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ECO 18-44 Let’s Get SYNC’D! The 2022 Initiative Foundation with Helena Lindemark

ECO Solutions with Sara Troy and her guest Helena Lindemark, on air from October 30TH 

Let’s Get SYNC’D! Series PRESENTS….

Helena Lindemark is the founder of the 2022 Initiative Foundation and founder and CEO of Sustainable Development Sweden AB. Her focus on sustainable development started in 1991 and includes both employment and consultancy work for the UN, the EU, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the private sector. Helena has a talent for seeing the big picture, for systems thinking and for turning problems into opportunities. Today she uses her experience from sustainable development in an international context as “Sustainability Change Agent”, focusing on accelerating sustainability work mainly in Sweden through consultancy work and a larger project called the “2022 Initiative”. Since June 2018 she also joined Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Program.


JOIN SARA AND HELENA AS WE DISCUSS THE 2022 Initiative Foundation 




Since 2012 Helena has been working mainly in Sweden. When her son became legally blind due to a rare hereditary disease, she set up the NGO “LHON Eye Society“, which since the start in 2012 has grown to having around 200 members and an international outreach. She also studied coaching and leadership and worked as a professional coach.

In 2014 she decided to continue her work within sustainable development and she registered the company “Sustainable Development Sweden AB”. The name of the company is based on Helena’s experience from international development and the possibility of accelerating sustainability both in Sweden and internationally through taking advantage of the fact that Sweden is often seen as a leader and role model within sustainability. The idea behind the 2022 Initiative came up when Helena was looking for a way to match the level of ambition in the name of the company. In April 2014 she found Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring” from 1962 in her parents’ bookshelf and soon she realized that the year 2022 it will be 50 years since the first UN Conference on sustainable development was held in Stockholm in 1972. It will also be halfway to 2030 since the agreement on both the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Agenda 2030 and the Climate Agreement in Paris.

Through a shorter perspective and through focusing on already available solutions, the 2022 Initiative aims at accelerating sustainability work both in Sweden and globally. Storytelling, the story of sustainable development, and linking history to today and the future is another important part of the 2022 initiative. A third important part of the initiative is that we need to work together as humans, no matter if we’re from business, public sector, academia or civil society. The year 2022 is also an Olympic year. Based on interviews and contacts with e.g. the Swedish Olympic Committee, since the registration of the brand name ‘2022 Initiative’, there is also an idea to have the first 4-year follow-up in 2022, a second in 2026, third in 2030 etc, like “Sustainability Olympics” based on the UN SDGs. The 2022 initiative was officially launched in Almedalen and Stockholm in 2017. It is international from the start and organized e.g. a full-day co-creation workshop in Almedalen 2016, with the title: “Can a positive vision help us achieve sustainability faster?” in collaboration with a EU project. The seminars held in Almedalen in July 2018 attracted in total around 500 – 800 participants and brought together sustainability professionals as speakers from a range of different actors. The program (in Swedish) can be found on the website of the company

Helena has a degree of M.Sc. in Business Administration and Economics, complemented with environmental economics in 1997. When working internationally, her assignments focused mainly on Strategic Environmental/Sustainability Assessment, sustainable urban development, policy and climate issues, development and implementation of international training programmes, courses and workshops at international, regional and national level. In relation to sustainable urban development she has e.g. been involved as Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) expert in the support to the City of Pune, India, in the first SEA of a city plan in India, 2008 – 2010. The assignment included training of trainers, facilitation of the SEA process and support to the development of reports. In 2008 she was involved as SEA expert in the Sida-financed Sustainability Review of the City of Skopje in Macedonia.

As expert both on sustainability issues and on Results Based Management/development she has been involved as consultant in the development and drafting of several projects and programs, including support to WWF in 2014 in relation to a major project for sustainable urban development. She has also conducted several participatory project development workshops, e.g. on waste management in Albania and water management in Serbia. In 2007 she was involved as SEA expert and trainer of trainers in Romania for strengthening the implementation of the EU SEA Directive and with a particular focus on sustainable urban development.

Helena Lindemark Founder, 2022 Initiative Foundation & Sustainable Development Sweden AB



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