Passionate about sustainability and preserving the earth for future generations, Tove Andersen has found her perfect match in TOMRA. The first female president and CEO of TOMRA, Andersen chatted with Scrap News about what she hopes to accomplish in her new role, and how her passion for sustainability perfectly aligns with TOMRA.
Can you tell me about your background and where your passion for sustainability originated?
I have a master’s degree in business administration from BI Norwegian Business School and a master’s degree in physics and mathematics from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). For most of my career, I worked at Yara International, where I held many positions and worked in almost all functions. A common theme throughout my career has been working toward driving improvements and business transformations. During my last five years at Yara, I was part of the corporate management team. I served as Executive Vice President (EVP) Supply Chain, EVP Production, and EVP Europe.
It has always been important for me to contribute positively to the world we live in. While I was with Yara, feeding the world was a purpose that spoke to me. As my understanding of the global issues regarding sustainability increased, so did my passion for sustainability. Having children also gave me a new perspective and has further contributed to my interest in working to create a more sustainable future.
What did the process look like for you to become the new president and CEO of TOMRA?
I was happy in my role at Yara, so I wasn’t looking for a new opportunity. The executive search company leading the recruitment process approached me and asked if I wanted to be considered for the position. I immediately said yes because it was such a great opportunity. The process consisted of several rounds of interviews with the chair of TOMRA’s board of directors, as well as other board members. In addition, they did an extensive background and reference check. When I learned that I was chosen for the position, it took a few days before it sank in, but I was thrilled and excited.
How do you hope your appointment as the first female president and CEO of TOMRA inspires other women who want to reach similar heights in their careers?
I’m a strong believer in diversity in all forms. I’ve seen what you can get out of a team made up of people with different backgrounds, educations, personalities, ethnicities, genders, etc. The more diversity we have in leadership positions, the more innovative we will become, and as a result, we’ll make better decisions. Additionally, greater diversity will help attract new talent. When I started working, I had no female role models to look up to. I hope to be a role model for all genders in how to drive inclusive leadership.
What do you hope to accomplish during your tenure as president and CEO of TOMRA?
I’m lucky to take over a successful company that has such a solid foundation. TOMRA is perfectly positioned to capture the opportunities coming from the increased focus on sustainability. My task is to support the organization in realizing that potential and help it grow significantly. Better waste management, recycling and improved use of our resources can greatly help the world meet its climate ambitions. For example, by applying best available waste management technology globally, 2.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) could be reduced annually. And that technology exists today. Our ambition is to lead the resource revolution. I hope during my tenure we become the reference for world-class resource management, the thought leader everyone wants to partner with, and an attractive employer for the best talents in the world.
How do you hope to apply your passion for sustainability in your position as president and CEO of TOMRA?
I’m only a few weeks into the job, so these first few weeks I’ve spent listening and learning. Sustainability is at the core of what TOMRA does, so the employees share my passion for sustainability, which is very exciting. I think the most successful companies in the world going forward will be purpose driven. These companies will attract the best talent and they will get the most out of their employees due to the higher engagement driven by the purpose. That’s what I see with TOMRA as well. However, we need to get the message out to the relevant industries and decision makers. We need to use our passion to increase the knowledge about what the best solutions for resource management are and what legislative policies and frameworks will produce the best results.
Why should others be as passionate about sustainability as you?
I love nature. One of my favorite activities is hiking in the mountains. I love the fresh air, hearing the birds sing, and if I’m lucky, seeing some wild animals in their natural habitat. I want my grandchildren and their grandchildren to be able to have these experiences as well. We owe it to the future generations to look after the planet in a much better way going forward than what we have done in the past. And so much can be done by just implementing existing technology. It frustrates me that the developments that are needed are not going faster. Choosing green needs to be the easy choice, as well as the beneficial one.
Photos courtesy of TOMRA.