The Best of the Nordics: Ambassadorial Insights and Business Excellence
On 9 November 2023, the Nordic Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines in collaboration with the Nordic Embassies in Manila hosted the “The Best of the Nordics: Ambassadorial Insights and Business Excellence.” It was held at the Narra Hall of BDO Towers Valero.
This exclusive gathering served as a platform to share the Nordic excellence across diverse areas. The event commenced with a warm welcome from Bo Lundqvist, President of NordCham Philippines. Bo emphasized the Nordic leadership in sustainable innovation, highlighting the urgent need for global collaboration to combat climate change. He underscored the event's significance as a catalyst to showcase Nordic best practices, innovations, and educational systems aimed at promoting sustainability within the Philippines and beyond.
The forum featured presentations from Nordic Ambassadors and companies such as NIRAS, Helsinki International Schools, TesPack, Mainstream Renewable Power, and Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence. Each speaker shared insights and contributions within their expertise:
DENMARK: WATER INNOVATION
- Ambassador Franz-Michael Mellbin highlighted key water challenges in the Philippines: scarcity, pollution, and unequal access. He emphasized the President's call for technological advancements and international partnerships to improve water management. Comparing water loss rates between the Philippines and Denmark showcased the importance of efficient systems. Denmark's success lies in smart water solutions, aiming for energy neutrality by 2030 and viewing wastewater as a resource. Integrating water management into urban planning and leveraging Danish expertise were stressed for sustainable change in the Philippines' water industry.
- John Stasig Mørk emphasized Denmark's successful approach to reducing Non-Revenue Water (NRW) levels, offering insights applicable to the Philippines. Denmark's extensive water infrastructure history informed a multifaceted strategy involving technology, political incentives, and public awareness to minimize losses. Denmark's success factors included collaborative efforts, effective pricing structures, technological advancements, and a focus on physical and non-physical losses. His presentation emphasized the scalability of solutions with political support and financial backing, offering valuable guidance for the Philippines' water management strategies.
FINLAND: EDUCATION AND TECHNOLOGY
- Ambassador Juha Pyykkö discussed Finland's education system's core principles: a focus on gender equality, through comprehensive schooling and equitable access to quality education. Finland's well-educated and continuously trained teachers foster inquiry-based learning, emphasizing individual student support. The education system promotes multi-disciplinary approaches, collaborative learning, and responsible use of educational technology, aiming to enhance traditional teaching methods. Finland remains committed to nurturing future talents by leveraging technology while upholding its philosophy of equity and empowerment in education.
- Veera Kaarela presented Finland's role as a one-stop platform for educational needs. Finland's education success stems from child-centered learning, advanced curriculums, and well-trained, trusted teachers. HEI Schools embody Finland's educational approach, focusing on holistic learning integrated into various daily activities. The vision for HEI Schools is to offer high-quality early education worldwide, with the Philippines as a target market. Additionally, TesPack, a portable solar-powered backpack, facilitates remote learning and access to digital education, promoting sustainability and expanding educational opportunities, especially in remote or limited-access areas like the Philippines. These innovations aim to address the increasing need for flexible and accessible education post-pandemic.
NORWAY: RENEWABLE ENERGY LEADERSHIP
- Ambassador Christian Halaas Lyster outlined Norway's expertise in renewable energy, with 96% of their electricity sourced from renewable hydro. They've expanded into offshore wind and floating solar, seeing immense potential, especially in the Philippines. Norway's climate finance doubled to $1.5 billion in 2022, aiding developing countries like the Philippines in sustainable development and emission reduction. NorFund targets over $800 million in investments, specific projects for 2023 in the Philippines include geothermal and solar solutions for telecom towers. He also highlighted progress but stressed the ongoing need for collective efforts in the green transition. Norway aims to contribute finance, expertise, and collaborative support for renewable energy initiatives in the Philippines.
- Eduardo Karlin highlights the Mainstream’s global reach and interest in the Philippines, due to robust market potential for renewables. He stresses the need for renewable energy in light of depleting fossil fuels and high electricity costs, noting the country's potential in geothermal, wind, and solar power. Challenges like natural disasters, land ownership restrictions, and grid limitations persist, requiring collaborative efforts and further government support, especially in lifting foreign ownership limits. He sees Norway's role in advancing the Philippines as a renewable energy hub, particularly in floating offshore wind projects, leveraging Norwegian expertise in this area.
SWEDEN: INNOVATION AND SUSTAINABILITY
- Ambassador Annika Thunborg shared Sweden's innovation and sustainability practices, emphasizing the country's strong focus on education, healthcare, and infrastructure as fundamental to its innovative society. Sweden's commitment to R&D, backed by significant investments from both the public and private sectors, has propelled advancements in various fields, notably healthcare and technology. She highlighted the role of Swedish companies such as IKEA, H&M, Volvo, and AstraZeneca in implementing sustainable business practices and contributing to global welfare. She also emphasized collaborative efforts between Sweden and the Philippines, aiming to promote innovation and sustainability while stressing the collective responsibility of individuals, government, private sector, and academia in fostering a better world.
- Cristina Silva outlined the company's commitment to a global leadership role in digital reality solutions driving an autonomous and sustainable future through data utilization. She highlighted the importance of reinvesting in R&D to match evolving customer needs. Sustainability remains a focal point, reflected in their supply chain audits, gender inclusion goals in leadership, and their ambition to attain 100% renewable power. Hexagon's technology spans industries, aiding in safer infrastructure, transportation planning, hazard assessment in construction, and healthcare equipment maintenance. She underscored collaborative efforts among government, private sector, academia, and end users, emphasizing responsible data usage for informed decisions, securing a more promising future.
NordCham Philippines would like to extend its heartfelt gratitude to event partners and sponsors who made the forum a resounding success:
- Event partners (Embassies): Royal Danish Embassy Manila, Embassy of Finland Manila, Royal Norwegian Embassy Manila, Embassy of Sweden Manila
- Event Partners (Sponsors) : AstraZeneca Pharmaceutical (Phils.) Inc., BDO Unibank, Inc., PMFTC Inc.
As the event concludes, the spirit of collaboration and the pursuit of excellence remain, laying a foundation for future initiatives in enhancing bilateral ties and business landscapes between the Philippines and the Nordic region.
Take a look at the rest of the event photos on our Facebook page.