Norway | MiSA
A desire to improve the world and “do interesting work” led Christian Solli and Johan Pettersen to take a leave of absence from academia in 2007 and form their own Norwegian environmental consultancy firm, MiSA.
Embracing sustainability outside of academia
Their idea indeed proved useful to industries throughout Norway, and five years later the firm has nine employees and an office in Trondheim. Their clients include the Norwegian National Rail Administration, where MiSA’s work has focused primarily on infrastructure. “We have a central role in this national high speed rail assessment,” Solli explained. “We did their carbon footprint calculations. We also had to consider alternative scenarios,” including roads and sea transport. In addition MiSA is working with Norwegian oil and gas company, Statoil, as well as Eni, the Italian oil company. “The majority of the work has focused on off-shore drilling and environmental assessments of new and proposed technologies,” Solli said.
In all of their projects, MiSA strives to “to facilitate environmentally sound and sustainable development by providing objective data and advice on the life cycle and environmental performance of products and solutions,” Solli said. And the company works to impart their findings in an easy-to-understand way. “Not all businesses are occupied with getting these thick scientific reports that we have a tendency to produce. But we are able to make the numbers come alive, to present them in interesting and innovative ways. By creating more interest in our reports and assessments, we add value.” In addition to a SimaPro, LCA-based approach to business, MiSA also shares core values with PRé. “We believe in transparency and integrity,” Solli explained. “We do not change our assumptions or turn on parameters to make the client happy. And of course sometimes that puts you in uncomfortable situations, but that’s just the way it has to be.”
Encouraging autonomous software solutions
It was through SimaPro that MiSA became part of PRé’s Global Partners Network. “We needed to expand our licenses,” Solli said, and in 2009, further discussion led to MiSA becoming the SimaPro agent in Norway. “We know a great deal about SimaPro,” said Solli, as he and Pettersen have used the software since they were at university. “With our education and background, I felt that if anyone in Norway should be the SimaPro agent, it should be us.” And thanks to a similar dedication to the technical side of LCA implementation, PRé and MiSA have found common ground, particularly regarding software innovations. “We discuss software developments, saying, ‘Wouldn’t this be cool?’ ” Solli said.
Being the Norwegian SimaPro agent has been good for MiSA. “We develop relationships with those who want to perform LCAs themselves, in addition to the ones who want us to do it for them, so there’s a sort of seamless integration there,” he explained. And MiSA, like PRé, believes in autonomy. “We encourage our clients to put in the contract that they own the model in SimaPro, so they feel less locked in than if you pay someone else lots of money to build something that you can never access.” Because MiSA’s goals mirror PRé’s, encouraging long-term sustainability among all our clients — sustainability that can be maintained autonomously.
Redefining sustainability throughout Norway
As MiSA continues working to increase sustainability throughout Norway, Solli is hopeful for the future, and proud of the change they’ve already accomplished. “In Norway, for some reason, there has been a fuss about carbon footprints, and only that. We are trying to emphasize that there are more impact categories that should be considered,” Solli explained. “There has also been a tendency of creating this enormous gap between ambitions and real, achievable improvements,” another factor MiSA has been working to change. “That’s something we are also trying to emphasize to our clients, that it’s better to make small, but achievable, incremental targets than to say ‘Everyone should be carbon neutral.’ ” Instead Solli and Pettersen want to focus on “doing something real and substantial.” To that end, the consultancy is “focusing a bit more on research participatory projects, such as EU or national-funded projects.” He explained, “Right now we’re trying hard with a bunch of other actors to make a national model for the building sector. The tools today more or less support the wrong guidance, and we will try to make something better, which decreases the environmental load of a building. “We will continue to focus on a wider context, using LCA-based info to create environmental management systems for clients,” said Solli. “I think that’s quite useful.”
By utilizing their academic backgrounds and technical skills alongside their dedication to transparency, autonomy, and integrity, MiSA is sure to usher Norway into a more sustainable future.