at SEB’s pension company. Apart from his senior operative roles, Lundström is also an engaged member of several of the local financial industry’s joint initiatives. He is currently Chairman of the UN initiative Global Compact’s Swedish operations. Previously, he served for several years on the board of Sweden’s Sustainable Investment Forum (Swesif).

    In his new role at Skandia, Lundström will report directly to the CIO. “With Gabriel as the new Head of Sustainability, Skandia continues to advance its positions and integrate sustainability into its operations,” comments Lars-Göran Orrevall, Skandia Asset Management’s CIO (in Swedish). “Three years ago, Skandia launched an ambitious climate roadmap with a clear focus on sustainability. I am convinced that Gabriel is the right person to continue Skandia’s already successful sustainability work.”

    Lundström believes it is his strong focus on the business perspective of sustainability that will enable him to add significant value to Skandia’s proposition. “I have developed a strong business acumen while working with sustainability in business organisations over the last decade,” he explains. “In my experience, to be successful in integrating sustainability into any mature business, it takes 50 % domain expertise and 50 % change management. A foundation for leading successful change management is a strong interest and competence in the business dynamics of the organisation that you are trying to change. My experience is that new ways of doing things become truly successful and can reach scale only if they significantly improve the business,” adds Lundström.

    Another aspect of the sustainability work that Skandia’s future Head of Sustainability finds exciting is the current regulatory landscape which significantly impacts financial players in Europe. A major challenge that the investment community in Sweden is facing right now, according to Lundström, is not to get paralysed by the wave of heavy regulations out there. “The financial players with the energy to look beyond the regulations and to grasp the opportunities that come along will be the ones to come out on the other side as winners,” he says.

    “I am convinced that Skandia is well positioned to navigate well through these regulatory waters and take the business opportunities that come with them,” concludes Lundström, showing the kind of confidence that is bound to serve him well in his future mission.

    Image courtesy of © Binniam Halid for NordSIP
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