Dan Sten Olsson - March 2019

TIME GOES ON AND ALREADY WE HAVE CONSUMED TWO MONTHS OF 2019

Christmas is a time for reflections and new objectives for all of us. Personally I spent the time to reflect and rework my little white book again. This is the ninth edition and we still need to keep on learning. What is new and hopefully true this time?

I believe one insight is Capacity to deal with Decisiveness and Duality. Which is – Our ability to prioritize and find the right balance between opposites creating successful decisions. There are often two sides to take into consider-ation.

I think it is worthwhile reiterating that – Truths must be said and accepted in time, otherwise it will be too late to understand, clarify and adapt.

We must accept that – The work in each business unit must be based on set systems and processes. Our capacity to succeed is then based on good continuous collaboration and development, which demand good communication. We can only expect people to take the right decisions and actions if they are properly informed and listen to understand. This is why we need to know who to ask or refer to in order for our communication to work.

To deliver successfully, our collaboration with external parties such as suppliers, ports, authorities and financial institutions must work well and be outstandingly effective.

Stena is appreciated for our capacity to make Decisions relatively fast, simply and not without courage.

Effective use of time means we are prepared for decisions that have to be made. It is the well-prepared person who wins. In situations where no decision is needed, normally no decision is made. Never hesitate though to make a decision in a situation, when a decision has to be made – It is a failure not to make a decision on time. Caring is about using the power you are entrusted with.

Being a relatively old company we strive for profits in the long term, but how do we keep up the necessity of Business acumen or capacity to make money every day.

In order to ensure our future and our existence, (which is very difficult in times like today), we need to earn money for the company every day. No one will give us new money, if we overspend what we already have.

TO REFLECT ON THE STATE OF THE WORLD FROM A DIFFERENT POINT I TOOK MY WIFE AND A FEW FRIENDS TO THE ANTARCTIC.

The first thing we met was a two kilometer long ice floe. Its height is thirty meters which meant there is another 260 meters below water surface. Is the Antarctic melting at an outstanding pace or not? That is what scientists are trying to establish. We shall hear all sorts of alarming reports in the near future, but it will take a long time before we know and understand the full picture. Climate science is a very complicate subject as there are so many factors affecting what is going on. Such factors are the activity of the sun, air streams, ocean streams, gyration of the earth, the change of the magnetic poles, air temperature, water temperature and the state of the atmosphere. It is widely accepted that the increased CO2 concentration has a negative effect on our atmosphere. I am not so sure of how much. Nevertheless, when one´s existence is or might be threatened one does something about it. Mankind will survive. An increase in the sea level of let us say six meters or sixty meters which corresponds to the total amount of ice in the Antarctic will of course be disastrous. Historically for the last centuries the sea level has increased with roughly two decimeters per century. There are estimates that the increase in sea level for the next century will be between a half and one meter, provided we do something about it. Apart from reducing our consumption of oil per mile, we at Stena work with alternative fuels and electricity by battery. We also invest heavily in windmills. We are active both in oil transportation and drilling for oil. The fossil fuel society will last for quite a while yet, but we must accept that replacing energy – sources and carriers must be introduced.

THE WATERS OF THE ANTARCTIC ARE CLEAN

It looks as if the streams around the Antarctic so far have ejected waste coming in to its systems. But what do we know? The ocean streams of the world are interconnected. It takes however five thousand years for a drop of water to travel by the different streams around the world and back. We have all read about plastics destroying the oceans of the world. What I am most upset about is that a lot of that plastic is plastics that has been exported to mainly Asiatic countries together with other waste from Europe and the US. Such export is in most cases illegal. Nevertheless with no control it takes place. At Stena Nordic Recycling Center we are now investing MSEK 250 to improve the way we recycle plastics. With plastics relatively concentrated to a few but large sites in the ocean there is a need for governmental initiatives to clean up the accumulations. Private industry can never do it as the recycling value of used plastics is minute or close to zero. 

FREE TRADE IS GOOD FOR EVERYONE?

The biggest threat to the world´s economy, in the near future, is that the households of the world are deep in debt and it applies also for a lot of industry and governments. The financial crash of 2007/2008 was a result of too much debt that could not be repaid. The situation is better now, but total debt in comparison to GDP does not go down. This fact could create a precarious situation. It is true that in the last twenty to twenty-five years the standard of living for the total world measured by increased GDP has advanced fantastically well. It has however not been evenly distributed. Poor nations have been favored, whereas disadvantaged people in reasonably well off nations are suffering not only from lack of a rise in income, but also from increasing threats to their existing standard of living. Economic progress does not favor everyone at the moment. This is not new in history, but new to the present generation in the western countries. Superfluously difference in area and difference in time hopefully will play out to everybody´s advantage. It is not certain that it will though. That is my opinion of what is driving the uncertainties in the world today. My simple attitude to the problem though is that the more we have the courage and attitude to think in inclusive terms instead of excluding terms the higher the chance for all of us to enjoy a bright future. We ought to remember that making wars was probably profitable for the winning side up to year 1900. After the first world war it has not been the case. On the contrary our capacity to think in inclusive terms instead of excluding terms has generated a success unwitnessed before. My hope is that we shall soon return to this way of thinking.

Dan Sten Olsson 

Gothenburg 24 February 2019

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