The reversed mentorship programme – a mutual eye opener
How can sustainable ideas be implemented and used in Alfa Laval’s business operations? That was one of the topics discussed through the Reversed Mentorship programme, a pilot project conducted this spring.
It is very motivating to see people at the top level in companies interested in learning and exploring what sustainability could be in practice as well as sharing information, discussing ideas and doubts, and allowing us to challenge preconceptions.
What has the Reversed Mentorship programme given you?
Sofia: The Reversed Mentorship programme has given me insight to how companies (Alfa Laval) integrate and measure sustainability throughout the entire organization. I gained a lot of detailed insight on how this is done on different levels, which was very learningful. Our meetings always touched upon very interesting topics, and I felt really heard and welcomed to contribute with my opinions and experiences. I learned something new at every meeting and I loved discussing topics that I am myself very passionate about, with persons sharing the same passion but with different backgrounds and experiences.
Juan: It opened my eyes to how much is there to do in organizations with regard to sustainable development. We take for granted that companies know what they are doing and have the answers to all the problems, or at least that is what their Sustainability Reports expose. However, there are open questions, and even though they might have the will, there are still questions on how to do it in impactful and efficient ways. Moreover, by researching how Blockchain technologies could be used in Alfa Laval I got up to date on what some important companies are doing in regard to Blockchain technology to assure sustainable social and ethical practices along their supply chain. This experience gave me a practical perspective on how sustainability goes beyond the "mainstream" discussions.
Karl: Primarily, I got a great energy boost from my conversations with Sofia and Juan. I also got some tangible knowledge about emerging technologies work and how they can be applied, combined with insight about how next generation think and what they value.
Our meetings always touched upon very interesting topics, and I felt really heard and welcomed to contribute with my opinions and experiences. I learned something new at every meeting and I loved discussing topics that I am myself very passionate about, with persons sharing the same passion but with different backgrounds and experiences.
Was it something that surprised you?
Sofia: I was pleasantly surprised about the genuine actions that are taken to incorporate sustainability aspects in day-to-day operations. Even though the subject certainly is on the awareness agenda and I was aware of corporations’ methods, I did not have much insight to how professional individuals actually perceive this.
Juan: The openness and curiosity of Karl. It is very motivating to see people at the top level in companies interested in learning and exploring what sustainability could be in practice. Also, how open he was to discuss with us on a "same level" basis. In practical ways this meant sharing information, discussing ideas and doubts, and allowing us to challenge preconceptions.
Karl: I was surprised by the drive and passion demonstrated by the students. I was also struck by how sustainability and social values now seems to be an integral part of the business education, as opposed to when I was in business school fifteen years ago. Back then, we only discussed how to create shareholder value.
Karl Orrling, Regional Finance Director at Alfa Laval
Would you suggest other companies or organisations to be part of the Reversed Mentorship programme, and if so why?
Karl: I would certainly recommend participation in the programme. The world is moving so fast and anyone wanting to stay relevant need to stay in touch with their desire to learn new things and adopt to new realities. I believe participation in the reversed mentorship programmme strengthen that mindset.
Participators in the pilot project
- Sofia Livman, Bachelor's in International Business
- Juan Ocampo, PhD student in Entrepreneurship
- Karl Orrling, Regional Finance Director at Alfa Laval
Sofia and Juan have been participating as students from Sustainable Future Hub's Student Network. The Reversed Mentorship programme is a collaborative pilot project between Sustainable Future Hub at Lund University School of Economics and Management and Alfa Laval.