A growing number of clever young people are entering the waste industry. They can see interesting career opportunities at the heart of the green transition. Kristian Daviknes Andersen is Head of Controlling and Administration at Ragn-Sells Norway and one of those who has found his way into the waste industry. One of his tasks is to help construction companies systematise their waste management.
In Jessheim, three huge cranes tower over Sagabyen, a large construction project in the centre. In a few years, when the last phase of construction has been completed, 676 dwellings will house around a thousand people on a floor area of 90,000 square metres.
In Norway, such construction projects are an important part of the housing market, trade and industry, and urban development. They also generate huge volumes of waste.
Massive operations yield gains
Ø.M. Fjeld is the fourth largest dedicated construction contractor in Norway. At any one time, they have around 50 major ongoing projects in Eastern Norway. Sagabyen is one of the biggest.
– Every square metre of homes we build currently generates around 31 kg of waste, says Odd Anders Amdahl, Head of Environment and Skills at Ø.M. Fjeld. Construction projects like this are huge operations. The waste is an environmental challenge that requires proper management. We work continuously to reduce the volume of waste because it benefits the environment and reduces costs. Less waste means less transport and emissions, while good waste sorting leads to better resource utilisation when the waste is recycled, continues Amdahl.
Amdahl’s position also involves responsibility for digitisation at Ø.M. Fjeld, and they use Ragn-Sells as their waste management consultant.
– When construction on Sagabyen started back in 2012, the focus was mainly on the level of sorting. Now we have a more holistic environmental focus. Among other things, customised, automated reports give us a better overview and a seamless system that ensures effective monitoring of every project, he says.
Young people prioritise sustainability, environmental awareness and social responsibility when they choose a job. Kristian Daviknes Andersen (left) is Head of Controlling and Administration at Ragn-Sells Norway. Photo: Benjamin A. Ward
The utility value of data
In many companies throughout Norway, much data and information processing continues to be done manually, generating a high volume of paper documents to keep track of.
There is a great risk of this reducing the quality of analyses and measures. It is neither efficient nor sustainable.
– Data is more valuable than ever, but data has no real value until it is systematised. Only then can we create solid improvements at companies using digital solutions says Kristian Daviknes Andersen, the recently appointed Head of Controlling and Administration at Ragn-Sells Norway.
Daviknes Andersen is 31 years old and represents one of the younger, environmentally aware people with digital skills and a modern approach who have found their way into the waste industry.
He has already risen through the ranks and the business administration graduate now has responsibility for four employees.
From manual to digital reports
His department has many tasks. One of them is to help companies like Ø.M. Fjeld systematise their waste management.
With his colleagues, Kristian processes large volumes of data and uses various analysis tools to highlight trends related to waste management and flag areas for improvement for customers.
– We have the experience, the knowledge and the solutions our customers lack. Our people need to be good at seeing the big picture and also be able to drill down into the details. They must be able to understand customer needs and what adds value, says Daviknes Andersen.
Automated standard reports are available in the customer portal provided by Ragn-Sells, but it is also possible to develop customised reports in partnership with the customer.
– The reports have good utility value for us. We quickly gain an overview of the various waste volumes and how they are sorted and a better idea of how we can improve and enhance efficiency, says Trond Arne Sørli, HSE Manager of Ø.M. Fjeld.
New requirements mean that many companies now have to include their sustainability work in their annual report. Good reporting procedures make the work easier.
For Ø.M. Fjeld, the partnership with Ragn-Sells has developed over the years from hiring containers to receiving assistance and advice on logistics, production, construction site management, and waste management. They are very happy about this.
– We have progressed from manually processed data to a more automated flow. This has given us a more seamless system closely related to each project, improved measures and a communication boost, says Sørli.
Sagabyen in the centre of Jessheim is in the fourth and last phase of construction. The developer of the housing project is Jessheim Byutvikling, a company that is jointly owned by Bane Nor Eiendom and Ø.M. Fjeld Utvikling. Here we see Odd Anders Amdahl (right), Head of HSE, Environment and Skills at Ø.M. Fjeld, and Trond Arne Sørli, HSE Manager at Ø.M. Fjeld, showing the last residential block to representatives of its chosen waste management partner, Ragn-Sells. Photo: Benjamin A. Ward.
Social responsibility from a modern environmental perspective
Environmental awareness is growing worldwide. This is one of the reasons why the recycling industry is attracting more and more young people.
– We value innovation and new competence. Young people are driving climate and environment issues forward, with focus on more sustainable solutions. The modern recycling industry is undergoing dramatic development at present, says Bente Åsen Sørum, Head of Marketing at Ragn-Sells Norway.
In 2015, Ragn-Sells was the first company in Norway to be certified by DNV in conformity with a new standard for social responsibility, including the environment, sustainability, reuse, recycling, and circular solutions.
– Public authorities, customers, and investors place high demands on the work related to environmental and social responsibility. As an environmental company with its core operations in collection, processing, and recycling waste, it is natural for us to take the lead to document that we are managing this responsibility sustainably and well, says Åsen Sørum.